Let's face it - the digital age has brought with it great change. You can now list a house, connect with buyers, and even close on a house digitally. While some agents fear for their jobs, other agents see how a growing trend can help streamline their business and increase leads. And what is this great tool? Nothing other than the IDX website.
Prior to IDX websites, the home buying process went like this:
- Agent uploads listing to MLS
- Buyer's agent searches MLS for homes
- Agent show them homes
- Buyer narrows down homes based on wants and needs
- Many showings later, buyer finds their ideal home and makes an offer
The home buying process can be time-consuming, and you want to make things as easy as possible for your clients. Enter, the IDX.
While the MLS still plays an integral role in property transactions, it's not quite the role you'd think it is. In the digital age, the tried-and-true system seems to function more as a "syndicator of information" than anything. Today, here's how a tech-savvy customer's home search goes:
- Seller hires agent to list their home
- Agent enters the listing into the MLS, which is then published to their own website
- A buyer house hunts electronically and does a virtual tour
- Agent shows them the home, and they make an offer after only one showing
In this example, the buyer saved both time and money. Traditionally, most time was spent weeding out homes that were undesirable to find the perfect one. Today, buyers have already toured many homes to find the features they desire. Many have a home in mind before ever contacting an agent.
IDX Websites Defined
An IDX (Internet Data Exchange) is an online platform that allows Realtors to publish MLS information to their very own website. These platforms are often highly customizable, allowing agents to make landing pages that offer home valuations, home selection filters, and more.
Over the last couple years, companies have realized the power of these sites and created products that allow agents to design custom sites of their own, using the data they're already using.
Instead of limiting this data to Realtors, it's published via third parties. This way, it streamlines the buyer's home search, saving them time. It saves the agents time, as they are showing less houses. And it also allows website owners to collect leads as buyers inquire about listings on their site.
Benefits Of IDX Websites
In short, and IDX system lets you publish MLS listings to your site. But it allows provides many other benefits. For example, a client can go onto your website to see what properties are available in the market. Instead of conducting many showings, you can simply send them to the site. Ultimately, this saves you both money.
Next, you can make custom landing pages. Say you want to optimize your website for a key search term. You'd do this, and then a buyer would land on your page. This could be a custom valuation page that lets them type in their address and key details about their property, and then have you contact them with an estimate. Or it could also be a filter that prompts them to input specific features to help you find them the perfect home.
In addition, these sites help you contact prospects. If someone is searching for, say, Omaha homes for sale, they could use your platform. In order to unlock homes for sale, you could have them enter their contact information. Then, a CRM would follow up with the prospect and ask specific questions about the homes they viewed. Pretty cool, huh?
Choosing Your IDX Provider
If you search "IDX provider" your head will spin with all the products and services available. But don't worry, there are a few easy steps to follow to find the right tool for you. These are:
Determine your intentions - Before doing anything, ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish. Do you have a solid marketing plan? How much can you spend on third party services? Who are you trying to reach?
Set a budget - Typically, the more complex the product, the more expensive it'll be. These products range from simple follow up tools up to full-fledged marketing platforms. Having a budget helps weed out the outliers.
Open your Rolodex - The best way to choose a product? Simply thumb through your contacts. Satisfied users will speak a product's praise, so ask your friends or colleagues what they love. Chances are, they've already told you if they truly believe in the product.
Embrace Changing Times
As times are changing, many agents are fearful for their jobs. While it's true that certain products may reduce the need for agents, this does not mean that you should be worried about the future. Rather, embrace it. Those who embrace new technology will be handsomely rewarded by propelling their business to the front of the class. Ultimately, as we've seen in many industries, those who don't innovate are the ones who get left behind. And what's an easy way to keep up in the digital age? The IDX website.