Everything REALTORS® Need to Know About IDX Searches
When a prospect visits your real estate website, let’s face it: they’re not exactly there looking for your life story (sorry! 😁).
Of course they may want to know a bit about you, but they’re there because they want to check out your real estate listings.
And no, we’re not talking about just showing them links to the MLS. That sends them away from your website, which is something you’d want to avoid (more on that in a bit).
We’re talking about a feature that lets your visitors search for, browse, and view listings directly within your website.
This feature is the IDX, which stands for “Internet Data Exchange.” Today, we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about IDX searches on real estate websites, and how it helps your biz.
How Does IDX Work?
Basically, IDX is a service feature that acts as a middleman between your board’s MLS database and your website.
It’s a data feed which essentially… well… feeds relevant information from a source (the MLS) to a destination (your real estate site). This allows MLS participants to display each other’s listings and all the related listing details, within their own individual realtor websites.
Once you have the MLS-IDX connection set up (procedures may vary per board or IDX service provider), the IDX function can then be added to your site using widgets.
As for what widgets are, think of them as mini-apps that you install on your site, sort of the same way you install apps on your smartphone when you want additional functions.
So IDX Keeps Visitors on My Site. Why Is This Important?
The short answer is: the longer your prospects remain on your website, your chances of converting them into leads get better.
And as we all know by now, if you’re in real estate, leads are your bread and butter.
There are many factors that contribute towards keeping visitors around for as long as possible. This includes a visually-pleasing site design, responsive themes, and most of all, usefulness.
You can have a really sleek website, but if the visitor finds no value in what it contains, they’ll be gone in about literally five seconds.
This is where IDX shines, because it’s the IDX that brings a good chunk of your site’s content with the greatest value.
As mentioned previously, IDX allows you to display information taken from the MLS straight onto your website. This includes listing details such as photos, summaries, property details, and so on.
Via the IDX, visitors can then run searches using a variety of criteria to help them narrow down the results, thus helping them find properties that match their needs. Since all the information visitors might be looking for are already in one place (a.k.a. your site, which we will assume has your branding and contact information all over it), they are then encouraged to shop around and keep running searches, or view the details of multiple listings.
As they do this, they might then start looking for your contact details. Maybe take a peek at your About Me page. Perhaps they decide to look at your glowing testimonials from previous clients.
The longer they stay, the more they find.
The more they find, the more they like.
And the more they like, the more committed they get.
Once they’re committed, the more they are inclined to start contacting you.
Once that first inquiry is sent, an opportunity is created for you to start a fruitful realtor-client relationship.
What Are Other Main Benefits of Having IDX Integration?
• Automatic Listing Updates That Save You Time and Effort
Remember when we said earlier that the IDX feeds data to your website? We should add that once everything is set up, listing updates happen automatically. The feed just keeps going, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This means that if you have a new listing up, or if the status of a listing has changed on the MLS, this is also automatically reflected on your site. So no need to manually add or edit listings anymore! (And yes, depending on your board’s rules, you can also display information for sold properties!)
• Include Listings from Other Agents and/or Your Office
Whether you’re a solo agent, a part of a small team, or a member of a large brokerage, the IDX gives you the option to also show your site visitors listings from other agents you work with. On the flip side, other agents within your network can also display YOUR listings.
This is a great thing to have, especially if you are looking to build a strong referral network.
• Create Custom Searches to Display On Your Site
Do you happen to specialize in a specific property type? Is there a particular neighbourhood that you’d like to focus on? Do you want clients to see ONLY listings under your name?
All this is possible with the help of IDX. Using many of the same search criteria that prospects can use to narrow down their searches, you can also create customized search results that you can display on your site. This can be super helpful if you are pushing your marketing for certain areas, or you have specific business targets that you’d like to achieve.
• Custom Branding
Just because it’s automated, doesn’t mean it can’t look good!
The nice thing about IDX is that it sends over data, but it gets displayed on your site… which you happen to have full control of. This means that you DO have a say in how it gets presented to your site’s visitors. Do you want the listing titles to have colors that match your personal brand? Done. Want to add your photo and contact area to a specific spot on the page where the listing details are shown? You got it.
Think of it as IDX is pouring the water (data) and you get to pick the container to hold it all in (your site) before serving it to your clients.
How Can I Use IDX on My Real Estate Site?
We’re fans of website templates with built-in IDX capabilities, and that’s why we make them. 🙂
Now you won’t have to worry about things like coding and maintenance! myRealPage offers responsive, beautifully-designed, and IDX-equipped websites for REALTORS®. Just pick a theme, do a quick set up, and you’re done!
In case you already have an existing website that just needs the handy-dandy IDX feature, we’ve got you covered. Try out myRealPage’s IDX website plugin. We’ve got a WordPress-ready version, too!
What else would you like to know about IDX searches? We’re here to answer your questions!