According to the National Association of Realtors, over 85 percent of potential home buyers in the United States use the internet to shop for houses.
If you are a real estate agent or you are planning to start a real estate agency, it is imperative to optimize your online visibility. You need a website that will help you to stand out. One way of doing this is to ensure that your website is IDX powered.
Integrating IDX in your real estate website will ensure that your website can show the property listings on the websites of Multiple Listing Services (MLS).
Below is a discussion about what IDX is and why it is important for real estate agents to offer it.
What is IDX?
IDX is an acronym standing for Internet Data Exchange. It is also an umbrella term that is used cover software, standards, and policies concerning the display of property listing information on real estate websites. For property brokers and agents, IDX is what facilitates members of a given MLS to integrate property listing from the database of the MSL into their respective websites.
For instance, if you are a real estate agent, you can have your MSL’s search on your website with the help of IDX. This function will be made possible by the IDX “data feed” from the MSL board. Thus, professionally designed real estate websites must come with IDX to make it possible for brokers and agents to display on their websites all the properties listed by their MLS.
Thus, an IDX powered website can really be an effective way of generating leads.
Why is IDX Important For Real Estate Agents?
If you have been in the real estate sector for a while, you are probably aware that IDX integration in brokers’ and agents’ websites is one of the most significant trends in the industry. In fact, it is quite hard to imagine how real estate brokers and agents could survive without it.
In the evolution of multiple listing services, IDX has been an effective means of enhancing cooperation between realtors to facilitate the smooth sales and purchases of property. Below is a rundown of the top reasons why it is essential for real estate agents to have IDX powered websites.
IDX powered real estate websites come with several compelling lead capture features. These features help real estate agents and brokers to get clear-cut ideas about what the particular people visiting their websites are looking for.
With IDX, your website can even send emails to clients to alert them when there are new listings matching their search criteria.
Get Audience Attention
Displaying high-quality content that is relevant to what real estate audience is looking for will certainly capture the attention of more clients. Integrating your real estate website with IDX can provide some great search features such as interactive map search and attractive property galleries.
This will surely make it simpler for your clients to find the homes of their dreams on your real estate agent’s website.
In a nutshell, IDX integration will give you an edge over your competitors by helping you to increase your sales.
Search Engine Friendly
IDX integration in your real estate website can enhance the usefulness of your website to the main search engines. This is because IDX listings on your website will generate leads and this significantly contributes to search engines indexing.
Besides, social media share buttons allow people viewing your real estate website to share listings on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and even create valuable backlinks, which brings more organic traffic to your website.
IDX powered real estate websites developers ensures that their websites provide adequate functionality to display, hide, resize, enlarge, shrink, and even move content to different kinds of devices with varying screen size.
In other words, IDX responsive websites facilitate the proper display of property listings irrespective of whether the visitor is using a Smartphone, a tablet, or a laptop.
Thus, with an IDX integrated real estate agency website, your clients can access the available listings no matter the size of the device they are using.
Service providers in the market are providing many different competitively-priced IDX packages customized depending on the needs of real estate agents. The cost also varies accordingly.
Thus, whether you are a large real estate broker, a small real estate broker, or an independent real estate agent, you can find an IDX package specifically designed for your business.
All you have to do is get in touch with the various providers, make them understand what you need, and ask for their quote.
Different Choices of IDX
There are many IDX providers in the market. However, not each one of them is right for you. Therefore, picking the right IDX provider for your business can be quite a daunting task. Below are some tips you can count on as you search for an IDX provider.
Ask for Demo
You cannot afford to pay for an IDX integrations service before trying and testing its functionality. You want to be sure that whatever you want to buy will meet your needs. Thus, it is advisable to ask for a demo. Most providers offer access to a demo to allow you to have an idea of how their IDX solution will serve you.
All you will have to do is to download the plugin, sign up, and you will get an activation key with which you will activate the demo IDX integration and test it to see if it can meet your particular need. If it serves you right, you can go on and pay for the real IDX integration from that particular provider.
Ask for Examples
After trying the demo, it is also prudent to look at other IDX powered sites served by your potential provider. The website site of a reliable IDX provider should have examples of real estate businesses they have successfully served in matters IDX integration.
Consider How the CSS customizations are
You obviously want an IDX integration solution that looks like it is native to your website. To achieve this, the ease with which you can tweak CSS is extremely important. Even though a given IDX integration solution may be working perfectly with the current theme, it is important to consider how possible it is going to be in case you want to change your framework or theme in the future. Thus it is imperative to keep your options open insofar as customization is concerned.
