As an agent new to building websites, you may be wondering, “what is IDX?” If this describes your situation, you’re in the right place. Read on to learn about IDX websites, how they integrate with MLS systems, and why you should have this feature on your website.
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What Is IDX?
If you’re a real estate agent or broker shopping around for a website, you’ve probably seen the term IDX popping up quite a bit. What is IDX, and why do you need an IDX website?
As a real estate professional, you want prospects to be able to view which houses and properties are currently for sale by searching on your website instead of Zillow, Trulia, or another web portal that showcases other agents.
Individually uploading every listing and taking it down once it’s sold would be impossible, so you need a data connection that automatically updates listings as they come on the market and are sold.
That’s precisely what IDX does. It connects your MLS with your website to show real-time listings that are continuously updated. This ensures your website visitors won’t get frustrated by looking at old, outdated listings that are no longer available.
That happens more often than you’d think. One study found that real estate portals like Zillow and Trulia only show about 73% to 78% of the total listings currently on a given MLS, and about 36% of the listings that do make it on those websites are no longer for sale.
That’s a recipe for frustration and disappointment for house-hunters who think they’ve found a property they like at a price they can afford, only to discover it was sold a month ago.
This is why having an IDX data feed on your website is so essential as a real estate agent. If you want your prospects to trust you and choose to work with you, you must be able to show them accurate, up-to-date information that can end in a sale.
IDX Pros and Cons
Pros (what we like)
First, let’s address the pros associated with using an IDX feed on your website. About 54% of your prospects rely on the internet to start their home search.
Through the entire home search process, about 95% of home buyers will use the internet to search for homes and find information about properties they like.
The reason you should use an IDX data feed on your website is to provide an easy, accurate way for prospects to search for the properties they like. That in itself is beneficial to home buyers, but as an agent, you also get several benefits:
- You get more buyer leads who come to your website to search for properties that meet their criteria
- You can easily collect contact information from leads by giving them the ability to save a search, sign up for email updates when similar properties hit the market, or create a search account
- You get valuable information about your leads – what kinds of properties they search for, which ones they saved or favorited, the area they’re looking within, etc.
- Website visitors who find a property they like are more likely to call or contact you because they saw the listing on your website
- You and your buyer can save time by showing fewer homes before they find one they like
- Adding the ability to search property listings can increase your website traffic and improve your analytics (how long users stay on your website, reduced bounce rate, etc.)
- You can stand out from competitors who aren’t offering search solutions on their websites
Cons (what we don’t like)
While there are a lot of benefits to using an IDX website, there are a few drawbacks, too. It’s important to know the disadvantages of using an IDX website:
- It won’t help your website rank better or be more visible in terms of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). IDX functions aren’t technically part of your website, at least in the eyes of Google – it’s considered a “design element” instead
- It can be expensive – some IDX website providers charge $250/month for a fully customizable IDX website, but most are below $100/month for sites with fewer features
- IDX rules and regulations can be hard to understand and follow, and they’re different for every MLS
The IDX rules and regulations may be difficult to stick to if you don’t know what your MLS rules are. Examples include
- Showing listings where the seller has requested it not be publicly posted
- Allowing your IDX subscription to expire and leaving old listings posted
- Copying information from your IDX and posting it outside your website
- Changing the information in IDX listings in any way
Even with these drawbacks considered, IDX websites are an important part of a modern real estate agent’s online marketing plan. Without one, you can’t compete with more digitally-savvy agents.
Where to Get an IDX Website
You know that IDX websites are essential if you want to generate more leads online. Where do you start? There are thousands of IDX website providers, but they are not created equally.
Some are very inexpensive but don’t offer enough useful features. Some are incredibly expensive and packed with features that may be overkill for a solo agent.
Here are our top picks for IDX website providers. We share their monthly pricing information, what’s included with your plan, contract requirements, any free trial offers, and setup fee information.
IDX Broker | Starts at $50/month
IDX Broker is jam-packed with features, so if you’re serious about adding functionality to your website and have enough room in your budget, this is a good choice.
IDX Broker shows MLS/IDX search functions on every single page of your website, includes HTTPS website security, a special polygon search tool, a real-time map search with higher-level plans, lead capture through email, text, or social logins.
Setup fees range from $100 with lower-tier plans to $500 for the Broker Platinum plan. Plans are priced from $50/month (Lite plan) to $150/month (Broker HOME plan).
Showcase IDX | Starts at $59.95/month
Showcase IDX is an excellent option for agents who already have a WordPress website. It doesn’t work with any other platform. Get features like map searches, forced registration options, advanced listing searches, and automatic lead routing to your CRM.
There are no setup fees, and you can start either plan with a 30-day free trial. You’ll get a discount if you sign a contract for one year; otherwise, it’s month-to-month.
iHOUSEweb | $99.98/month plus MLS and setup fees
You get everything you need with iHOUSEweb: An IDX-integrated website, website hosting, a custom email address that matches your domain, a website blog, TurboLeads CRM to track leads, and the TurboLeads mobile app.
You’ll start with a 14-day free trial. There’s a hefty, one-time setup fee of $998 for agent plans, and you’ll be responsible for paying any fees your local MLS charges.
Real Geeks | Starts at $249/month plus optional add-ons
Real Geeks is one of the most expensive options if you want an IDX website because it comes with so many additional features and functions. With a Real Geeks website, you can have up to 2 users on your customizable IDX website.
You’ll also get an included CRM and email marketing system, the ability to offer users free market reports, and a text auto-responder.
For an additional monthly fee, you can also offer a home valuation tool to get seller leads, or you can opt to have Real Geeks manage Facebook ad campaigns for you. A 1-year contract is required. There is no free trial.
So, What Is an IDX Website?
As the real estate industry becomes more integrated with the internet, having an IDX website is essential for agents. Users are already finding their homes online without the help of an agent through portals like Zillow and Trulia.
If you’re not providing them a more accurate, real-time way to search for properties that meet their criteria, you’re missing out on a lot of leads.
Making it possible for your prospects to perform advanced searches that may lead them to the home they want will only help you grow your real estate business.
By connecting your website directly with your MLS using an IDX data feed, you can supply your website visitors with the most accurate listing information in your area and stay relevant in a digitally-progressing world.