WHAT IS IDX: Definition, Importance & Differences

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The phrase “Internet Data Exchange” (IDX) refers to the laws, codes, and computer programs governing how real estate listing data is shown online. The main benefit of IDX for agents and brokers is that it enables MLS participants to incorporate real estate listings from the MLS database into their own websites. But why was IDX made at all? How does it function? How does it assist you in achieving real estate success? What do integrating IDX listings onto your website cost? Below, we go through everything agents need to know about IDX, including its integration, the broker, and its feed.

What Is IDX 

IDX is a policy that allows brokers to agree to display each other’s property listings on the internet, to put it simply. By giving consumers access to full MLS data on your own website using IDX, you may compete with well-known websites like Trulia, Zillow, and Redfin by keeping potential customers on your website rather than directing them to outside listing services. Once IDX or an IDX plugin has been connected to your real estate website, you have a lot of control over how to display your listings while utilizing the MLS database’s potential to increase leads and sales.

How Does IDX Work?    

During the early years of the internet revolution in the 2000s, IDX entered the real estate market. People in the real estate sector were investigating ways for MLS members to profit from the internet craze by listing properties online at this time. Real estate agents understood that by promoting each other’s listings on the websites, they might draw in more potential clients and close more sales.

Basically, IDX software allows you to upload MLS listings to your website in order to drive traffic and leads. The way internet data exchange operates is by creating a data link between your website and the MLS. Following that, it imports listings and shows them to website users. Since these listings are updated frequently throughout the day, your audience can view the most recent options and get in touch with you to inquire about the properties’ availability.

The key distinction between IDX and web portals like Zillow and Trulia is that the latter obtain their listing data from other sources, such as brokerage syndication, therefore it is not as thorough or current as IDX listings. A real estate agent can access leads from all the listings on their website with IDX, unlike portal sites that are meant to give leads to agents that sponsor certain listings.

What Is Prohibited With IDX?

Understanding the guidelines that govern the use of IDX is essential before you utilize it. It is best to speak with your MLS to learn about their exact policies because they tend to differ from one MLS to the next. Notably, some of the widespread uses of IDX that are forbidden include:

Keeping IDX listings on your website up to date

posting a seller’s listing against the seller’s request that the house not be included in IDX

granting access to outsiders who aren’t IDX exchange members

Changing the IDX listing’s details to improve the listing’s appeal to your visitors

displaying an IDX listing on a website that has not received permission from the listing broker or MLS

How to Choose an IDX Provider?

High quality and experience are priorities when selecting an IDX service. During this process, it’s important to bear in mind a few things, such as:

  • Pricing: The Internet data exchange vendor fees are a crucial factor to take into account when selecting an IDX provider. A real estate internet data exchange service typically charges each user between $39 and $69 per month.
  • Integration of a website: A successful IDX integration requires a lot of work. As a result, you require real estate website specialists rather than programmers who build codes for a variety of websites.
  • Lead capture forms are useful to gather information from potential customers who are using your real estate website to buy or sell a home. You should be able to gather crucial contact information from an excellent lead capture form, such as their name, phone number, email address, and residential address.
  • Social media integration: The importance of social media marketing in the present digital era cannot be overstated. With the right internet data exchange software, you should be able to connect with your real estate leads through social media integration on your IDX website.
  • SEO functions: The greatest search engine optimization (SEO) techniques should be kept in mind when developing the ideal internet data exchange website. To provide you with more control over search engine exposure, the page should be structured and optimized.
  • CRM & additional marketing tools: The best internet data exchange provider ought to offer a customer relationship management (CRM) system as well as further marketing solutions. The marketing outreach efforts of your real estate company might be improved by integrating CRM tools into your internet data exchange website.

IDX Broker

A third-party servicer of MLS data is IDX Broker. We gather the unprocessed information from each MLS and arrange it in a way that real estate websites may use. When a real estate agent is prepared to sell a home, they compile all the relevant data and submit the listing information to the MLS or its regulatory body. This information is kept on file by each MLS, and IDX suppliers can access it on behalf of MLS members.

Each IDX Broker account has search, results, and auxiliary pages that may be discovered by going to Design–>Website–>Page Templates in the IDX Broker control panel. Here are they:


Since you obviously don’t want sterile, generic pages for all of your IDX queries, IDX Broker has capabilities built in to offer what we like to refer to as wrappers. Wrappers replicate the design of the rest of your website and style the IDX Broker pages using this design. Of course, your website will develop and alter over time. This can be accommodated by creating and enabling a dynamic wrapper that will keep track of changes made to your site. Alternatively, we are pleased to offer free upgrades to your static wrapper twice a year.

You can connect to these pages from your site navigation now that you have the search pages and the corresponding results pages that fit your site. This will provide a smooth workflow and make it possible for users to find the attributes they are looking for. Even better, you can direct them by generating Saved Links, which are prepared search results. These are excellent for SEO and eliminate any guesswork for a visitor who simply wants to view every home in a particular community.


