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RealtyTech123 Agent Website and IDX

July 08 2010

IntroductionIDX agent website

RealtyTech is a full-service website and IDX hosting platform provider for both agents and brokers. Located in Westlake Village, California, they have been providing real estate websites for over 10 years. They have both agent and broker product offerings, with tiered levels of options ranging from templated agent sites to fully customized agent and brokers websites. Their IDX offering IDX123 offers standard listing access, widget creation, and custom link creation.

Standard product offerings include the following:

  • Agent123 Websites
  • Broker123 Websites
  • IDX123 Property Search
  • Internet Marketing
  • Custom Site Design
  • Additional Products and Services

Product Overviews:

The Agent123 Website product is a templated website that provides all the main features found in a templated website package. This gives the user the ability to manage, edit, and control the main content, information, and features of the site.

Features include the following:

  • Standard layout and design
  • Inexpensive header banner upgrades
  • Standard homepage features – Featured homes, Market Info
  • Administration with WYSIWYG editors
  • Standard set of pages with pre-filled content (buying a home, selling a home, etc.)
  • Ability to create new pages (up to 50)
  • SEO features – name page, meta tags, description
  • Form creator – admin
  • Contact manager – admin
  • Additional features

Setup includes working with RealtyTech staff for initial data collection, site setup, connection to MLS (IDX123), picking out the desired template and selecting color scheme. If the agent has opted to include a custom header (recommended), they will work with a staff designer to create the header. This process also includes the domain selection or transfer and hosting setup. For the basic site with the add-on header, an agent can expect to get their site in 3-4 weeks. This also includes a training session with some basic setup.


The result is a pretty basic site with very little content on the homepage. It is up to the agent to create the homepage content, add features, and make the site compelling. The WYSIWYG editor is pretty useful; however, it is limited to basic html and formatting functionality. In order to create a compelling and attractive homepage, it will require knowledge of HTML, graphic ability, and an eye for site design.

The IDX123 Platform provides standard IDX listing features and is fairly intuitive to use.

Features include the following:

  • MLS selection (multiple allowed)
  • Picture and profile
  • Open Houses
  • Featured Properties
  • Listing presentation
  • Link Creator
  • Search Widget creator
  • Reporting
  • User Management

The end user experience is also standard with basic listing information linked to the detailed property view. Users can save a listing, add to favorites, and set up a VIP profile to receive listings via email. The IDX provides an area map, and a linked list of all of the areas covered. The search and advanced search lets users get detailed results based on their search.


Evaluation:

As a technologist that has built similar content management solutions, this product does a good job at presenting an easy and intuitive user experience both as an end user and as an administrator. The inline editing functionality never makes the user feel like they are lost. The areas that can be edited provide clear controls and inline help wherever needed. The application feels refined and mature. There are few areas which really are lacking. These include non-connected IDX and site logins that do not do a good job at remembering you. When building the site and switching between IDX and the site admin, it was pretty frustrating to make widgets and custom links. It would be really nice to have more control over the right-hand navigation and footer content.

Highlights: The RealtyTech Agent123 product is a quality, mature product, which provides all of the standard features and content for a templated agent site. The user interface for editing is inline with the page layout so users can know where they are at all times. The WYSISYG editor is feature rich and is easy to use.

Additional highlights include the following:

  • Simple Administration
  • User Management
  • Many templates to choose from
  • Inexpensive upgrades
  • Good product support
  • Access to additional services
  • Price for entry-level template site

Areas to Improve: Although the Agent123 product provides everything an agent needs from a website, getting all of the features out in the open is more difficult. In order to take full advantage of the site, basic to advanced HTML knowledge is needed. Also as page layout and marketing have become more sophisticated, so has page layout. The average real estate agent does not have the skills needed to create a compelling homepage or marketing pages. So without help from a pro, the site may not look professional or finished even though all of the features are there.

Additional limitations include the following:

  • Lack of integration of IDX tools within the site editor
  • Not able to add widgets to sidebar
  • Footer is not editable
  • Restricted to how much site design and HTML user knows
  • Not connected with main broker site – which is also a RealtyTech site

Conclusion:

Unlike some products that I will be reviewing, I have just had recent experience with it. Implementing www.teamtrejo.comwww.teamtrejo.com, a RealtyTech templated site with a custom banner addition, I was able to get a good feel for the product.

Overall, the Agent123 and IDX123 product does a better than adequate job at providing a real estate specific platform for agents and brokers. As an inexpensive solution, the agent site has everything an agent needs.


However, the devil is in the details. Agents should have a compelling and attractive website as their doorway into their online community. Unless the agent is technically proficient, creative, has the right tools, or has access to someone who is, then a templated site will be very limiting and may not allow them to put their best foot forward.

RealtyTech does provide custom website development whichs takes advantage of all of their standard tools. They will work with you to create a custom look and feel, from the homepage to a customized IDX presentation.

Tech Tips:

If you plan on taking on the design yourself, here are a few tips that may help:

  1. Work with fonts – not too large or small. Use color other than black. Dark grey or blue are favorites.
  2. Use tables to lay out content – table editor is not great but you can play around with it a bit.
  3. Add other graphics – icons, pictures, etc.
  4. Use lists – Bullets are always good.
  5. Bring features to main content area – create links for featured listings, search, sold listings, buyer and seller info, etc.
  6. Watch the content – too much is bad, not enough is also bad.

To learn more about RealtyTech, Inc., click here.