What is IDX?

If you are a real estate agent or you worked in a firm that offers real estate agency services, then you probably must have heard of IDX even if you are not well-informed of what it means or how it works. Real estate agents work with listings and if you are wondering how real estate agents can easily access listing information in a matter of seconds by just simply clicking some buttons, IDX is what makes it look like magic.

Internet Data Exchange (IDX)

A questions asked by many is “what is IDX?” Otherwise referred to as Internet Data Exchange, IDX can be simply said to be a combination of software and policies that helps to generate and display listings on websites.

IDX is the general term used to cover standards, software and policies that pertain to the display of listing information on different websites. IDX is particularly helpful to real estate brokers and agents as it helps them to integrate real estate listings from the Multiple Listing Service database into their own websites as long as they are members of the MLS.

It is usually not enough to know the meaning of Internet Data Exchange or IDX, without knowing why it was created in the first place. It is also important for real estate agents in particular to know how IDX helps to enhance a successful career as a real estate agent. Other questions that need to be answered as regards IDX include the cost of integrating IDX listings on a website and what IDX plugin is all about.

Below is a comprehensive overview of IDX which includes the origin of IDX, the evolution of the concept, its features, and how real estate agents especially beginners can set it up on their sites.

History and Evolution of IDX

The history of IDX can be traced back to the early 2000s, around the time the internet began to gain popularity. During this relative infancy stage of the internet, real estate agents came to the realization of how they could promote their listings on the internet effectively, due to its coverage and the number of people using the internet every minute. Coincidentally, Multiple Listings Services thought it wise for their members to have online access their listings to allow for more opportunities to each agent for the promotion of listings, attraction of leads and easy closure of deals. While there has been listing-sharing means for agents and MLSs previously, these means were available at an expensive price, meaning that only few agents and brokers that have the financial strength could afford the integration of MLS listings into their websites. This subsequently hindered smaller real estate agents and brokers in the market, allowing the big boys of the industry to have a filled day.

With the passage of time however, standards for listing data and advances in web technology led to the reduction in costs. This came as good news not only to agents, but also for the developers of software and Multiple Listing Services that serve the real estate market.

The cost of creating and maintaining a real estate website crashed in just a few years, going from thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars to a few dollars monthly. Real estate agents and even brokers now find it very easy and simple to show off listings on their websites thanks to the use of IDX, making it easier and more rewarding for their target audience to find suitable homes for sales via the search and filter functions.

Rules and Regulations guiding the use of IDX

There are several rules and regulations guiding the use of IDX have many rules and regulation have been developed over the years to prevent the abuse of the concept, with the National Association of Realtors playing in major role in the development of these rules. The major point to note about IDX is the need to consult your MLS for a comprehensive look and understanding of their policies concerning the use of their data on your website via IDX. It is worth noting that the policies guiding the use of MLS data varies depending on the MLS.

Owners of real estate websites in this case, brokers and agents can easily be on the wrong side of the law while using or misusing IDX data. Below are some of the very common prohibited uses of IDX data.

  • Posting the listing of a seller even after the seller expressly indicated their wish against listing their home in IDX to their agent
  • The failure to update IDX listings on the real estate agent’s website
  • The provision of IDX listings and information to parties outside the IDX exchange or unauthorized institutions
  • Alteration of information such as the features and dimensions of properties included in IDX listings to make them more attractive to the audience
  • Showing listings on a website without the listing broker or the MLS approving of it

Being a successful real estate agent is not solely based on the generation of leads and closing deals. It also requires following the rules and guidelines of using the IDX before the integration of listings on your website to avoid being sanctioned.

What are the benefits of IDX?

While the rules and regulations guiding the use of IDX might be seen as stringent, the advantages and benefits that come with it overwhelm the “stress”. Using the IDX is a win-win situation for everyone involved that includes consumers and real estate professionals. While agents benefit from the system by being able to share the most appealing and pertinent listings in the market on their sites to get the attention of prospective buyers, buyers on the other side get up to date information about the property market, in addition to the confidence that the information is as accurate as possible.

The real estate market is becoming more dynamic and demanding as consumers want to see property listings and the most recent information in the market on the agents’ real estate website. This makes it imperative for real estate agents to incorporate listings into their website using IDX and the likes of WordPress IDX to ensure that they are not left behind even if getting ahead of the competition might seem a bit difficult especially for small real estate businesses.