You’ve been in the real estate industry for a while and you’re noticing that other agents in your area are getting website upgrades left and right. They are telling you that they have increased their clientele by a landslide, and it is all thanks to their new and improved IDX-integrated home search.
But what does IDX mean and does it really impact that much? We are here to answer those questions and more. This article is your deep dive into the world of real estate IDX and how it can benefit your business.
The Evolution of IDX
IDX has come a long way since it was first introduced in the early 2000s. At that time, it was mainly used to share listing information between agents and MLSs. A little bit later on, MLSs decided that they needed a way to share listings with their members, so that became the primary function of IDX. However, this was a pricey option, and very few agents and/or brokers could afford it. As technology has progressed, IDX has become more complex, accessible, and beneficial.
Nowadays, real estate agents can use IDX to not only share listings but they can also display listings directly on their personal websites. This means that once you publish your listing on IDX, it will appear in all participating agent websites without having to re-enter each site separately. This means less time spent going back and forth with your MLS and more time doing what you do best – closing deals on your client’s dream home.
Not only is IDX now much more helpful for your business, but it is also much more affordable than it once was. You can typically access all the benefits of an IDX plugin with just a few dollars a month. Not bad for a great return on investment!
What Is IDX?
Internet Data Exchange (IDX) refers to the standards, policies, and software that display real estate listings on websites. IDX allows brokers, agents, and other members of a multiple listing service (MLS) to integrate real estate listings into their own personal websites.
How Does IDX Work?
How does IDX work? Ultimately, IDX creates a data connection between the MLS like ARMLS or CRMLS and your personal website, displaying listing information directly on the page. These listings get updated every few hours, so your clients and website viewers will never miss a beat. Not only does this ensure you the credibility of having accurate information as a real estate agent, but it also keeps your clients on your website instead of sending them elsewhere.
The IDX Difference
If you are not using an IDX website or MLS WordPress plugin yet, now is the time! IDX can be a great tool for your real estate business for several different reasons.
First, an IDX gives you trust and credibility as an agent. IDX provides you with an edge that other sites without IDX (like Trulia or Zillow) can’t have. Research has shown that 36% of Zillow and Trulia listings were no longer for sale, and 20% of active listings were missing. With IDX functionality on your website, your listings will stay up-to-date, and your clients won’t have to deal with that frustration. In turn, your clients trust you and your website, enjoy their home-buying experience, and are more likely to refer friends and family to you later on.
One of the greatest advantages that an IDX has for real estate agents is that it leads website users directly to the agent when they are ready to buy. When you use a non-IDX site as a buyer, more often than not, your information will be sent out to several places, causing your phone and email to be spammed with messages that you don’t necessarily want. On an IDX site, the buyer is only referred to the listing agent when their information is entered. This is an advantage for both agents and buyers, as it allows the agent to keep all of their potential leads. It ensures buyers that their information is safe and is not getting sent out to a bunch of random agents or brokerages.
An IDX plugin or platform is a win for everyone involved. Whether looking at a website from an agent’s perspective or a consumer’s perspective, it’s the best choice overall for online real estate listings.
Rules and Regulations of Your IDX
While there are several pros to having IDX on your website, you will be closely working with your MLS, which means you must respect the regulations of that MLS. Many of these rules have been added and influenced by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Each multiple listing service has its own set of policies for IDX integration, and you’ll need to reach out to your MLS representative to fully understand how to comply with them. It’s important to gain clarity on these rules upfront, as there are many ways you could potentially get in trouble with your MLS if you misuse IDX data.
Here are a few of those misuses:
- Changing listing information on your IDX to try and make it more appealing to your clients.
- Showing unapproved listings on your website.
- Posting a seller’s listing after the seller has specified that they do not want their home to be listed publicly.
- Failing to update your website’s IDX listings.
- Providing IDX listings from sources that are not a member of the IDX exchange.
For your IDX to be as effective and beneficial as possible, it is crucial that you use that IDX properly and within reason. If you research the guidelines for your MLS beforehand and keep your IDX practices ethical, you’ll be golden.
IDX in Real Estate
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has stated that 90% of home buyers start their home search online. Get ahead of the game and make sure that your real estate website is set up to blow away the competition. Adding an IDX solution to your site will make you stand out from other agents in the area, get you more referrals, and keep your listing information as accurate as possible.
If you’re interested in learning more about what an IDX looks like for your business, reach out to one of our IDX experts and they can help you get started with the #1 IDX WordPress plugin in the nation. There is no better time to upgrade your website and business than now! And if you’re just starting your business, check out our guide on how to make a real estate website.