Answering the question of how much an IDX website costs is a bit like reading a Choose Your Own Adventure story – the end result depends on several choices you make along the way. Here we’ll cover the basics of both DIY and professional website development, why an IDX website cost is well worth the investment, options for building your own real estate website, and the IDX website costs associated with each development option.
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What is an IDX website?
An IDX website is a website that is fully integrated with internet data exchange, or IDX, plugins, allowing prospective buyers to easily view the multiple listing service (MLS) on your real estate website. IDX is a software, rather than a website type, that enables agents to host these property listings on their websites.
Why is this such an incredible tool for real estate agents? Because IDX software allows agents to integrate property listings directly from the MLS onto their personal site and fully host the listings, rather than simply offering an outbound link. Prospective buyers are able to navigate search listings directly from the agent’s website, which ensures more traffic, lead generation, and high conversion rates.
IDX development is specialized, and not all development companies are created equal. Some agencies cut corners by offering what is called framing – essentially a presentation of the property listing without any of the organic traffic generation that real estate-specific IDX software provides.
There are several companies offering IDX services, such as Agent Image and Placester, but not all development companies offer Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS) technology. Luxury Presence has had tremendous success with organic rankings and lead generation through careful attention to these kinds of details.
Do you really need an IDX website?
In short, yes. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 97% of homebuyers use internet searches when looking for a new property. This staggering statistic gives you an idea of the level of activity online listings receive – and just how essential IDX websites are for growing your real estate business. What’s more, IDX software integrated with RETS technology allows you to optimize the property listings you include on your site, which can land you more clients.
Luxury Presence real estate clients have significantly benefited from using IDX websites to grow their business, earn outstanding returns on their investment, and both engage and convert clients. One key to IDX software success is to limit the number of IDX plugins on your site. Reviews for companies like CINC complain of slow page loading and even frequent page freezes, which can be caused by adding too many plugins and overwhelming the platform.
How much does an IDX website cost?
This is where those Choose Your Own Adventure answers come into play. Your IDX website cost depends on which website building tool you choose, whether you create the site yourself or work with a professional developer, how much content you need, your project management preferences, the complexity of your site, and your maintenance plan. The following categories comprise a finished website, and it will be up to you to determine how much focus to put on each category to ultimately determine your total IDX website cost.
Design is a critical feature of website building, as it determines the site’s style, color schemes, icon and button graphics, and content layout. Website design equals a significant portion of both the IDX website cost and the creative process. Costs associated with the design phase of website building will depend on the complexity and size of your site, including the number of pages, intricacy of graphics, and variety of visual components.
Development is where the magic happens – this is where the designs you created become a clickable, interactive website. It is also where IDX really shines, and should be factored into your IDX website cost. The development phase can include interactive maps, property search functions, client portals, and blogs.
Content creation is another critical component that should be factored into your IDX website cost. This includes photos, branding logos, website copy, floor plans, property highlights, agent bios, and anything showcasing your services. Publishing new blogs regularly helps with traffic and rankings but creating content can be a lengthy process, so if you are busy showing properties and closing deals, a professional builder can handle generating new blogs for you.
Costs will vary depending on the amount of content you create and how it is created. For example, you could choose to block time out of your schedule every week to research blog topics, SEO practices, and keyword optics so you can draft articles yourself, or you can opt for a custom website developer that includes real estate content and blog writing services.
A content management system, or CMS, is an editing feature that allows you to manage your website anytime. CMS integration is important because it means once your site is up and running, you won’t have to wait for your developer to make any proposed edits.
If you want to update a banner or change contact information, you’ll be able to quickly handle the changes any time of day. CMS costs can vary depending on the complexity of the integration.
Building a website involves several moving parts from start to finish. From creating materials like logos and blog topics to organizing launch timelines and structuring the design elements, website creation is a complex process.
If you work with a professional real estate website development company, they will assign a project manager to ensure every last detail is accounted for – and of course, those details have an impact on the IDX website cost.
The maintenance plan for your website can be customized and may include hosting, plugin updates, technical services and support, monthly analytics and reports, information back-ups, and more. The amount of maintenance support you need will depend on the intricacy of your site.
Now that you have clarity on the aspects of website building, let’s take a look at your options for creating your ideal website. You might choose a DIY website builder or a professional development company to customize your site.
What is a DIY real estate website builder?
A website builder is simply a tool or program allowing users to create a personalized site without coding skills. DIY sites like Wix and Squarespace are a bit like a paint-by-numbers kit in that they provide step-by-step instructions and basic templates to create a basic, functional website. Users are able to drag and drop photos and text to create a simple site in a matter of minutes.
WordPress is a popular publishing software used to create websites and blogs. It does require some familiarity with coding and features a wide variety of plugins and themes, so you have some creative freedom in customizing the look.
WordPress also requires a hosting company to maintain the site, and while this is a popular choice for simple blogs, the lack of real estate-specific functions keeps it from being a strong contender for professional real estate websites. Here is a quick overview of the DIY option:
- Perfect for simple sites
- Limited creativity
- No design support
- Basic functions only
- May require coding skills
- No real estate-specific tools
Working with a professional real estate website developer
Professional website builders are established brands like Luxury Presence that handle every aspect of website creation and implementation. One of the most compelling reasons for working with a developer is their customization abilities and real estate-centric features.
As we’ve seen, IDX functions and RETS technology are vital components to a real estate website, and a professional development company can provide access to this, as well as strong client services, content creation, and a project management system to streamline the process.
Developers do cost more than DIY websites, although that cost ensures customized service, individual attention, and a high-functioning website with all the bells and whistles.
- Endless creative design possibilities
- Lead generation services
- Increased website traffic
- Highly experienced designers
- Content creation by real estate experts
- Maintenance options and customer support
- Higher price point than DIY website building
- Potentially longer development time
How to get started
The website building elements listed above will give you more clarity on which website design option works best for you and your real estate business, but how do you get started? There are several companies offering website building services, but you want to ensure they offer IDX software integration.
Some agencies, like Agent Image, focus solely on web marketing and do not include maintenance services. Others, like Curaytor and Boom Town, prefer more basic design schemes. The IDX technology is in there, but the websites often lack the sleek look of modern, award-winning sites.
Luxury Presence is known for sophisticated websites, high-converting IDX search functions, built-in SEO tools, and a complete line of services to grow your business. While some firms hide information about their IDX website cost, Luxury Presence is transparent about its IDX website cost, which can range from $500 up to $6,000 depending on your individual needs and choices.
There is no one-size-fits-all at Luxury Presence. Each client enjoys a wholly unique, beautifully designed website customized to their business. Getting started is easy – connect with a real estate specialist to view a live demo and learn how Luxury Presence can help you grow your business.