The Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, is an online database that lists all the homes for sale in a specific area. Access to it is a valuable tool in the real estate industry. The MLS is so widely used that based on a recent NAR report, 86% of sellers list their homes on it. However, listings aren’t available to the general public. Only real estate professionals have access to this information. Real estate agents build the collection of properties on each local MLS as they sell homes, passing the information onto clients. What does this mean for agents? Read on as we break down why having MLS access on your website is key for realtors.
Why buyers need MLS
Having MLS access on your website is key for realtors, but it’s also key for home buyers. From the buyer’s side, your real estate agent can track down homes available to buy in your target area. They can filter the search to show only homes that might fit the buyer’s needs, which is extremely valuable. What kind of information is included in an MLS listing? Things like square footage, number of rooms, renovation updates, appliance ages, HOA fees, photos and much more. MLS listings tend to have such an extensive amount of information about the property, buyers can often make choices before having to view homes in person. By providing access to MLS listings, potential clients are less likely to leave your website and do search elsewhere.
How to get MLS on your website
MLS is one of the most important features of your website as a realtor. Buyers come to your website wanting to see properties, after all. Your job as an agent is to make sure the client is provided with everything they need on your website. But how do you get the MLS listings on your site? The easiest way is to subscribe to MLS listings via an IDX feed. IDX, or Internet Data Exchange, is the system designed to help real estate agents add MLS listings to their website. IDX establishes a data connection between your website and the MLS, imports listings, and displays them on your website. The listings are updated every few hours, so your audience always has access to the most recent listings and can contact you for information about the available properties.
Display local listings and provide a call to action button to let visitors know you’re there to help when they find properties they love. Design-wise, plugging in a ready-built IDX tool while marrying it to your brand and look can pose a challenge. IDX search features typically come with default settings and a one-size-fits-all style for their layouts. To achieve a seamless design, themes like our My Community Pro offer IDX service integration to easily integrate with your real estate IDX service. You can also use another listing plugin to show your properties right on your own website. This can elevate the whole search experience for website visitors and create a professional look that will help you stand out from the crowd.
IDX and MLS history
In the early 2000s, as real estate technology became more commonplace, realtors started to understand that having MLS access on your website is key for selling homes. Initially, real estate websites and MLS sharing platforms were expensive. But like most tech tools, time brought down costs and provided more options. Software developers came up with innovative MLS integration solutions. As a result, real estate websites became more affordable, and therefore more common. Developers created IDX software as a solution for real estate agents’ websites. An IDX program essentially gives one realtor permission to share MLS listings from other agents on their business website, and vice versa. This way, each realtor can share more information with his or her own clients, therefore selling more homes.
Do you already have MLS listings available on your website? If not, reach out to us! We’ll answer any questions and get you set up today. 🙂