• May 7, 2022
  • Reading time about 6 minutes

The real estate industry is growing tremendously over the years with the adoption of new technology trends. If you are in the real estate sector, there are some terms that you must be aware of. Getting familiar with the terms like IDX, MLS, RETS, etc. is important if you want to excel in your real estate business. Real estate listings play a crucial role for agents, brokers, as well as buyers, and it is important to know how listings are compiled, shared, and viewed. Agents or brokers upload and manage listings whereas buyers browse them to get the suitable one for purchase.

Some questions that may pop up in your mind are how listings are compiled, shared & viewed? Who can view your listings? We will find them all in this blog while we learn the difference between IDX and MLS. If you are a real estate professional thinking to grow your business with Custom Real Estate Website Design and Mobile App, find out how MLS feeds and IDX can help you attain business goals.

What is MLS and Who Can Access It?

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) can be defined as the system where the real estate agents and brokers upload, manage and share local property listings. Each MLS consists of property listings from a particular location, city, or region.

The job of real estate agents and brokers is to pull data from the pool and share the relevant property listing with potential buyers/clients. Every listing includes all the details related to agents, and property such as images, videos, descriptions, locality, etc. making it easy for buyers to connect easily.

Talking about the access to MLS, every member can easily access the MLS. Some of the MLS have a public-facing portal, which means that any buyer (member or not) can access the available listings. E.g. Zillow and Realtor.com are similar ones but have one variance. MLSs contain the most accurate & updated property data as real estate agents and brokers work to keep their properties’ listing info updated and current.

History of MLS and Its Relation with IDX

If we talk about a brief history of the MLS, it was first invented in the late 19th century when local real estate brokers had the practice of gathering property data that they are planning to sell and sharing them regularly. They came up with an idea where one broker can help another sell one of his properties and they get compensation from the original broker once the purchase is done. This led to the evolution of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for real estate properties.

An MLS still enables real estate agents or brokers to share listings & help one another in selling properties. The only thing that has changed is that properties can now be accessed in digital mode through a database rather than using paper and word of mouth. These databases are now hosted on software like IDX (Internet Data Exchange).

Know More about IDX

An Internet Data Exchange, also known as IDX in short form, is software that enables buyers to search MLS properties for their desired locations. Building a whole new world for buyers, IDX is a great concept where the public buyers can search for any properties on a website and access information uploaded to an MLS with ease.

With IDX, users no longer need to rely on their property agent/broker to view listings in their area. IDX is software, not a website. It allows anyone to share the MLS property data on the third-party website. Using IDX, real estate agents and buyers alike can access the most updated local listings at any time.

Top Benefits that IDX Offers For Both Agents & Brokers

If you are a real estate agent or broker with a website, you can easily display listings from your local MLS databases using IDX. IDX can offer immense benefits like the ones listed below-

  • IDX is one of the easiest ways to populate property listings
  • Agents can display more listings on their websites using IDX
  • Gain more exposure to listings added by agents
  • Better opportunity to post more quality content
  • Build more traffic to the website
  • Enable buyers to find their dream property
  • Agents get a chance to grow more client base & boost sales

If you are among the public who is looking for a home and searching for a good property, IDX can be a great help as it enables you to search and get access to all the property listings just like your agent or broker does. On the other hand, MLS can only be viewed by members, which means only agents and brokers get access to local listings. Using IDX will not restrict the search for your dream home by giving you options chosen by your agents only.

Additionally, if you are planning to use IDX, here is a tip that you must keep in mind that will help you in uploading listings and sharing them from IDX on your website. No agent/broker can upload the listing to the IDX without the permission of the property owner.

Challenges Faced While Using IDX

IDX can prove very beneficial for both buyers and agents but there are some challenges faced by some agents. Some brokers/agents would like to be the sole source of listings for their clients as it enables them to filter out less-suitable properties and present only the best ones. Another challenge is IDX can be costlier than advertising on third-party listing websites. Most of the IDX integration process is not very user-friendly and offers limited customization capabilities. Additionally, it doesn’t allow you to create unique links for individual pages, making it less SEO-friendly.

Though IDX can help in several ways, IDX alone cannot help in boosting traffic, leads, or sales. That means, apart from IDX capabilities, you need a quality real estate website with IDX support for a better user experience. Also, don’t forget to come up with a well-planned marketing strategy that includes SEO, PPC, Social Media Marketing, etc.

Closing Statement

Hopefully, you must have got a clear idea about these real estate terms discussed above. MLS is restricted for its members’ access only i.e. agents and brokers, which are updated from time to time by them. On the other hand, IDX is software hosted on a website enabling agents to populate listings either from a local MLS or multiple MLSs.

Understanding these approaches thoroughly can help you manage property information with ease and help you attain business goals faster. BidHom, our all-in-one real estate platform can help to build a wide range of real estate agent websites with IDX integration and capture quality leads in no time.