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Out of Area Real Estate Buyers are Gold Nuggets
Does it get tiring trying to get real estate buyers when they're talking to their family, friends, and they even have a relative in the business? You're competing with your expertise against their relationship, and most often you lose. Contrast local buyers with hundreds of relationships that connect to real estate agents or brokerages with out of area buyers moving into the area for employment or vacation properties. While vacation and resort markets are the most productive, most areas have some businesses or industry that has turnover or growth that brings new people to the area.
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Amazon Echo Show 5 Coming Soon
Amazon announced the Echo Show 5, coming on June 26. It's an affordable version of its bigger brother, Echo Show. The Alexa family proceeds to grow in helping us to manage and entertain our day digitally. The question: Is it time to revisit NAR MLS IDX policy?
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Help Me, Don't Sell Me: The Future of IDX
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Is It Time for a National IDX?
Here's an idea to think about... Today, we have robust rules in place that allow a broker to share their active, pending and, in some cases, sold listings with their fellow practitioners via a local IDX policy. What if we took that idea to another level? What if a broker could become part of a national IDX feed where listings from MLSs across the country could be displayed on a local broker's website?
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RESO Announces 'Broker Breakthrough' with New IDX Data Standards
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Why Was My IDX Real Estate Website Delisted From Google?
Search engine ranking is massively important for a real estate IDX website. It's how agents attract homebuyers to their sites, and it is one of the foundations of lead generation. But in rare instances, your IDX real estate website can be suddenly delisted from Google. If your site is removed from Google for an extended period, it can harm your reputation and your bottom line. So it is important to identify the problem and address it quickly. In this blog, we'll review some of the most common reasons why an IDX real estate website can be delisted from Google.
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How RESO Helped a Tech Firm Find the 'Cool Kids,' Launch Instant IDX Websites
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WAVes of Tech: Spreadsheets on Steroids, RESO, and MLS Policy
Last week, I was introduced to a new application while working on a project with a client. The application is Airtable and it has changed my view on using standard spreadsheet and database tools. Airtable has taken the spreadsheet and database world and simplified it so a non-technical person can create a database, have multiple spreadsheets, and change the presentation of the information with just a few clicks of a button. This web-based application works great for companies and teams of all sizes. All you need is your imagination to start building your own application. I have found Airtable's guide to be one of the best self-help guides from a Software as a Service (SaaS) company.
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Data Talk and the Consumer Experience
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How to Make the Most of Your IDX Data to Drive Traffic and Leads
Let's assume that you have chosen an IDX provider that places property search content directly on your site. How can you make the most of your investment in this technology? The main trick to making the most of your IDX is to leverage saved searches to increase your visibility and drive more traffic to your website. The scale and breadth of how much you can do with this tactic depends on what types of search data your IDX provider offers. If you are new to real estate technology, and want more information on what IDX is, take a look at our "What is IDX?" primer. Drive more traffic with IDX
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A Brokerage IT Leader's View on MLS Consolidation
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Redfin Offers Method to Modernize IDX
"Let's modernize IDX by linking to the listing broker!" IDX or Internet Data Exchange is a thesis that was developed by the collaboration between brokers and MLSs that outlines a set of display rules for listings on broker websites. The idea behind IDX is that of cooperation among brokers. Fundamentally, IDX policy states that a broker allows all other brokers participating in an MLS to display their listings on any broker (and usually agent) website. Over the years, the IDX policy has evolved. And today, Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman suggests a radical new change. Kelman would like the IDX policy to require that every display of IDX listings provide a link to the listing broker's website.
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MLSs Working Hard to Make Broker IDX Feeds Work Harder
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Three Hard Truths About Building Your Brokerage
Real estate is hyper competitive; everyone knows that. According to the 2012 Economic Census, there are 86,004 real estate brokerage firms operating in the United States. This means you have competitors around every corner vying to overtake your market and your business. However, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is focusing on your competition. Successful brokers focus on determining their own strengths and figuring out how to build a solid foundation for their agents and clients. Forward-thinking brokerages are moving in the right direction because they're aware of these key facts:
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How to Create Custom IDX Searches for More Targeted Web Leads
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Should I Pay for IDX?
