The IDX is a plug-in software that contains standards, best practices, and policies related to displaying the information in real estate listings on websites. This powerful tool allows agents and brokers to integrate listings from the Multiple Listing Services (MLS). With the MLS, realtors in a particular location can upload, share, and manage local listings.
44% of all buyers search property listings online when looking to make purchasing decisions. IDX software helps broaden what you can offer your clients by better positioning you to incorporate listings into your website.
By creating the data connection between your website and the MLS, IDX integration helps you get prospects from all listings on your website. These listings are automatically updated often, so properties appear or disappear from your site as soon as they are listed or are sold.
However, IDX only works on individual websites. Realtor marketplaces or web portals like Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, and Foreclosure.com, don’t work with IDX. Instead, they typically receive property listings from brokerage syndications. So, don’t be surprised to find inaccurate information on these portals.
Does Everyone Need IDX?
As great as IDX is, you should think carefully before integrating it into your website. While IDX integration is great for giving your prospects variety, it’s a tool that only makes sense when you have a huge marketing budget.
Many think IDX integration will dramatically increase the number of visitors to their site, but this is hardly the case. Instead, think of IDX as a lead-generating tool rather than an SEO tool. IDX can only add value to strong site traffic you already have a supported by great marketing tactics, original copy, and SEO best practices.
Since so many people use IDX, the bots don’t give it any special attention when a person searches for a realtor and it doesn’t directly impact your website ranking. If you want it to make any real difference, you may need to optimize your listings with a customized solution, which often costs a lot of money.
So, if you are still bootstrapping your business, you can leave this aspect of your website for a later time.
How To Integrate IDX
If you have sorted out all other aspects of your website, you should be ready for your site’s IDX plug-in. The good news is that IDX integration is easier than you think. Just ensure your website is standard or commercial.
- Contact your local MLS to learn their specific regulations. The National Association of Realtors makes regulations for using IDX, so you have to be sure of the usage policy in your area.
- Try the framing method to reduce the cost of your website setup. But this should only be considered a short-term strategy to integrate IDX, as it can burn your SEO and cost you leads and sales.
- Use the standard Real Estate Transaction Standards (RETS) feed. Contact your MLS and enquire about RETS. Then, obtain RETS login credentials accordingly.
- Research existing software interfaces to navigate the RETS server. If you are working with a vendor, you’ll get this from them.
- Next, you should enter the login credentials from the MLS to access the RETS server. This will open up to the hundreds of available listings in your location.
- Carefully check each import field on the RETS server and connect them to the corresponding fields on your website.
- The next step is to add contacts and queries as appropriate. Remember that prospects should be able to find your call-to-actions without stress or difficulty.
- Run an initial listings import. This often requires some time, typically a few hours. The exact time will depend on the server, traffic, and RETS client.
- When the import is complete, it will show on your listings manager. Verify the listing and field mapping—you can even ask someone else to look through it for further verification.
- Then set cron jobs to auto-sync your listings and run updates.
- Now, it’s time for you to close the RETS client site and navigate back to your website. You may use Shortcodes or any editing tool to choose where your property search will be displayed on the site.
This is more technical than it sounds, so you’ll need good tech knowledge or a team that can help you figure it out. Even at that, it takes time and money to do it right, especially if you plan to customize your listings. That’s why many realtors depend on reputable third-party vendors for this work.
Jade Mills Estates is one real estate website that effectively showcases the power of IDX. The website welcomes you with a feature of active listings in a magazine layout. This is followed by a search bar that allows you to narrow down the location and type of property you desire. Visitors can also explore the various carefully-curated categories cutting across luxury homes and communities. This is the power of IDX.