For years, the home buying process has looked the same. The seller hires an agent, the agent adds the listing to the MLS, the buyer hires an agent, and the buyer’s agent searches the MLS for the right property. But this process is starting to feel a bit dated. In a world where people are used to having information at their fingertips, IDX real estate websites are becoming more popular.
What are IDX Websites?
“Also known as Broker Reciprocity, IDX encompasses the policies, rules, and software that allow listings from the MLS database to be displayed publicly,” Diverse Solutions explains. In other words, any time you see a real estate website with MLS search results – such as this one listing homes in Scottsdale from The Kay-Grant Group – you’re on a website that’s being made possible through IDX.
Over the past couple of years, IDX websites have become popular as a result of their simplicity. In the past, only MLS members had access to the database, which made it somewhat difficult for buyers to always find their ideal property.
“IDX was created to solve this problem. With the formation of new rules and policies, real estate agents and brokers could display parts of the MLS database on their website using IDX,” notes Diverse Solutions. “Following the creation of IDX policies, MLSs began to offer basic IDX search products as a benefit to their members and property searching soon became a vital part of any real estate website.”
The Costs and Benefits
For real estate companies, investing in an IDX website has its pros and cons. Here are a few common advantages:
- Enhances website value. The number one advantage to having an IDX website is the fact that it makes your site more competitive. All leading real estate sites have IDX capabilities and you need to match them step for step.
- Access to new online leads. With IDX, you get access to new online leads that you never had before. People can find listings they’re interested in and then contact you for more information.
- Cost-effective marketing. With the right volume of site traffic, IDX listings can be an extremely cost-effective form of marketing. Many agents acquire new clients through IDX searches and you can too.
It’s not all positive, though. Investing in an IDX website doesn’t come without some disadvantages.
- Upfront cost. Investing in an IDX platform isn’t free. The upfront cost associated with revamping an existing website can be too expensive for some companies to justify. This is something you should carefully consider.
- Diminished SEO value. Perhaps the biggest drawback to an IDX platform is that it doesn’t give you any search engine “juice.” Because listings aren’t pasted directly into the site’s copy, there’s no opportunity to rank for the keywords found within the listings. According to one survey, 9 percent of real estate companies believe this is the most noteworthy factor.
- Less successful than third-party postings. According to the aforementioned survey, 18.75 percent of real estate companies believe IDX feeds are less successful than posting listings on third-party sites. In other words, you’re better off saving your money and using it to advertise listings on large popular search engines like Zillow.
These factors are more costly to some real estate companies than others. It all depends on how individual clients respond to IDX website integration.
IDX is Modernizing the Real Estate Industry
While there are pros and cons to IDX websites, there’s one undeniable positive: This new technology is propelling the industry forward. For an industry that was once seen as antiquated, IDX websites are allowing real estate companies and individual agents to catch up with the rest of the internet. That’s a plus, no matter what way you slice it.