Agents and brokers all want a modern website with beautiful property listings, and data—lots and lots of data about those listings. If you see a web listing for a property, then IDX made that listing possible. Basically, IDX is the technology that makes the posting of MLS listings on broker and agent websites. IDX stands for Internet Data Exchange (IDE), and is sometimes also referred to as IDD or Broker Reciprocity; it is technology, as well as rules and policies to make these web listings possible. What is IDX? IDX is an interchange tool that allows agents to display parts of the MLS database on their own websites. IDX was created by the National Association of Realtors (NAR); think of it as the governing policy that regulates how MLS members are allowed to display active listings. Within the IDX infrastructure, a basic search capability exists as a courtesy to members, but many Realtors and brokers want much more sophistication that the MLS doesn't offer. Use of a customized, advanced IDX tool allows enhanced MLS listings and better property search capabilities. How is it different from my MLS datafeed? MLS now provides a raw, unstructured IDX data feed of all MLS data, but unless you're a Realtor and a pretty savvy computer programmer, it's impossible to structure that data to make it work for you. That's where IDX providers, like WolfNet, come into the picture–to use that raw data feed as a starting point, to provide custom search capabilities, lead generation and more products and solutions tailored to your specific needs.
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The New, Tech-Savvy Real Estate Pro
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[Infographic] Mobile Use in the Real Estate Industry
Go mobile or go home – it's a cliché marketing slogan, but it couldn't be any closer to the truth. Mobile use, especially amongst millennial buyers, continues to grow at an exponential rate. Consumers want the option to browse, purchase, chat, and generally reach their favorite brands and services while on the go. For real estate professionals, it's important to understand the way your clients utilize this platform throughout the home buying process. How your website and property search performs across multiple devices is critically important to lead capture and consumer engagement. Sites that aren't optimized for mobile miss out on new leads and sales. Still not convinced of the importance of mobile? We've compiled an infographic full of insights on how consumers are using mobile within the real estate industry.
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Hyperlocal Marketing for Real Estate
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Leading Firm with an IDX-VOW Combo Website
RE Technology's annual technology guide features companies that display a particular expertise in an area of real estate technology that really makes a difference. One of those firms is Minneapolis based WolfNet Technologies. The firm has been providing property search solutions to real estate agents and brokers since the inception of IDX. Fun fact: Did you know that the first IDX standard was launched in Minnesota? From the early days of IDX, WolfNet has not only been a pioneer, but also an innovator. They were among the first companies to develop the ability for a consumer to save a search, among the first to allow a consumer to save a listing to favorites, and among the first to notify a consumer when a new listing matches their search criteria, or a favorite listing has a change in status or price. These features are basic features of the Wolfnet product today, and just about any IDX vendor. They enable the agent or broker website to operate as a buyer's tool in a much better way than the MLS client portal that you are probably using. With IDX on your website, you are able to see reports about client activity that most MLS systems fall short on – like the ability to see if the client opened the email, forwarded it to a friend, changed their search criteria, etc. Not only do you get more visibility into your clients behavior, but you are reinforcing the behavior of visiting your website! As IDX emerged, so did a new standard of data called the Virtual Office Website. Two things need to be understood to appreciate the difference between IDX and VOW. First, on a Virtual Office Website, the client must be logged in. This effort to log in establishes an agency relationship. Secondly, the Virtual Office Website will display every bit of property information in the MLS that is not confidential. For example, data like price changes over time and many other fields in your MLS may be displayed. A Virtual Office Website is like allowing your customer to browse the MLS like an agent.
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Retention Strategies for Real Estate Brokers
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3 Metrics for Identifying Quality Website Leads
All leads are not equal. Some are better than others. To successfully understand the difference of the leads generated by your company, you must have insights into consumer behavior. One key matrix is to look at the frequency of visits to your website. Consumers who visit once or twice a day are better prospects than those who visit once a week or once a month. Daily visitors are deep in the buying cycle. Saved searches allow you to dig into what the consumer is focused on. Some consumers have very broad saved searches, like all price ranges in multiple towns. That consumer is not a very high quality lead. A consumer that has narrowed their search to a particular neighborhood, school district, or a tight price range of plus or minus $50,000 is likely to be close to buying. Another indicator of lead quality is saved favorites. If a consumer begins to track properties or save them to their favorites list, you begin to understand that they are honing in on buying targets. Encourage agents to reach out to the consumer by email and ask them if they would like you to refine their search. Consumers with saved favorites can also be offered a tour of the home or homes they like. Brokers can train their agents on how to use these signals to find the best prospects out of all of their leads. This information is available on most IDX solutions, but you may need to remind agents where this information is stored in the back office solution.
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Does Your IDX Website Give Consumers What They Want?
