How Knowledgeable is Your Agent? The IDX

The world of real estate has settled into the 21st Century. There no excuse for your real estate agent to be unfamiliar with how to conduct business on the internet, and especially as a seller you will be at a distinct disadvantage if they are  not.

The main focus of this post is the Internet Data Exchange, or IDX, an explanation of which is provided by my IDX vendor, Diverse Solutions.

Internet Data Exchange, most commonly referred to as IDX, is how MLS listings end up on a website.

Also known as Broker Reciprocity, IDX encompasses the policies, rules, and software that allow listings from the MLS database to be displayed publicly.

Anytime you see properties on a website that came from an MLS, it was made possible through IDX.

Most real estate agents and brokers use IDX to simply display MLS listings or home search tools on their website, but as home buyers have become more Internet-savvy, IDX has evolved to encompass more.  Agents today have the option to use basic home search tools provided by their MLS, or build more advanced IDX solutions; usually with the help of an IDX vendor.

I bring this up because I am constantly faced with agents who do not know what an IDX is. Since my website is often one of the first that shows up on a Google search for a particular property, I am the one who receives calls from irate agents accusing me of “advertising” their listings on my website. They do not understand what they are looking at, and worse, how they made it possible.

When an agent takes a listing from the Seller, they enter all the relevant details into the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). One of the boxes they need to check is ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ as to whether they just want the listing to appear on the MLS or whether they want it to have broad exposure by being syndicated to the internet. This will include sites like Zillow, Trulia, and through IDX vendors. It would make absolutely no sense to limit the listing  to just the MLS because home buyers, who are becoming increasingly more internet savvy, will not find the home online. So, why an agent is surprised that their listing is on the internet after checking the ‘Yes’ box is beyond me. Also, would you as a seller not like to see your home listed on as many sites as possible, after all it is your intention to get that home sold as quickly as possible?

One major point to clarify here is that the listings shown through IDX in no way state that they belong to the agent on whose website they appear, and by law identify each listing agent by name and brokerage. There is no contact information, but then there is not on the public-facing MLS either.

Agents who invest in an IDX service for their website are investing in their business. This is a marketing tool to find buyers. Also, they are generally internet-savvy and know how to best market their sellers’ homes. However, if an agent does not have an IDX feed then they should at the very least recognize one when they come across it.

Yesterday I received an abusive email from a top Los Angeles agent, screaming it me to remove their listing from my website and threatening to sue me, amongst other epithets thrown at me. The only way this agent could possibly lose from having the home listed on multiple websites is by not finding the buyer themselves and becoming a dual agent (representing both sides of the deal).  Is this an agent you would want representing your home?

Ask your agent how they intend to market your home.  Tell them you want as much exposure of your listing as possible. And, if for some reason you only want minimal exposure make sure your agent knows how to use the MLS properly.  It certainly will save me a lot of aggravation.

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