WordPress Real Estate Plugin Myth

I receive calls and emails daily for a WordPress Real Estate plugin that will magically import data from a MLS database into a WordPress real estate website. That plugin does not exist and never will.

Mission Impossible

There are hundreds of local MLS Boards nationally. Each Board owns and maintains their own data and therefore all have different data fields and formats. So it would be necessary for a developer to develop not 1, but hundreds of plugins. Additionally, most MLS Boards constantly change their fields. So each of these plugins would have to be maintained to ensure service interruptions would not occur and the proper data was delivered to the end users. This would be a maintenance nightmare not unlike those experienced by Open Realty users.

Compliance and Policing Nightmare

In addition to the maintenance headaches, Local Boards and the National Association of REALTORS® would find it difficult if not impossible to police a WordPress Realty plugin for compliance. In addition to redistribution issues many local boards have, each have their own compliance rules and regulations. The Boards may require submissions of search templates for compliance reviews prior to displaying publicly. A prime example of this Metrolist in Denver. Violation of compliance rules and regulations for display of data can lead to fines as much as $1,000 per occurrence. Since the site owner can change template layouts on the fly so to speak, this could lead to costly compliance issues.

Many Local Boards have implemented security protocols to protect “their” data. Any so called WordPress Real Estate plugin that would import data for redistribution on a Broker/Agent site would need to store the data on servers used by the Broker or Agent’s website. Not all dedicated servers would meet the stringent security requirements of many Local Boards.

With these compliance and policing issues it is only reasonable to expect that NAR and the local boards to enact policies prohibiting such plugins in the not so distant future resulting in the loss of any time and money spent chasing this myth.

Misunderstood Plugin Functionality

There are a couple of WordPress plugins out there for real estate that are completely misunderstood when it comes to functionality. There is NO WP plugin that will import the MLS data directly into your real estate website. The process for the listings data to get into your website is as follows:

  1. Receive the MLS Data from the Local Board that owns it with its permission.
  2. Map the raw data to the fields within the WordPress plugins parameters.
  3. Follow all rules and regulations imposed by the Local Board and NAR when it comes to display and/or redistribution of MLS data.

I recently ran across a competitor that claims to have a WordPress Real Estate Plugin in beta. This competitor makes no mention of the fact that in order to use the plugin you must first be an IDX/RETS client of theirs. Is this deceptive advertising or an oversight? That is for you to decide.

Joomla and Drupal

Before I get slammed with anymore emails about a magic real estate plugin to import MLS data into a Joomla or Drupal website let me state that they do not exist for the same technical reasons as WordPress.

Summary

In addition to all the reasons above you should rethink any attempt to locate or use a WordPress Real Estate plugin. Those REALTORS® that have pursued the magic WP Real Estate Plugin Myth have wasted a great deal of time and money in addition to most likely breaking a few compliance rules along the way.

For the REALTORS® that have managed to use one of these plugins with some success after paying the vendor’s data mapping fees, constant maintenance fees, extra server storage and extra bandwidth fail to understand they end up with only part of a system and the search functionality is the simplest part of any IDX/RETS solution for MLS. The heart of any RETS/IDX solution is the CRM for lead management and is powered by the capabilities of the system to effectively capture and manage leads.

With all the years of training and experience dealing with FSBO vs. REALTOR® services you would think this article would NOT be necessary and that I was just “Preaching to the Choir” about “do-it-your-self” professional services however, the calls and emails for the WordPress Real Estate plugin just keep coming in.

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About the Author:

K.M “Mack” McMillan comes from a family of REALTORS® and was a Broker himself for 14+ years. Mack built one of the 1st real estate websites in 1994 which helped his family run Agency become the most successful Brokerage in south central Missouri. As the original founder of the UltimateIDX in 2000, Mack continues to serve the real estate community and maintains an advisory role in UltimateIDX.

Comments

  1. [email protected]  June 23, 2010

    Do you know if RSS has ever been considered as a format for IDX listings. It would seem to me that the format is openly recognized, highly portable and very subscribable…

    reply
    • Jared Ritchey  July 13, 2010

      We use the new feature in WPRealty but took it out until version 3.0. UltimateIDX is changing theirs to 3.0 this month (or next) which has more WordPress specific features.

      reply
  2. Wordpress Tricks  June 28, 2010

    Hi, i’m have same interesting with you and i found your website from google. You give nice info for wordpress plugin and it’s really informatif. Can i copy your post into my blog ?
    .-= WordPress Tricks´s last blog ..Post Teaser v401 WP Plugin =-.

    reply
  3. Jeremy Smiley - Short Sale Specialist - Fresno, CA  November 22, 2010

    I was doing some research and came across this site. Must say that this information is what I was searching for! Keep up the good info. I just Saved as a favorite, Hope that you’ll come up with additional stuff such as that.
    .-= Jeremy Smiley – Short Sale Specialist – Fresno, CA´s last blog ..FUNNY VIDEO – Quantitative Easing and More BS from The Treasury! =-.

    reply
  4. Rebecca  February 18, 2011

    I don’t know about a universal plugin, but I’ve worked with a few realtors locally who just want to show listings for their own area (Lancaster PA). There is a flexmls plugin that shows all the listings from Lancaster PA, and is a quick and easy install with various widget options (showing listings in a slideshow, listings search, market statistics, etc). It does cost about $200 a year to use it though, and requires a unique passcode…

    I guess for someone who wants people to be able to globally search for homes, that’s not appropriate, but don’t most realtors work locally anyway?

    reply
    • SEOWolf  February 23, 2011

      Rebecca,

      You are only partially correct.

      The WordPress Plugin you mentioned ONLY works is you are already a Flexmls IDX Client and only then it costs an additional $240 per year.

      It is NOT a one size fits all WordPress IDX Plugin which is what this blog post is trying to articulate is NON-EXISTENT!

      I agree that Realtors only work locally. Please reread my post and comments. There is a myth floating around the industry that a Universal WordPress IDX plugin is available that works on data from all MLS Boards. This is absolute BS.

      The Flexmls plugin will ONLY work in markets they already have the MLS data mapped/programmed and the $240 per year is in addition to their normal IDX fees. Their plugin simply allows their IDX Clients to display listings on a WordPress platform.

      No magic or savings here….. sorry.

      reply
  5. Tony Green, Winston Salem Realtor  February 22, 2011

    I’ve been looking at different IDX options for my wordpress blog. Now, I’m even more confused! Too many options out there! I want an IDX feed where I can customize pages/searches for cities, neighborhoods, price range, foreclosures, and requires registration after 2-3 property views. And of course it has be reasonably priced which is no more than $30/month to me. Who offers this?

    reply
    • SEOWolf  February 23, 2011

      Tony,

      To be honest I don’t know of any IDX Solution that works with WordPress, that is customizable, and has all the features you want AND under $30 a month. For that matter I don’t know of any IDX Solution that offers what you want for WordPress at any price other than the UltimateIDX.

      The UltimateIDX does have all the features you are looking for but packages start at $69.95 per month.

      Sorry

      reply
  6. Keith  January 19, 2012

    Old topic I know, but this should handle the issue in case anyone else is searching for one still….

    http://www.dsidxpress.com/

    reply
    • SEOWolf  February 15, 2012

      Really Keith? It is not a standalone plugin. You must first be a DS client. This is really smoke and mirrors and not entirely honest IMHO.

      reply
      • Heather  October 22, 2014

        What an incredibly negative and short-sighted post. Anybody in technology who utters the word “impossible” is in the wrong field.

        reply

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