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9 Ways You're Doing IDX Wrong
What things are you doing wrong that destroy most of the lead generation power you could get from your IDX website? Let's get right to it! Mistake #1: You Use a Framed IDX Solution The vast majority of IDX solutions provided by vendors to real estate professionals are "framed" displays. Think of it as a picture in a frame hanging on a wall. The image isn't part of the wall, just hanging there to view. A framed IDX is a picture frame on your website that presents the IDX for searching, but what you see isn't on the real estate website. It is on the provider's server. So, it's like an empty space when the search engine's robots visit. There is nothing there to index or help your SEO. IDX websites without frames are very different. Instead of that picture in a frame, it's painted on the wall. It's a part of the real estate website. All of that awesome property and area related text and those images with "alt text" are a part of the real estate site. The search engine's robots find hundreds or thousands of pages of stuff to catalog for the search engines. It's an SEO powerhouse and will lead to more visitors, which leads to more prospects and closings.
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Predicting Future Travel Times with the Google Maps APIs
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What to Expect from WolfNet's Upgraded IDX Platform
Agents and mid-sized brokers looking to compete with larger firms need look no further that WolfNet's upgraded IDX solution. Dubbed WolfNet Responsive IDX, the update marries high-end design to an IDX property search (with optional VOW data!) that would easily be at home on expensive enterprise-level websites. As any modern web solution should, the updated platform displays beautifully on screens and devices of all sizes (see the image below). But beyond the aesthetic improvements, WolfNet has designed Responsive IDX to boost your website's engagement levels and lead capture rates. Let's take a closer look to learn how. Zeroing in on the Front-End Responsive IDX plugs into your existing website and is easy to integrate into your site's design, thanks to easy wrapper creation tools available in the solution's admin panel. The solution also adapts to your website's CSS stylesheet, letting you control font and photos sizes to further refine how it displays. Let's take a look at the results page, for an example. Consumers have the option to view results either on a map, in gallery view, or in list view. In the gallery view pictured on the next page, users can hover over a property's thumbnail to scroll through more listing photos without having to click into the property details page.
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1000watt Nails Large Broker IDX Strategy
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Top 3 Ways to Make the New IDX Rules Work for Your Brokerage
Good things are happening with the IDX rules from NAR. As many of you know, IDX or Internet Data Exchange are the policies that allow brokers to provide the complete inventory or listings available in their area on broker websites. These policies have been in place for some time, but thanks to the great efforts of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World (LeadingRE), these policies have been overhauled to make IDX data work even harder for brokerages across America. LeadingRE outlined several ways that IDX data could be more effective at engaging potential buyers and sellers on broker websites. The fruits of their labor are providing exciting ways for brokers to enhance and deepen the quality of information they can offer to consumers. 1. Sold Information WAV Group conducts more research with consumers than anybody else in real estate. We talk regularly to consumers about what information they need to make an informed decision about their real estate purchase. Universally, consumers ask for more information and specifics about a property to better understand its history, strengths and key attributes. Most importantly, they want to know about sold information for active properties as well as sold information for comparable properties to a house they're looking at. The new IDX rules now allow a broker to choose whether they would like to include SOLDS on their website to provide richer information. You just need to call your MLS and request that they switch your feed from one with just actives to one with actives and solds.
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[Infographic] The Benefits of IDX for Today’s Home Buying Market
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Major Changes In Real Estate
Behold, changes are taking place in real estate. We are seeing significant efforts like Project Upstream, RPR AMP, Broker Public Portal, Fair Display Guidelines, and RESO mandates that are shaping the future of our industry. It makes you wonder what is driving this explosive cocktail of industry wide initiatives. At the heart of many of these developments are brokers. When they survey the world around them, they rue the existence of poor data management and profit taking by others. Poor Data Management I believe that it was MRIS CEO David Charron who coined the term "Overlapping Market Disorder." He was referring to situations where MLS areas overlap. It is a condition that causes brokers and agents to participate in more than one MLS and struggle to keep data clean and abide by different regulations. MLSs have long established unique data schema and rules to "differentiate" themselves from a neighboring MLS. MLS of choice caused this. And in many ways, association of choice amplified it. Today, nearly every MLS supplies brokerages with different IDX and VOW data feeds. For the broker and their vendor, maintaining these different types of feeds and rules is time consuming and painful. The Real Estate Standards Organization seeks to make it better. They are doing an excellent job, and the Data Dictionary--the effort to normalize field names and attributes--will see the day of light by the end of this year and into 2016. It will be a slow transition, but brokers will finally be able to get a data feed that is normalized across multiple markets. At least we are optimistic. The lever to cause the data dictionary to be adopted is the NAR MLS Policy Committee. Technically, MLSs not adopting the standard would be subject to penalties from NAR for non-compliance. We will see how seriously NAR and MLSs take this requirement. For its part, the MLS Policy Committee has done an excellent job of evolving the MLS model rules. For example, last year they standardized rules relating to the access and display of sold property data in the IDX model rules.