These connections are excellent for directing site visitors to MLS listings, but there’s more. Your other web pages might benefit from a splash of internet data exchange material, according to IDX Broker. To that aim, you can add our widgets to any website. In order to meet the needs of your website, widgets present a sample of IDX content in several formats. A quick search or a showcase of properties can be added to your homepage or community page, respectively. Some people even add carousels or slideshow widgets to their blog entries.

What Is IDX Feed

A Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and a real estate agent’s website exchange listings data via an IDX feed, which updates the listings when new properties enter or exit the market. Every time you conduct a property search online, a website function made with an IDX feed is useful. Consider a website for a brokerage. A search box is shown as soon as you arrive on the home page. Additionally, when you input a search phrase, all results that match that term are displayed. The data link that enables the brokerage to display these listings and keep them current in a constantly shifting market is the IDX feed.

Why Do You Need IDX Feed on Your Real Estate Website?

There is a whole industry of developers and technicians who design and maintain IDX feeds since they are so crucial to the real estate market. If you search online for “IDX feed,” you’ll find dozens of businesses that provide IDX feed services. IDX feeds are in high demand as more and more real estate transactions are being done online.

Despite all the improvements made in the real estate sector, the internet data exchange feed mostly remains the same from two decades ago. Modern features, slick designs, and novel video integration techniques can be found on new real estate websites. However, the IDX feed useful by these sites is essentially the same as the one useful by a site created in 1999.

What Is a RETS Feed?

A RETS feed is a customized raw data connection based on the Real Estate Transaction Standard between your website and the MLS that enables you to import property listings. Display them on your website using the appropriate tools.

A RETS feed can be compared to an IDX stream. FTP, framing, and RESO Web API are examples of further IDX technologies. The fact that RETS offers raw data sets is what sets it apart. A RETS stream is mostly useless without software to interpret this data.

Describe a VOW Feed.

A VOW feed is a data link that enables you to import and display VOW data between your website and your MLS. A VOW feed is made to enable agents to deliver more thorough market information online and often includes off-market listings.

What Differs IDX, RETS, and VOW, and How Do They Work?

The distinction between IDX, RETS, and VOW is that while both of these services offer live listings, IDX and RETS are real estate data feeds, and VOW is a data connection that also offers some off-market listings. New agents frequently use Internet data exchange or RETS. But you might take into account VOW based on your business model. Over many internet data exchange technologies, VOW and RETS also offer SEO benefits.

IDX Integration

One of the most confusing real estate concepts is IDX integration. Agents, brokers, site developers, and marketing specialists all have difficulty with this subject. With your own website and IDX connection, you can leverage the power of the complete MLS database to create leads and expand your business in addition to showcasing your own listings. How? Find out by reading on.

How To Integrate IDX

Your website should be ready for the IDX plug-in if all other aspects have been resolved. The good news is that integration of IDX is simpler than you might expect. Just make sure it’s a standard or business website.

  • To find out the exact rules in your area, contact your local MLS. You need to be certain of the IDX usage guidelines in your region because the National Association of Realtors establishes rules for its use.
  • To lower the expense of setting up your website, try the frame method. However, as it can harm your SEO and lose you leads and revenue, this integration of IDX should only be viewed as a temporary solution.
  • Use the Real Estate Transaction Standards (RETS) feed that is standard. Ask about RETS by getting in touch with your MLS. Afterward, receive the appropriate RETS login information.
  • Look into the software interfaces already in use to navigate the RETS server. You will receive this from the vendor if you are working with them.
  • The login information from the MLS should then be entered to access the RETS service. This will give you access to the numerous postings that are accessible around you.
  • Check each import field carefully on the RETS server, then link it to its corresponding field on your website.
  • Add contacts and queries as necessary in the next stage. Keep in mind that your call-to-actions should be simple and easy to find for prospects.
  • Start the first import of listings. It frequently takes some time, usually a few hours. The server, traffic, and RETS client will all affect the precise timing.
  • When the import is finished, your listings manager will display it. Verify the listing and field mapping; for additional verification, have someone else browse it.
  • Then configure cron tasks to automatically sync your listings and execute updates.
  • You should now log out of the RETS client site and return to your website. You can specify where on the site your property search will be displayed by using shortcodes or another editing tool.

You’ll need solid technical knowledge or a team that can assist you in figuring this out because it’s more complicated than it seems. Even then, doing it effectively requires effort and money, especially if you want to personalize your listings. For this reason, a lot of realtors rely on reliable outside vendors.

Is It Necessary to Have Internet Data Exchange?

Internet data exchange listing feeds are merely good to have for the user.

What’s an IDX Website?

With the help of software hosted on a website, agents may quickly populate listings from one or more local MLSs.

What Does IDX Mean on MLS?

Internet Data Exchange is a technology that enables REALTORS® to present the most thorough and current information on property listings on their own Agent Website.

How Much Does It Cost to Add IDX to a Website?

Adding internet data exchange to a website costs $59.95 to $99.95 per month.

How Do I Integrate IDX Into My Website?

To open your site, scroll to Websites + Marketing and click Manage next to it. To access your website builder, click Edit Website or Edit Site. Add a section by going to the page and location where you wish to add the real estate listings. Select Add after finding the MLS/IDX Real Estate Listings section.


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