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IDX TECHNOLOGY: Uncover its role for your real estate website in simple terms
If you're ready for your own real estate website, or you just want to understand IDX technology in simple terms, you've landed in the right place!
IDX technology has complications that are sometimes hard to grasp. But that's okay! As a real estate professional, you should focus on what's really important - putting keys in the hands of new homeowners. Here, I'll cover the basics of IDX technology in simple terms and explain its role on your IDX real estate website.
There are three very important tasks performed by IDX on your real estate website. First, it establishes a solid data connection between your real estate website and the MLS system in your area. Then, it imports all local listings, which includes descriptions, details, and images for each listing. Finally and most importantly, it displays those listings on your website in a basic format or in a custom layout.
Read on to uncover the heart of IDX technology for your real estate website...
History of IDX technology in a nutshell
Starting in the early 2000s, IDX technology was first invented to meet a great demand. The internet was over 10 years old by that time, and real estate agents and brokers were already promoting their listings online. But before IDX technology existed, importing local MLS information was very time consuming and costly.
The high cost of presenting and updating listings online prevented most real estate professionals from displaying all local listings, or even all of their own listings on their website. Thus, the great demand for something simpler and cheaper grew rapidly! It didn't take long for the industry to take notice and come up with a solution.
In anticipation of the increasing use of real estate websites to promote listings, members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) began developing the IDX concept back in 2000. The original intent was to connect to the MLS system to advertise all listings, from all brokers in a specific region using a blanket permission to post listings from other brokers.
Posting listings from other brokers
Without IDX technology, written permission is needed to display listings from other brokers. This rule was established by NAR to prevent exploitation and abuse of professional standards and duties by which real estate professionals are legally and ethically bound. In others words, IDX technology accomplishes two great objectives - MLS connectivity AND permission handling.
Advantages of IDX technology today
Nowadays, listings get updated every few hours through the IDX technology installed on your real estate website. That means, your online visitors always see up-to-date information about your listings. And of course, that includes the rest of the listings in your area from other brokers. If you're looking for a simpler and cheaper solution - mission accomplished!
What makes IDX website technology tick?
To explain how IDX technology works in simple terms, I'll go through each of the three important tasks mentioned above, one-by-one. Then, I'll reveal some important information about IDX providers. In the end, you'll have a good grasp of IDX technology.
The first function of IDX technology is to link data from your local MLS to your real estate website. Also, it allows you to send data to your MLS when you create or update your listing. As such, with IDX installed, you have access to all listings in your area along with posting and edit access for your listings.
As the second function, IDX technology imports and regularly updates all of those local listings for you. So when another agent or broker in your region adds or updates their listing, the update gets reflected on your website automatically. How simple is that! Your IDX website will always be up-to-date when your online visitors search for their ideal property.
Now for the best part - what online visitors see on your IDX website...
Listings are displayed in different ways for different functions. The simplest function is a basic search that displays listings based on general criteria like price range, area, and number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Then, there are custom web pages like area guides and map searches that show listings in unique and interesting ways. With IDX technology, the sky is the limit!
IDX providers are your MLS intermediaries
Local MLS listing data is provided to your website by an intermediary - an IDX provider. Examples of IDX providers include FlexMLS and my favorite, RoverIDX, which is the provider I usually use in Mexico. To import listings and to add or update listings, IDX provider servers connect to your local MLS system.
These IDX providers allow you to install a piece of software called a plugin. This plugin provides basic functionality to display listings in a nice way. But good IDX providers like RoverIDX allow for layout and color customizations with a simple click.
Quality IDX providers allow website developers like me to completely customize the look and layout to meet your website design wishes. On top of that, they allow for many different designs on numerous types of web pages that display listings. So from MLS search pages to featured listing pages and area-guide pages, your listings will look great and blend in with the overall design of each web page.
This article is filed under the IDX Technology topic
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