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The 2015 NAR MLS Policy Change Checklist for Brokers
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Help Us Prioritize the Best Ways for IDX Feeds to Work Harder for Brokers
I have to tell you that every time I think about the MLS Policy Meeting at this year's NAR Conference in New Orleans, it puts a big smile on my face. For the first time that I've witnessed, four important, but fundamental, changes were made to the IDX policy with absolutely UNIVERSAL acceptance. Brokers, MLS executives, associations and technology companies also spoke from one voice about the relevance and importance of the changes that were proposed and approved. Check out my blog post from a few weeks ago to see the details about what was approved at that time. In a nutshell, there were four new policies adopted: Adopting the RESO Data Dictionary and offering an API by January 2016 Allowing co-mingling of data among multiple MLSs on one broker site Requiring data be updated every 12 hours instead of every 3 days as the previous policy stated Requiring each MLS to offer brokers the ability to include solds in their IDX feed as desired; an exemption to this rule was included for non-disclosure states Now that we've proven as an industry that we CAN actually work together to get things done, we don't want to lose the momentum. There are still several more areas of opportunity for brokers, MLSs and technology companies to work together to strengthen a broker's ability to attract and engage potential customers on their websites. Just to catch you up quickly if you haven't followed the story, Pam O'Connor, CEO of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, engaged the WAV Group to help work with her organization's TAC (Technology Advisory Council) to come up with practical suggestions about how to help make IDX feeds work harder for brokers that use them. Below are the remaining areas of opportunity that were outlined. I would love your input to help us prioritize the next round of IDX policy enhancements that we should focus on. In the wise words of Henry Ford, "If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." Let me know what you think.
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Cut the Middle Man Out
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IDX Policies Proposed to Go More Broker-Friendly
I am proud to say that WAV Group has been working with the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World to create a set of recommendations for ways to improve and update IDX policy. No, there have no bloody fights or name-calling on this one. Just a collaborative process led by Pam O'Connor, CEO of LeadingRE and the MLS Emerging Issues and Trends Committee. In April, LeadingRE sent a list of recommendations facilitated by WAV Group and drafted by their Technology Advisory Council of top brokerage CIOs to NAR. These were designed to streamline and update the NAR IDX Guidelines. The recommendations were outlined to reduce the disparity in IDX guidelines from one MLS to another. The policy variations create enormous challenges for brokerages – small and large – that need to belong to more than one MLS for their service areas. As a result of this outreach to NAR, LeadingRE was asked to meet on September 19 with the MLS Emerging Issues and Trends Committee, which makes recommendations to the MLS Committee for agenda items. Following that meeting, LeadingRE was told that four of the recommendations outlined by them will be included in the MLS Committee agenda on November 8. As a concerned and involved member of our industry, WAV Group respectfully requests that you please pay particular attention to these recommendations and if possible, support them at the upcoming MLS Issues and Policy meeting to be held at the NAR conference on Saturday, November 8th starting at 8:30 am in the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel, Grand Salon C. Definition of IDX As a matter of clarification here's the definition of IDX or Internet Data Exchange Policy as described on the Diverse Solutions Website: In a nutshell, 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.
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New IDX Rule for Sign Riders
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Using Your IDX To Close Business
Why nurture leads? Marketing to acquired leads is smart! Forrester Consulting found the following consistencies in companies that nurture leads: They generate 50% more leads at a lower cost per lead They reduce the percentage of ignored leads They raise close rates on leads by 7% They increase agent take home pay – and with a shorter ramp for new agents How to nurture your leads Let's start by looking at a typical lead funnel. The top of funnel activity includes activity such as paid search campaigns (i.e. AdWords, Bing), publisher ads, reciprocal links, SEO/organic traffic, and manually entered leads acquired from events such as open houses.
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IDX Search Page - Not a Destination, But a Guidepost
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How to Identify Warm Leads Using Tools You Already Have
How can you tell "good" leads from the not-so-great? The answer may be to analyze the data available in your real estate apps and software. Brokers can use this information to detect patterns in consumer behavior and identify which leads may be more ready to buy. By targeting these "warm" leads, brokers and their agents save time that may have been wasted on those not ready to buy or sell a home. The good news is that real estate apps are increasingly giving users access to this data via built-in analytics tools. We've rounded up three common types of real estate solutions and ways you can identify warm leads in each. 1. Call Capture/Text Message Services Do your sign riders feature automated phone numbers that prospects can call or text for more information? If so, most of these services feature call capture capabilities that record a prospect's phone number at the moment of peak interest--curbside. More advanced solutions, like VoicePad, go one step further by funneling prospect information into a lead management program and giving those prospects the ability to search for other properties from their mobile device. The program can then track all properties that prospect has viewed, how many times they've viewed it, what homes have been favorited and more. Agents and brokers can use this information to target the most active prospects and craft a tailored follow-up strategy. You can see all your options for call capture and text messaging services here.
