If you’re a website developer tasked with building a real estate website, it can be difficult to wade through the industry-specific needs. Real estate websites are unique. You need to develop a business site that helps agents reach new clients. But you also must create a site that serves as an active search tool for properties in the local area. Among the most important factors is an IDX integration, which we’re going to discuss more below. IDX for developers can be confusing, so we’re helping untangle the IDX web and help you choose the right product for your client.
Understanding IDX Integration
If you’re new to real estate website development, you might be hearing about IDX integration for the first time. The first step to understanding IDX for developers is to know what IDX is and what it does.
IDX stands for Internet Data Exchange. IDX software helps agents share real estate listings across various sources using the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS. (Don’t worry, these are the only acronyms you’ll need to remember today!)
The Multiple Listing Service is a collection of services that act as a database for all real estate sales in a geographical area. If you’ve ever searched for a home using one of the many online real estate search sites, those sites are accessing the MLS for that area.
IDX services allow users to search MLS listings directly from an independent website. That is, instead of directing business toward a large search engine, real estate agents can refer clients to their personal website. With an IDX integration, clients can then conduct real estate searches directly through the agent’s website, which positively impacts the Realtor’s online presence.
You can learn more about the MLS and IDX integration in this article.
Starting from Scratch? Choose the Perfect Theme
Real estate websites are slightly different from other commercial websites. They function not only to educate the buyer and help them learn more about the Realtor, but also to help them find properties.
As a website developer, you’ll want to create a real estate site that looks great and functions even better. If your client already has a website, you can focus on cleaning up the design and integrating IDX software. But if you’re starting from scratch, we recommend starting with a real estate-centered website theme.
Winning Agent themes were designed with both agents and real estate clients in mind. The themes seamlessly integrate IDX platforms, giving every website a crisp, clean, professional look with minimal effort. You can find out more about Winning Agent’s themes here.
These themes are perfect for the professional website developer as well as real estate agents building their own sites.
Choose the Right IDX Product
Once you have the perfect theme and have a website built, it’s time to integrate IDX. This integration allows visitors to search the MLS directly from your site.
Choosing IDX software can be confusing. There are many different options on the market, all backed by the National Association of Realtors. We recommend IDX Broker, a tried-and-true leader in the IDX integration world. The software is easy to use and seamlessly integrates into all websites, including the Winning Agent themes.
IDX Broker has two software options. The Platinum package has everything a real estate agent needs to integrate MLS searches onto their website. It covers more than 550 different MLS feeds from across the country, giving users access to millions of listings nationwide. IDX Platinum also provides SEO boosting tools, viewer data tracking, mobile site integration, and fully customizable designs. If your client wants you to develop a website with all the very best features, we recommend IDX Platinum.
For clients on a tighter budget, IDX Lite is an ideal option. IDX Lite still includes access to more than 550 MLS feeds nationwide. However, the Lite program offers fewer options to customize and has fewer lead generation tools. Still, it’s an affordable IDX integration software with plenty of power.
Getting IDX Set Up on the Site
Once you decide on an IDX theme for the real estate website, it’s time to get it set up. After purchasing, you’ll be given login information and directed to a dashboard for IDX management on the site. We know this article is about IDX for developers, but we highly recommend letting the agent handle this part of the setup. Connecting IDX to specific MLSs can be tricky for website developers.
Real estate agents are pros at navigating the various MLS services. You might be the expert at creating a website, but Realtors are experts at MLS. They know which MLSs would be the best for their market and clientele. You can certainly be available to navigate the technical aspects of the setup, but encourage the agent to do the bulk of the work here.
To Plugin or Not to Plugin
You’ll need to create a search form or install a search widget to support the IDX software. While you can use a plugin from your platform, these aren’t always the best at working with the IDX program. Instead, our tech experts recommend installing the code or scripts provided by the IDX provider directly into your site. IDX Broker’s software provides customizable search widgets, which can then be copied and pasted directly into WordPress (or other programs). It allows the same functions as a standard search widget but without as much code.
You’ll also need to install a search results option on the site. Again, this can be customized using the information from the IDX provider. The process should be fairly straightforward. The IDX provider should give you almost everything you need to get the search and results information loaded onto the site. The hardest part from a development standpoint will be making it all look good.
IDX for Developers of All Ability Levels
While we’ve focused mainly on IDX for developers here, it’s important to note that anyone can create a website using IDX integration. If you’re a real estate agent building your own professional website, IDX integration should be one of your top priorities
Winning Agent makes website development easy, even if you’re not a professional developer. Our Realtor-specific themes make website creation easy. We even offer website hosting and design services for agents who just don’t have the time to build their sites. Our themes are all ready for IDX integration, making the process simple and painless. And when you use IDX Broker as your IDX program, you can seamlessly integrate an effective, user-friendly MLS search option to your business’s website.
Your website is the face of your business. Real estate is an ultra-competitive field. And with more than 90% of buyers beginning their home search online, a well-designed and functional website is more important than ever.
Website developers can give their real estate clients an edge by adding IDX integration to these sites. Even if you’re not familiar with real estate terminology, IDX software is easy to add. It will make your client’s website even more dynamic.
Are you a website developer who wants to know more about building real estate sites? Click here to learn more about IDX for developers. Our experts are ready to answer your questions and help you build an exceptional real estate website.