IDX Shopping Guide

A Guide to Real Estate IDX Services

We hope this guide helps in understanding important IDX features and choosing the best IDX service for your needs. Having to switch IDX services can be disruptive, time consuming, and costly, so comparing IDX features carefully is recommended. If you’re not sure what features and options you need, please feel free to contact us and one of our product specialists will be happy to help you.

Visit our What is IDX? page for details about what IDX is, how it works, and other related information.

Why Use an IDX Vendor?

Most MLS® Systems can provide a direct feed of IDX data to broker members. However, converting a raw IDX data feed into an attractive property search and display feature on your website costs tens of thousands of dollars in custom software development fees. Some MLS® Systems also provide frame-able IDX pages that agents and brokers may insert into their sites. Typically, though, these frame-able pages feature poor design and usability, and lack lead capture. Thus, real estate professionals looking to build a professional web presence turn to IDX vendors who offer hosted IDX products that are attractive, customizable, and support integrated lead capture, among many other capabilities.

MLS® System Coverage

Some IDX vendors will advertise IDX service for a given MLS® System but they have not established vendor licensing or service with the MLS® System. This can introduce delays for a new client, so prospective clients should confirm with the IDX vendor that service is ready for use when they sign up. If IDX service is not advertised for a desired MLS® System, ask the IDX vendor what their policy is for adding new service and how long it takes.

Technical Compatibility & Free Trials

If an IDX service will be integrated into an existing website, it’s a good idea to use a trial account (if offered) to test the IDX features on the website. This can sometimes reveal issues with the website which are best known before making a purchase decision.

A trial account can also be very helpful in learning how features work and how easy a service is to use. If an IDX service will be integrated into an existing website, trial accounts will also demonstrate how well the IDX features integrate with the rest of the website.

Search Options & Listing Details

There can be big differences in search options, search performance (speed), how properties are displayed, and the listing details provided. All property search options and property details should be explored and tested, which will require access to a trial account or a website of a client using the service.

Not all search options available internally within an MLS® System are available in IDX products. There are two possible explanations for this:

  • The MLS® System does not include the required data in their IDX data feed.
  • The IDX vendor has chosen to not include the search option. In this case, ask the IDX vendor if additional search options can be added.