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2 Technology Game Changers Hit the Market
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Case Study: Creating the Local Search Experience
Most people searching online are looking for something local. They're searching for real estate or restaurants or parks in a very specific geographical region. A smart broker will be aware of this and will respond with appropriate online marketing strategies. But how do you create the local search experience? One of our local brokers is doing it right. Century 21 Hometown Realty ("C21 Hometown") is a leading broker in San Luis Obispo County, with a presence in Ventura County and Southern California as well. They use technology wisely – for consumers, their brokerage, and agents. They've created community pages to satisfy their customers' desire for the local search experience. Here's a peek at one of their community pages. Since this image is pretty small, you may just want to check it out here. So, what's on this community page? Copy. At least 300 words describing the area and detailing any factors that might influence the local real estate market. Graphics. People love visuals. Using a graph or chart to depict real estate trends is a great way to capture your visitors' attention. Photos of the area are also nice – just be sure they look professional. A custom search. A button that leads them to a custom search for that specific city, zip code, or neighborhood is a MUST.
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IDX: Think Outside the Box!
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IDX vs. VOW
As our readership grows exponentially (thanks for being a part of that, by the way), there are quite a few topics we've covered in years past that need to be dusted-off and revisited. These are important issues, folks! We don't want you to miss out if you were late to the party. For instance, take the issue of IDX vs. VOW. I'm going to take a few moments to preach on this since our last article on the subject was ages ago. Definitions IDX (Internet Data Exchange): Also referred to as "broker reciprocity," IDX is a system whereby brokers and agents can display other participating brokers' listings on their websites – only if they reciprocate and let those other brokers display their listings, too. Participating brokers pull a data feed from the MLS that contains all the active listings for all participating brokers. There are very specific, strict rules about the fields included in the IDX data feed. VOW (Virtual Office Website): A VOW is a broker website that allows the public to create an account and view every bit of data (except confidential data like showing instructions) in the MLS. What's the Same? Both IDX and VOW are tools used by brokers to share property information with the public. What's Different? The central difference between IDX and VOW is the registration requirement. With VOW, consumers must create an account and sign in to view data. With IDX, there's anonymity (or as much anonymity as possible on the Internet, but that's a topic for another day).
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Serving Customers with Radius Searches
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Using VOW to Generate Leads
If you're a real estate professional, no matter how successful you may be, you're always looking for ways to generate leads. Finding new tools to do so isn't always easy. Here's one thing you can try: VOW. As we'll explain, VOW offers a unique lead generation opportunity, as well as myriad benefits to your existing clients. IDX vs. VOW Internet Data Exchange (IDX) allows brokers to display other participating brokers' listings on their website; of course, they must reciprocate and allow those other brokers to display their listings. Participating brokers receive a data feed from the MLS containing the active listings for all participating brokers; they can then use this information on their own website. IDX rules are very specific, and do not permit the use of the data by anyone who is not a member of the MLS. A Virtual Office Website (VOW), on the other hand, is a broker website that allows the public to register in order to view all non-confidential MLS data. VOW is different from IDX in two ways: The registration requirement; The more complete data (such as days on market, original list price, price changes over time, and sold data).
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Top 5 Broker Website Trends for 2014
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What Buyers Want: Local School Data
Last year, 25 percent of home sales were affected by the quality of local schools, according to NAR's Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers. For families with school-aged children, poor schools are one concession that most buyers are not willing to make. In fact, only 3 percent of buyers compromised on the quality of schools last year when selecting a home! It's no surprise, then, that comprehensive information on local schools is data that buyers covet most. Your brokerage's website is the most effective channel for this information. When integrated with your site's property search function, this data lets buyers zero in on the perfect home. It also arms your agents with a decision support tool that adds value to their client relationships. This Thursday, RE Technology is teaming up with Onboard Informatics to explore the newest in school-based search for web and mobile. You'll learn how detailed data like Attendance Zones and School Profiles can help your clients and prospects find a home that matches their needs, as well as: Determine which district, high school, middle school, and elementary school children in a particular home will attend Visualize the "coverage area" of a district or school Append specific school information to listings as they're entered Let web and mobile users search for listings within a desired school attendance zone Add SEO pages to your website to capture school and district searches
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Understanding and Interpreting Bounce Rates
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This Thursday: Learn How to Serve the New Generation of Home Buyers
Don't miss the final installment of our October webinar series this Thursday! In "Is Your Website Designed to Meet the Needs of Tomorrow's First-Time Homebuyers?" we'll be learning more about IDX tools to help you and your agents serve the incoming generation of new buyers. Every generation faces their own set of homebuying challenges. For Millennials, these challenges are often financial, thanks to a sluggish job market and a massive increase in student loan debt. These factors mean that this generation of first time buyers often can't overcome the biggest obstacle to homeownership--saving enough for the down payment. Thankfully, there's a tool you can add to your IDX website that can remove this common homeownership hurdle. It's called Down Payment Resource (DPR), and it aggregates data on all active assistance programs in your area and flags eligible listings in your website's IDX search. At a glance, buyers are able to see if a home qualifies for down payment assistance. A full two-thirds of agents say that with DPR they are able to convert sidelined prospects into qualified homebuyers! To learn more about leveraging this tool on your IDX website, join us for a free webinar this Thursday. We'll be interviewing real brokers and agents who are taking a proactive approach in educating first-time homebuyers by adding valuable information and tools such as Down Payment Resource to their sites. Leading IDX vendor WolfNet will highlight ways they are helping serve their agent and broker customers to prepare for this emerging first-time homebuyer market. Join us Thursday, October 24 at 2pm EDT/11am PDT to learn more!
