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By Dean Paul Dominguez, Instructor, Kaplan Professional Schools, San Francisco, CAPublished October 2014
Real estate marketing technologies are constantly evolving
and real estate agents need to evolve with those technologies. One such
technology is called IDX, or Internet Data Exchange, that lets the public view
properties online by accessing websites that pay for access to the Multiple
Listing Service (MLS).* This article describes IDX’s use in major real estate companies, discusses the
challenges created by this environment, and offers suggestions to maximize IDX
use in your own website to help you dominate your local market.
Redfin, Trulia, and Zillow are some of the familiar websites
that use IDX. These sites obtain property information directly from the MLS.
This information is fed into their websites, often in real time. Millions of
visitors come to these sites daily. These companies often sell advertising to
agents via zip codes, sell leads to agents, and have in-house agents to help
IDX makes buyers and sellers savvier than ever before by
offering price and neighborhood data. When property information is available in
multiple platforms, real estate professionals do not need to spend a long time
convincing buyers and sellers of today’s market prices—the information is
already out there. With more transparent information, consumers can make more
IDX’s impact to the consumer is largely positive. The
consumer’s increased access to property listings does not pose any significant
challenges to real estate professionals. Instead, the main challenge is this: when
larger real estate websites receive millions of views, they end up at the top
of the search engine results. Meanwhile, your agent website that possesses the
same IDX technology gets pushed further down, becoming less and less relevant
in the eyes of the search engine and consumer.
For example, if a buyer searches for 123 Main Street,
chances are they will find it on Redfin, Trulia, and Zillow first and not your
website. While Redfin has the same property information you have, Redfin’s
higher page ranking lets it be seen well before yours. The task now is to try
and capture some of this very lucrative site traffic for your own site.
You have two choices: the first is to pay to be advertised
by these larger real estate websites. They are admittedly successful companies
with millions of daily visitors and your website is likely not to compare.
Subscribing to their monthly advertising programs could help you get more
business. The second option is to improve the IDX on your own personal website
to try and improve visitor site traffic. This article explores the second
option: spicing up your IDX.
You can spice up your IDX by featuring information about the
property big real estate websites may not have. By featuring information about
the property that the MLS does not have but is not confidential, you can
provide specialized, local knowledge.
For example, you can feature properties specifically in your
local farm/local service area. Perhaps these properties just came on the market
or recently underwent price changes. You can give your opinion on property
photos (tip: keep it positive), look up and discuss walking scores as well as
proximity to schools and freeways, and even point out local nearby restaurants.
Highlighting any feature that adds something positive to the
property while not revealing anything confidential is fair game (check with
your local MLS board what is allowed). Pick a theme, keep it interesting, and
get subscribers. Doing this for a few months can be promising and establishes
In summary, IDX helps consumers become savvier and also
gives you a chance to be original and relevant in today’s real estate market.
Just remember that IDX is only one aspect of your marketing plan that should be
worked on but not solely relied upon. Successful real estate agents diversify
their marketing efforts and consistently find ways to stand out from the crowd.
With more than one million real estate licensees nationwide,
you don’t just want to be one licensee out of a million—you want to be one-in-a-million.
Dean Paul Dominguez is an instructor
at Kaplan Professional Schools. The views expressed in this article are solely
those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.
*Internet data exchange. (n.d.). Retrieved July 17, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Data_Exchange.
†Field guide to quick real estate statistics. (2014). Retrieved July 17, 2014, from http://www.realtor.org/field-guides/field-guide-to-quick-real-estate-statistics.
By Cynthia Waddell, PhD, CPA, CFE
By Jerry Taylor
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By Dr. Denise Schoenherr
By Stanley W. Self, CFE
By Rachel Byers, Full-Time Faculty, School of Business
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