There are many IDX integration services offering different IDX solutions. Although there are many IDX solutions, not all of them are going to work with your WordPress Website. Below is a comprehensive list of the reliable IDX solutions/plugins that can be compatible with your real estate business’ WordPress website.
1. IDX Broker (Lori Ballen’s choice)
This is one of the most commonly used IDX service among real estate agents in the United States. This is because it is approved for most MSLs. Besides, it runs on its own server, and therefore, it guarantees high speed.
The latest version is called the [eafl id=”11554″ name=”IDX Broker” text=”IDX Broker Platinum.”] This new release has been updated several times to rectify the bugs and make it work smoothly. They also recently released page templates with a mobile-first responsive design.
This has made their IDX integration more responsive to various types of devices including mobile phones and tablets.
2. iHome Finder
iHome finder has been in the industry for many years. Indeed, it has been one of the best IDX service providers in the US. However, there was a time when their interface had started to look quite outdated. Nevertheless, they recently addressed this problem and went on to introduce a WordPress Plugin.
This Plugin is simple to install and even to set up. Their design is not only clean but also attractive. It is responsive and mobile friendly. The Plugin comes with a number of feature including back-end management, communities pages, lead capture, searches, and widgets.
3. Showcase IDX-
Showcase IDX is one of the most user-friendly IDX solutions in the market. It is super simple, and it is designed to look great even without further setup. The provider boasts of the fastest MLS refresh rate. The Plugin has a clean design with a lead management dashboard from your real estate business’ WordPress website in addition to map search and email alerts.
It also comes with a chat support feature. Last but not the least; the Plugin is highly responsive, mobile-friendly, Google indexed, and SEO Optimized. Unfortunately, Showcase IDX offers limited customization and MLS coverage.
It also requires very powerful servers to load quickly.
4. Wovax IDX
Wovax IDX started as a Mobile Application and moved to the provision of IDX services. Thus, their IDX solutions are some of the most mobile-optimized you will come across. Their Plugin is unique in that it pulls data, as a custom post, from your MSL listings to your WordPress website.
This is because, in addition to loading the listings on the site under your domain name, it also gives you distinct URLs which enhance the Search Engine Optimization power.
It also allows you to edit the listings as you wish, and therefore, you can introduce more powerful keywords for search engines optimization purposes. Lastly, Wovax IDX is designed to pull data by the use of RET feeds, and this enhanced the speed with which the data gets updated on your website. Unfortunately, Wovax IDX has a number of limitations.
For instance, it requires special server configuration, has no map search, and has limited MLS coverage.
5. Spoton Connect
This is a nice IDX with many great features. It is beautifully styled and has amazing search functionality. Spoton Connect offers a good combination of customizability and easy integration. It also comes with complementary framework themes. Besides, Spoton Connect has a built-in lead capture and, therefore, it enhances search engine optimization.
This IDX provider recently launched the V3 of the Plugin and their map search tool is now greater than before. Unfortunately, their IDX is associated with several demerits.
For instance, it can be quite buggy, it requires a very powerful server to load at a normal speed, and It has limited MLS approval.
6. FLEX MSL- Clean and Simple
This is a clean IDX Plugin that can offer data directly from MLS. It is known for being reliable and simple. In other words, it is easy to install and has a simple to use interface. They also offer an iPhone app making this service quite mobile friendly. Last but not the least, it enhances search engine optimization and offers more localized real estate market statistics.
Unfortunately, it offers limited customization, it is limited to FLEX MSL, and it requires more powerful servers to load quickly.
7. Real Scout
Real Scout provides high-quality IDX solutions. They are unique in that they offer a killer map page reveling Redfin. What is amazing about Real Scout is that it allows the website owner to manually tag each listing coming into the market using natural language tags. This makes Real Scout IDX one of the most search engine optimized IDX solution.
Unfortunately, Real Scout is only available in Washington and California states.
Other IDX solutions/Plugins that work well with WordPress real estate business websites include;
- Spatial Match
- Diverse Solutions
- Real Geeks
Overall, it is apparent that IDX Broker is the best choice if you are looking for IDX integration solutions. Although there are other great IDX services providers in the Market, IDX broker stands out due to its quality. Besides, it is free from most limitations that other IDX solutions are associated with. For instance, it has been approved by most MLSs in the country.
It is, therefore, not a surprise that most real estate agents and brokers are using the services and products of IDX Broker to integrate IDX in their WordPress websites.