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Pilgrims vs. Portals
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Using IDX to Feature Local Communities
Create Custom Links That Feature Local Communities! Let's start right out with the age-old quote that "real estate is local." While the Internet has made it possible for an individual to search for real estate listings in any city around the world, real estate is still local. Sellers live in neighborhoods, and buyers buy to live in neighborhoods. Internet searching has evolved as well, and real estate searches are more localized to not just cities, but neighborhoods and subdivisions too. A very successful approach for the real estate website is to use your IDX plugin to create a localized page. Let's use the MLS that services Orange County as an example. It covers a very large area, and that just provides more opportunity for the member agents. However, people are searching the Web for homes for sale in much more targeted areas. Sure, you can use the city of Orange as your area of focus, but let's zoom in a bit more, to the Old Towne community. The blue border in the image outlines the Old Towne area of Orange, CA. It's in the heart of the city and there is always plenty of interest there, as it has been designated as an historic district. The City-Data map above shows the one square mile area, and other sites tell us that there are more than 3,000 residences in this area. What we want to do in creating a local page for our site is to feature mapping of the area, descriptions of the neighborhood, demographic data, businesses and shopping, as well as a lot of photo and video content. Think of it as creating a single destination comprehensive description of a place where people want to live and recreate. Consider this from the perspective of a buyer who has actually never been there. They're researching from afar, and the more information they can get in one place, the more highly they'll value that website.
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1 plus 1 Equals Video
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Enhancing Your IDX Search Experience With Video
Guest contributor Diverse Solutions says: We could do exhaustive studies and statistical analysis of our site's IDX search page visitors to find out how many are local versus non-local residents. However, it's more than safe to say that there are people using your IDX search page who have limited or no knowledge of how a certain neighborhood actually looks or the type of homes there. Let's take a look at how to enhance their experience so that they keep coming back to your site for their real estate searches. Why Video? According to the YouTube press page, here are their statistics about video views on the site: More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that's almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than last year 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute 70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US YouTube is localized in 56 countries and across 61 languages According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network Millions of subscriptions happen each day, and the number of people subscribing has more than doubled since last year It's safe to say that people love video, and they're viewing it on many different types of devices due to today's availability of broadband access at home or on the go. Your real estate searchers will appreciate a view of neighborhoods they're searching for properties.
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Evernote for Content – Content for IDX
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Choosing an IDX/VOW
This is the latest in a series of 'Buyer's Guides' that feature questions to ask and options to consider before making a new purchase. See our previous guides to purchasing a CMA, CRM, Document and Transaction Management, Electronic Signature, and Ad Network. What are IDX and VOW? We defined these terms in our popular article "Listing Syndication Definitions." Borrowed from that article, here is a simple definition of IDX and VOW. IDX or Internet Data Exchange is sometimes referred to as "broker reciprocity." IDX is a set of business rules that allows brokers (and agents) to display another participating brokers listings on their website; in exchange, they agree to allow other participating brokers to display their listings. Brokers who agree to the IDX rules receive a data feed from the MLS containing the active listings for all participating brokers in the MLS marketplace for use on their site. Under no circumstances can the IDX data of another broker's listings be provided to any non-MLS participant. IDX rules also include very specific listing display requirements for each participating broker; for example, usually the listing brokerage name is required to display alongside the listing. A 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.
