Real estate professionals usually have to produce a bunch of different marketing materials with time.

Sure, this could be outsourced. But if you use a professional graphic designer, costs can add up pretty quickly.

And going with professional design software can mean a steep learning curve and a large time investment until you get to the point where you create real estate marketing materials in a decent amount of time.

This is time you could invest otherwise in generating real estate leads, for example.

Therefore, the web-based graphic design application Canva can be useful.

It is especially helpful for people that are graphic design “laymen” and want to be able to create their real estate marketing material on their own without the results looking crappy.

In this article, you will learn how to use Canva for real estate and why good graphics can boost your conversion rates.

What Is Canva?

I guess many professional graphic designers don’t like Canva too much.

This is understandable, because this web-based design application is quite user-friendly even to people that have never used professional design software such as Adobe Photoshop.

Even graphic design laymen can create nice looking graphics in different formats just in a few clicks.

So, Canva is a free web-based graphic design application that enables you to create business cards, invitations, flyers, brochures, YouTube thumbnails and much more.

Depending on the use case or format you need, it provides you with many different design templates.

If you have individual photos, you can upload them and include them in your individual design or in a particular design template.

How many templates does Canva offer?

It has more than 50,000 different design templates that can be edited and customized using a drag-and-drop interface.

These are the different template categories Canva provides:

Social MediaPersonalBusinessMarketingEducationTrending
Instagram StoryInvitationPresentationPosterLesson PlanGift Card
Instagram PostCardWebsiteFlyerWorksheetChristmas Card Certificate
Facebook PostResumeLogoInfographicCertificateYouTube Intro
Facebook CoverPostcardBusiness CardBrochureStoryboardPhoto Books
YouTube ChannelWeekly ScheduleInvoiceNewsletterBookmarkMugs
LinkedIn BannerT-ShirtBusiness LetterheadProposalClass ScheduleChristmas Cards

Canva’s Free, Pro and Enterprise Features with Pricing

Free - $0Pro - $12.95/mEnterprise - $30/m per person
250,000+ free templatesAll features of the Free PlanAll features of the Pro Plan
100+ design types1 Brand Kit, and upload feature for your own fonts and logosMultiple Brand Kits for your brand’s visual identity with logos, colors and fonts across multiple platforms
Hundreds of thousands of free photos and graphicsOne-click design Magic ResizeTeam access control for apps, graphics, colors, logos and fonts with brand controls
Team member invites420,000+ free templates with new designs dailyTeam upload control
Real-time collaboration and commenting75+ million premium stock photos, videos, audio and graphics free-to-useBuilt-in workflows to get approval on designs
5GB of cloud storageDesigns can be saved as templates for your team to useEdit permission management for teams, and template locking
100GB of cloud storageUnlimited storage
Social media content scheduling for 7 platformsSingle sign-on (SSO)
24/7 Enterprise-level support

Let’s summarize the differences a bit.

The free version might be already enough for you to do the basic stuff and you will have access to 8000 free templates.

If you want more than 300,000, you might consider the pro plan.

If you want to have consistent designs for your brand then the pro version will also be your best bet, where you get a brand kit where you can use your logo, fonts, colors, and more.

You can also upload your own fonts.

You can also do this with the free version, but you would have to do it each time.

With the free plan, the only option you have is to modify Canva’s already existing templates.

To create your own templates, the pro plan will be necessary.

The pro plan gives you access to over 75 million stock photos, graphics & images, and videos.

With the free plan, you will get a much smaller number of images and stock photos.

The main two points that convinced me to go with the pro version were the access to over 75 million stock photos (you often pay this price already just for stock photos from other providers), and the background remover effect.

The latter is important if you want to make, for example, YouTube thumbnails and want to remove the background of one of your images.

But there are also other use cases for this type of effect.

The enterprise plan is one you likely can ignore or neglect as a real estate professional, because its features are rather tailored toward a graphic design agency that needs to manage different designs from their team members.

Canva Use Cases for Real Estate Professionals

If we first review all the marketing materials that real estate professionals need to create, we can already see the Canva use cases.

Some will be supported by already existing templates and some would need to be created from scratch.

12 Typical Marketing Materials Real Estate Professionals Create

Now, let’s put those typical real estate marketing materials in a table to see which of them are already supported by Canva templates and which ones you would need to design from scratch.

Typical Real Estate Marketing MaterialExisting Canva TemplateDesign from Scratch
Business CardsYesNo
Yard SignsYesNo
Postcards and Direct MailYesNo
Door HangersNoYes
Shell SheetsNoYes
Presentation FoldersNoYes
Email HeadersNoYes
Newsletter TemplatesYesNo
Social Media Marketing MaterialsYesNo

As you can see already, most of the typical real estate marketing materials are already covered with premade Canva templates.

If you need to design one by yourself, on the main Canva page you would need to click on “Create Design” and then on “Custom dimensions”.

how to use canva for real estate

You can then enter the dimensions you will need for the respective real estate marketing material you want to design.

Let’s say you need to design a real estate door hanger.

The size for these is usually 4.25 x 11 or 3.5 x 8.5 inches.

In this case, you select this metric by using the dropdown menu in the same dimension area on the right, and enter for example 4.25 x 11.

Then, you click on “Create new design”.

how to use canva for real estate
how to use canva for real estate

Although there are no specific real estate door hanger templates, Canva nevertheless will show you some other templates that have the same or similar dimensions on the left side.