WordPress Themes Used By IDX Brokers
Preparing a website theme is one of the most important steps when it comes to designing of websites.
How you choose your theme depends on how you intend to produce your site traffic. Besides, the nature of your theme will affect its SEO power and even its visual appeal.
Thus, if you are a real estate agent, you will need a website theme designed for your particular purpose because real estate websites are special in their own ways. However, it is imperative to note that different IDX solutions work well with different WordPress themes.
Below is a rundown of the WordPress themes used by IDX Broker.
1. Agent Evolution Themes
Agent Evolution themes are developed by an IDX service provider called Agent Evolution. These themes have been developed from the Equity Framework. All their themes have been optimized for IDX Broker MLS search tool. They have also been designed to work for mobile responsive websites.
Thus, these WordPress themes are ideal for IDX powered websites whose IDX integration has been done by IDX Broker, and they are perfect for your real estate Website.
BREW themes are developed by Ballen Brands, a company that specialized in designing real estate agent, IDX websites. Thus, their themes are developed with the goal of real estate agents in mind. BREW themes are SEO friendly and are designed to make it easier for real estate agents to advertise their businesses and products.
They are compatible with IDX tools developed by IDX Broker, and therefore, IDX Broker uses BREW’s WordPress themes to allow for the integration of IDX in their clients’ WordPress websites.
One of the key values of deciding on a BREW is that you actually own your website. It’s not a leads. While you still have monthly fees associated with your website such as hosting and IDX, the website, and the content assets are yours to keep wherever you go.
Ballen Brands also offers a real estate agent website with CRM. Ask about the infused Brew. 702.917.0755
3. RealtyCandy Themes
RealtyCandy offers website themes that are easily accessible and downloadable. Their themes are also simple to install and can be installed on your server within a couple of days. Recently, RealtyCandy and IDX Broker came together to develop great themes for real estate WordPress websites. These themes are meant to help in the personification of their client’s websites.
Their real estate websites themes are developed on the World Class Genesis Framework offered by StudioPress, and they are ready for use with the IDX Broker Platinum. The themes are, therefore, working perfectly with the programs of IDX Broker.
4. IDX Themes
IDX Themes are developed by IDX Broker. Since IDX Broker is a leader in the provision of IDX services and solutions, their WordPress themes are as outstanding as their other products. They offer modern and beautiful WordPress themes with minimum complex developer tools. Thus, their themes are easy to install and setup.
Besides, their themes come with video tutorials to guide the users through the processes of setting up the themes and integrating IDX Broker Platinum in their real estate WordPress Websites. Thus they make your work of developing a real estate business website easier so that you can concentrate on marketing your company. In a nutshell, these themes came with built-in features that will help you to easily and successfully manage your real estate agency.
5. IDXCentral Themes
IDXCentral is a tech company providing internet solutions to businesses in the real estate sector. Thus, their themes are specifically designed for real estate businesses. It is also important to note that their themes are made to be used in WordPress websites. IDX Broker uses their themes because they are not only reliable but also compatible with most of their IDX solutions.
Besides, their themes make it easier for website managers to easily add, remove, or edit content. They also come with features such as lead generating forms and blogs. Last but not the least, these themes are Search engine friendly, and it will go a long way in enhancing your website’s ranking among the major search engines.
6. Winning Agent Themes
Winning Agent WordPress website themes are developed by Winning Agent, a theme setup and site add-ons specialist. They have many different website themes designed specifically for real estate agents, websites. Their themes are highly adaptive and are known to be mobile friendly.
They are also visually appealing and can recreate your website with the with the most advanced design concepts. They have numerous options with prices ranging between $59 and $160. Most IDX Broker tools work well with all the website themes provided by Winning Agent. However, it is imperative to remember that some of the themes developed by Winning Agent are only designed for new installs, and it may not be possible to install them in already existing websites.
Overall, it is apparent that most of the home buyers in the United States use the Internet to shop houses on sale.
However, there are many real estate agents on the internet, and thus, real estate agents need to ensure that their websites are search engine optimized to have a chance of succeeding in the highly competitive real estate market.
One way of doing this is by integrating IDX in their websites. This ensures that the potential clients viewing the websites can access the most up-to-date data from the Multiple Listing Service.
It is also clear that although there are numerous IDX services providers; IDX Broker is a favorite.
IDX Broker has superior products and services, and their themes are only from the best developers in the industry. Thus you can count on IDX Broker for the most reliable IDX solutions and WordPress website themes that will surely boost your status as a real estate agent