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How Virtual Office Website data makes a difference to consumers
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Contact Sync
Over the past few years, we have seen a shift in professional technology solutions for real estate that has been mostly characterized by "the move to mobile." Generally speaking, applications that do not work on mobile devices, either using a mobile browser or using a mobile app, are being cast aside. But there are secondary realities about the shift that many software companies seem to have neglected, namely, contact record sync. Everyone who has a mobile device understands that contact records that are created on any device need to be synchronized across all devices. Having some contacts in one location and not another is paralyzing to any professional who needs to communicate with anyone, anytime. Given the rapid changes in contact records, it is too difficult to manually keep records synchronized, so it is fully automated today. In the old Palm Pilot days, contact record sync was a challenging and broken experience. Now it happens easily by leveraging the cloud. Understanding this, one would imagine that companies offering software as a service would tap into contact record sync in every application that requires or manages contact records. Looking to real estate, there are plenty.
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In Search of a Perfect Broker VOW
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Kicking Real Estate Butt with Social Media & IDX
Is Your 2013 Real Estate Marketing Plan in Place? We all know that you have that competition that you are trying to stay ahead of, and we also know that you really need to make sure that you have a solid getting/staying ahead in 2013. The real question is, how are you tackling the most successful real estate marketing mediums: real estate SEO and real estate social media? Simple enough question, but there seems to be a whole variety of answers. Let me share with you what I found to be the case at a recent conference I attended. I was invited to be on a Social Media and Technology panel, where we talked about some best practices along with tips for the attendees. I think walking out of that particular session, you probably could have asked everyone individually what the tips were, and would have come up with at least 10 different sets of tips. Why? Well, because even on the panel, there was a little agreement, and a lot of opinions. So, why am I bringing this up? Well, because here is the raw truth – you can start with a social media strategy, but what happens if you are trying to do this yourself, or if an assistant is working on it, and things just aren't working? Did the strategy not work? Did you leave something out? Have the social platforms had some changes that you should have known about? Et cetera...  
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Is the MLS In Danger?
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How MLSs and MLS Vendors are Failing Brokers
Let me begin by saying that the remarks that follow do not apply to all MLSs. There are many that do an excellent job at servicing the data needs of brokers. The focus of this article is to talk about some of the common failures seen by WAV Group consultants trying to help brokers fix complex data problems. There is a fundamental understanding of the MLS that has been lost. Although MLS systems provide excellent services through the MLS software, many are failing at providing data services to the brokers and agents to power the many applications that live outside the MLS system. This failure needs to be addressed across the industry. At the heart of the failure is the resistance to adopt the most current version of RETS. The systems that power a brokerage probably will work fine with whatever RETS standard or FTP standard you offer if that brokerage is only in one MLS. If the brokerage belongs to more than one MLS, chaos ensues. Enterprise brokerages will be defined by brokerages that participate in more than one MLS. Most enterprise brokerages have a laundry list of technology applications that rely on MLS data from a variety of technology vendors. The brokerage goal is to apply a layer of consumer, agent, and business services that rides on top of multiple MLSs. The current broker technology ecosystem was outlined perfectly by WAV Group partner Michael Audet in a paper he authored called "The Shift in Real Estate Technology." (Review the webinar on this topic and download slides here.) View a diagram of the architecure of an enterprise brokerage on the next page.
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What is a participant?
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Product Review: Listings 360°insight Advisor for Brokers
We were excited to get a sneak peek at the new Listings 360°insight Advisor from Onboard Informatics. This innovative product is still in beta, rolling out in several technologically savvy MLSs (including MRED and CTMLS) within the next few months. However, the team at Onboard Informatics offered to let us take a look. As you join us on the tour, please bear in mind that the product is still being fine-tuned and users can expect some minor tweaks in the final version. Better Data, Better Insight, Better Business DecisionsOnboard Informatics sees their role as partners to the MLS and broker community. With Listings 360°insight Advisor, the goal was to create a platform that would provide unparalleled understanding about online consumer behavior and crystal-clear visibility of listing performance. They wanted this technology to speak to the needs of each of the unique subgroups in our industry – MLSs, brokers, and agents. The solution they crafted has three key characteristics that should be mentioned: The visibility gained from Listings 360°insight Advisor is comprehensive and universal. Professionals see data from participating  “online places” where listings appear, this includes the MLS system, the MLS consumer facing site, third party websites, agent websites, broker websites, and so on. Everywhere listings appear, Onboard is  tracking and sharing standardized results through 360°insight Advisor- providing users with true, comprehensive perspective of what’s happening online Listings 360°insight Advisor is tech-agnostic. It can integrate with whatever technologies are already being used (for syndication, compliance, licensing, and more); making it part of the MLS and brokers’ overall listing distribution solution rather than another standalone destination the real estate professional needs to go to. In addition, Onboard continues to integrate with new kinds of technology – for instance, their new integration with ShowingTime will soon incorporate showing data with other listing data. The data is presented in an easy-to-understand way. Listings 360°insight Advisor relies heavily on graphical representations of data in order to make the information more palatable and less intimidating. The user interface itself is also simple and clean, making navigation and use of the platform easier. If questions arise, the numerous “help” buttons throughout the system offer guidance.
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Defense of Commissions
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Value Added is 'The New Black'
In 1986, Ferris Bueller told us, "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it." In the case of technology, that statement couldn't be more true. Technology has moved so swiftly and made such incredible advancements in the past 10 years that where you were then with your real estate business and where you are now are not only not in the same ballpark, they are on entirely different planets. With this hyper speed growth of technology, we've seen a couple of fundamental shifts in methodology. Today, I'm going to address the two biggest shifts, and how offering your clients and prospects "Value Added" services will ensure you are one step ahead of the curve, and always at the forefront. Shift #1: Technology & Free Information Means Realtors® No Longer Hold All The Cards. Enter "Value Added." Not all that long ago, REALTORS® held all the cards. If a homeowner was interested in a home for sale and wanted information about it, they either had to call their REALTOR®, call the agent that listed the home, or call their local Real Estate office and talk to the floor agent to learn about the property. In doing this, would be buyers would have to give up information to the REALTORS® to get this information (e.g. their name, phone number and email address for example). Today, the tide has shifted. Information is widely available online, in many cases completely free and able to be accessed anonymously, without hassle or obligation. This means that a prospective buyer or seller does not necessarily need to contact a REALTOR®, or even go to their website for that matter. Companies like Zillow, Trulia and REALTOR.com, as well as websites from mega-brokerages like Coldwell Banker and Century 21 have massive websites, giving away all the content a would-be buyer or seller could possibly want.
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IDX makes sense for brokers, even those who won't syndicate
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5 Strategic Areas To Publish IDX Listings On Your Website
Guest contributor Ricardo Bueno of Diverse Solutions says: One of the primary reasons consumers are coming to your website is to search for homes. The easier you make it to do just that, the better. You want to publish IDX listings on your website to make it easy for consumers to find homes for sale, but also, to make it easier for Google to crawl and index your listings. So here’s 5 strategic areas to publish IDX listings on your domain… #1 First and foremost, make it easy to search for property listings.  IDX search tools like our WordPress IDX plugin for example, do a great job of taking MLS listings, and automatically generating pages to display those listings on your domain. With our WordPress plugin, it’s taking every single listing as it hits the MLS and creating a page on your domain for that specific listing. It also generates pages for results by four different area types: cities, communities, tracks and zip codes.
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4 Content Ideas for An Effective Real Estate Email Autoresponder
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Why Your Listing Is On My Website
Jay Thompson has been on a roll lately - providing excellent content for agents and brokers! Today he talks about the basics of IDX - and, although he frames the discussion around his local MLS, the concepts will apply to whatever geographic region you find yourself in. Take it away, Jay! I get emails like this all the time… Hello Phoenix Real Estate Guy. Can you tell me why you have my listing on your web site? The short answer is because YOU authorized it when you entered the listing. Apparently though, there are a number of real estate agents and even Designated Brokers that do not understand IDX (Internet Data eXchange). How it is possible in this day and age for agents to not understand the fundamentals of IDX is mind-boggling. That Designated Brokers don’t understand it is… well, it’s incomprehensible. Yet many don’t seem to get it. Given that, here is the long answer…
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10 Ways To Drive More Traffic To Your IDX Listings
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An Interview With Justin LaJoie on the Zillow Acquisition of Diverse Solutions
Originally posted on Phoenix Real Estate Guy. If you are reading this anywhere but inside your RSS feed reader, the site you are on is guilty of stealing content. Last week’s announcement that Zillow had acquired real estate search provider Diverse Solutions caused a bit of a stir across the real estate vertical. Much speculation ensued, along with the requisite Zillow bashing that seems to take place any time Zillow makes another splash in the industry. I’ve known the Diverse Solutions founder and CEO Justin LaJoie for a few years. He’s a good guy, crazy smart, with terrific products (we use the DS products dsSearchAgent and dsIDxpress products on this site). I also know Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff, also a good guy. Also crazy smart. I asked Justin if he would mind answering a few questions “on the record”, and he graciously agreed. My thoughts on the acquisition are below Justin’s comments, for what that is worth… What does the acquisition mean for existing customers of dsSearchAgent, dsSearchAgent Mobile and dsIDXpress? