Real estate directories are a flourishing business all around the world, but especially in the United States where the MLS rules all real estate transactions. Real estate websites utilize the MLS directly (in some cases) or through the use of IDX (where the property owners and real estate broker have provided permission).
Sites utilizing MLS and IDX have become very popular with the rise of AirBNB and Vacation Rental By Owner, as well as niche websites that help real estate professionals sell properties in their specific area (like ski resorts, coastal towns, mountain hideaways, etc…).
However, many sites take a large percentage / cut of profit from the seller and/or lister of the real estate property or charge large fees when the listing is created. One way you could take advantage of this would be to build your own real estate listings, targeting a particular niche, and taking advantage of the MLS and IDX.
If you are a broker or a real estate agent, you can also create a real estate directory website and start making money online by providing people a platform to advertise their properties on your website.
There are two terms that you’ll come across when heading for an online real estate business. They are MLS and IDX. These both terms are related to the online real estate listing and display of your real estate properties.
What is the MLS (Multi Listing Service)?
The first thing you should know is that MLS is a huge database of real estate listings. MLS stands for multi listings service or multiple listing service.
MLS is in fact a large collection of different regional databases. It is a great way to get your property listed so as to make it available for a large range of visitors. Agents (and realtors) can upload as well as download the documents on MLS.
The access of MLS is only limited to the registered agents who pay for their membership. They can collect the data about the property from their clients and submit a detailed listing for the property. The MLS(multiple listing service) listing for the property can have all kinds of specific information about it, including the square footage of the property, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, size of the land / acreage, and many other characteristics (school zones, for example).
What is IDX?
IDX stands for internet data exchange, but it can mean many different things to different users. It can be defined as a set of rules or policies as well as the system to display the MLS properties on your website. What IDX lets you do is to display the listings from MLS databases to be displayed publicly. This helps the real estate agent to find more exposure for their property listings and helps the users to find out their ideal home/property.
MLS is a closed system where only the registered agents and brokers, or any real estate professionals can update the listing information and access the IDX data. If you are a casual user trying to find homes, you cannot access these IDX listings from the MLS data. This limits the scope of the real estate data stored in an MLS to be found by a relevant user.
To solve this problem, the great people of the Internet have created IDX, ie. Internet Data Exchange. The IDX internet data system allows MLS agents to share part of the real estate listing that is available on the MLS database, and it can be shared on an agents website. This facilitates property search for the investors as well as buyers.
When the listings of MLS are shared on a real estate business website by an agent or realtor, it can get attention on a wider and broader scope – which means more viewers for the listings, and it becomes more likely that the broker can sell the property. Visitors and viewers of the property can access and find the listings of their choice and the agents can efficiently sell a wide range of properties.
As mentioned earlier – how you can interact with the IDX system an is guarded by some rules and policy. There are some rules that the brokers of IDX community should follow while uploading their listings and sharing the IDX properties on their website.
For example – A registered real estate agent cannot upload a property listing to IDX without the consent of the property owner. Only the properties of the users who don’t mind their properties to be a part of the IDX system for advertising it, can be listed.
The next thing not allowed by MLS is to share the listings you get through IDX with unauthorized persons, the third parties who aren’t a part of IDX.
Again, MLS is a closed-loop system, but IDX was layered on top of the MLS databases to allow real estate agents share some listings and use IDX data on their websites to facilitate their visitors search and generate leads.
What is the advantage of a website with IDX compatibility?
Basically, a website with IDX compatibility means more property listings. It increases the amount of usable content on your website. More listings increases the possibility for the visitors to find the best property for themselves. And that ultimately increases the usability and credibility of your website.
The advantages of integrating IDX listings in your website are quite clear. More listings. More deals. More happy users!!
Real estate directories with WordPress
WordPress is a promising platform for creating online directories. If you want to start with your own real estate directory, WordPress can be your best option. How? Read on to find out.
IDX integration into your real estate website
Internet Data Exchange, also called Broker Reciprocity at times can be very helpful in importing and displaying the relevant MLS data into your website. The IDX is nothing but a software that lets you display the MLS listings on your real estate website.
It will initiate a data connection between your website and the MLS database and display real estate listings. It takes a lot of time to populate your website with real estate listings, but with IDX integration, you can do it in no time.
If you want to create a real estate website with WordPress, there are many IDX compatible real estate themes available. You can choose one as per your requirements and get started in no time.
Some of the best IDX compatible real estate themes are:
HomeQuest Theme by Templatic
This is a real estate listing theme that you can use to create feature packed online property directories with WordPress. The theme comes with inbuilt features to accept real estate listing submission and management features.
Besides, there are a lot of features to help you earn through your website. Moreover, this WordPress theme is easy to use and comes with just the right amount of options to let you create fully functional real estate websites without unnecessary options and features that might confuse you.
HomeQuest is ideal for create online commercial real estate websites where visitors can browse for properties as well as the real estate agents as well as the property owners can easily create and publish their own listings. With IDX integration, you can populate your real estate website with more properties.
Houzez WordPress theme
Houzez theme is one of the most popular real estate themes that you can use to create online real estate directories. This theme comes with multiple demos and a page builder for the ease of creating new pages.
Houzez theme too, is feature packed and comes with a fully function front end listing submission and management system. It supports creating meaningful real estate listing by including virtual tour videos. Moreover, you can use this theme with IDX integration.
The Houzez WordPress theme comes with a mobile ready design and therefore the visitors can use your website for property search even when browsing through their phones.
WP Residence Theme
WP Residence is a WordPress real estate theme to create property portals with property submission features. You can easily edit it and modify the theme with the intuitive options to create great real estate websites.
This theme supports the WP Bakery page builder for easy drag and drop page building. It comes with inbuilt property submission form to let the visitors register and submit their properties. There are different options you can integrate to accept online payments. For instance, you can install PayPal, Stripe, etc. The WordPress real estate theme powered by Google Maps lets you create location based listings. There are other features to let you add floor plans, custom field management, geolocation features, etc. You can also attach pdf document with your property.
Why WordPress for your real estate directory website?
WordPress is one of the best Content Management Systems available on the market. It lets you create amazing websites without writing a line of code. WordPress has enabled a lot of non-technical people to create and manage their own websites. Here are a few reasons why WordPress is the best option to create a feature packed real estate website.
- Free and OpenSource
- Flexible, with lots of intuitive options
- User-friendly, perfect for beginners as well as pro
- Availability of themes with different niches – Directory, Classifieds, events, business websites, blogs, eCommerce, Real Estate – you name it!
- Abundant plugins(micro software modules) to add new capabilities to your website.
However, there are plenty of other options that you can use to create your Real Estate agency Websites With IDX Home Search. You can choose the one that looks perfect to you!
Also read: Checklist for a real estate website.
What is dsIDXpress plugin for WordPress?
If you go for WordPress for creating your property listing website, you can still integrate the idx listings into your site using this
dsIDXPress is a WordPress plugin to let you embed MLS listings on your blog posts or pages using the Internet Data Exchange. These real estate listings can be embedded into your WordPress for generating leads.
The plugin is extremely easy to use. You can use the shortcodes to embed the live MLS listings into your website.
The dsIDXPress plugin is available for free download from here. There’s a pro version with advanced features to create an enhanced website using the dsIDXPress plugin.