Virtual Office Websites 101

August 15 2014

virtualA Virtual Office Website (VOW) is a broker website that allows the public to register in order to view every bit of data that is in the MLS (with the exception of confidential information, such as showing instructions). It is the registration requirement and the more complete information that sets a VOW apart from an IDX website.

However, like IDX, it allows brokers to share data from the MLS with consumers. VOW data fields may include days on market, original list price and changes over time, sold data, and other fields that are not allowed to be displayed through IDX, and that are not included in a data feed for syndication.

To help you learn more about Virtual Office Websites, we recommend reading the following articles. They're a good place to get started:

Choosing the Right Solution

If you're in the market for a document for a VOW, there are questions you can ask to evaluate which option is right for you, like:

  • Does my MLS allow VOW access to this vendor?
  • How challenging will it be to add VOW to my website?
  • Does this vendor support my own branding?
  • What does the VOW data look like on a mobile device?
  • Will the VOW link out to another site, or stay on my existing domain?
  • How often is the data updated by the vendor? (Goal is every 15 minutes to one hour)
  • What reports are available?
  • What tools are available to property searches (i.e. saved searches, favorites, alerts, etc.)?
  • Does the solution plug into my existing lead management solution, have its own, or both?
  • Can I customize the auto-responders?
  • Are there drip campaigns that leverage MLS data to nurture client for life relationships?
  • What happens to my client record information if I chose to switch vendors in the future? Can I export the client list along with saved searches and favorites?
  • Can I import my current client list with saved searches and favorites or do I need to hand enter them?

Find more questions to ask in our 2014 Technology Guide.2014 Technology Guide. It's a free resource for real estate pros who want to learn more about the technology products available to them.

Here is one VOW solution highlighted in the Tech Guide:

  • WolfNet IDX and VOW: Highly flexible and customizable, property search solutions from WolfNet are available in more than 430 MLS markets in the US and Canada. They also offer a mobile IDX solution as well as lifestyle, neighborhood, and school data.

For more information on the option above, download the full guidefull guide. For a full list of Virtual Office Websites, visit our Product Directory.

More in the "Tech 101" Series

This is the latest in a series of articles that explores the spectrum of technology products available to real estate professionals. Each post covers what a specific type of technology does, how to evaluate solutions in that category, and available options. Here's what we've covered so far:

Stay tuned for more!