You can still use these templates and modify them accordingly until they fit your needs for your door hanger.

Once you have selected a template, you can still add other elements from the left side menu, such as uploads, photos, elements, text, styles, music and videos (not relevant for door hangers), and other designs from the Canva folder.

Further Canva Use Cases for Real Estate

Generally speaking, you can translate or “recycle” most, if not all of your real estate content marketing and content marketing ideas into designs you can create with Canva.

One particular format could be infographics.

Let’s take some examples from my article about real estate content marketing ideas that you could repurpose as infographics you design with Canva.

1) For Sellers

  • The worst home improvements for sellers
  • Home staging checklist (DIY)
  • The most common and biggest mistakes when selling
  • Home inspection guide/ checklist

2) For Buyers

  • The buying process
  • The closing process
  • Regrets of first-time homebuyers
  • Renting vs. buying
  • Negotiating tips

3) The Present Market/Industry

  • The current mortgage approval process
  • Market statistics for your neighborhood
  • Building trends
  • Old vs. new ways of doing business in real estate

4) Ideas for Property Features and Upgrades

  • A list of appliances and how long they last
  • An overview of decorating ideas
  • A list of well-known and popular interior decorators in your market

What you need to design all ties back to the needs of your respective target group or target clients.

Canva is just the tool you use to be able to communicate your content better and in a visually appealing manner and tailor it to the needs of your potential clients.

How to Increase Your Conversion Rates Using Canva for Real Estate

The Influence of Good Graphics and Design on Conversion Rates

Now, you might wonder why you should put effort into design in the first place.

And you are right.

If you have a really bad copy, the best design in the world won’t have a great impact on your conversion rates.

Also, if you have a really good copy, you can often get away with a not-so-good design and conversion rates won’t be much impacted in a negative way.

I covered this subject already more in-depth in my article about real estate branding.

But if you have a good copy, offering a great customer experience and then also a great design will make it hard for you to be beaten.

Let’s say you have a good copy and offer a good customer experience.

Is there any evidence of how good design can move the needle?

We can look at evidence from web-based practices, as well as color psychology.

The fact that by A/B testing different landing pages and their design elements, layouts, colors, elements, and media can increase or decrease the conversion rates of website visitors is already evidence that different designs have a different influence on conversion rates.

This is not any different with other marketing materials that are not necessarily websites.

In my article where I discuss the seven best colors for real estate signs, I mentioned the psychology of color.

There, I mention using different sources that colors can be applied with the aim to influence consumers’ perceptions and emotions about products and services.

The color red, for example, can attract spontaneous buyer types (source).

Some statistics mention that only 35% of women prefer the color blue, whereas this is the case with more men (57% respectively).

It also influences 85% of shoppers’ purchase decisions.

So, overall color psychology is a well-researched field, which means that the application of the right colors is an important element in design.

4 General Design Principles to Keep in Mind

Canva can also help you in being consistent with design principles.

Design principles are a set of rules that enable you to create easy to use designs and, as a result, a positive user experience.

One such design principle is for example the KIS (keep it simple) principle.

Many of these principles come from the field of user experience (UX) design.

Jakob Nielsen, a well-known usability consultant developed several “commandments” that can be considered as design principles.

Many of them don’t necessarily apply to the above mentioned typical real estate marketing materials, but even when they don’t do this directly, they can often be used as an inspiration.

I selected a few of them that are more relevant for our purposes.

Here they are (source):

  • A system should always keep users informed about what is going on. In our case, this could be translated into clear language and copy.
  • A system should speak the user’s language. In our case, we should know the potential target clients well enough to create a good copy.
  • The design should be consistent, meaning that different words, situations or actions, and other design elements mean the same thing.
  • The design should be aesthetic and minimalist, which means that you shouldn’t use information that is irrelevant or mostly not needed.

The advantage of Canva in this regard is that you are very often already covered when it comes to the aesthetic or minimalist part.

I find consistency to be one of the most important ones.

This applies also to how you align a design.

If you use a design with centered text, for example, you only rarely want to break consistency and change to left side alignment or right side alignment.

Another benefit of Canva is that it helps you automatically align different design elements.

For example, if you have a header and then add a picture below the header Canva always suggests and displays a line that helps you find the center, helping you to avoid breaking the principle of consistency.

Pros and Cons of Canva


  • User-friendly
  • Many different shapes and elements
  • Automatic background removal from photos (in the pro version)
  • Stock photos
  • Many different premade templates including for real estate even in the free version.
  • Easy to create social media graphics and posts that are already sized correctly (e.g. YouTube Thumbnails, Instagram posts, etc.)
  • Resizing feature
  • Social media post scheduling feature
  • Many free fonts.
  • The pro version is also quite affordable at $12.95 per month.
  • Beginner-friendly. You don’t need to be a design pro to use it.


  • The mobile version could be better (limited functionality).
  • Customer service response time is not the fastest.
  • Really nice graphics are only available by paying for them on a piece by piece basis or in the pro version.
  • Not many file formats available to export graphics to.
  • The language related to image licensing is a bit confusing.
  • Designing brochures or other long form content is a bit cumbersome.
  • Deleting images is also a bit cumbersome.

So, if you want to give Canva a try, you can check it out here for more information.

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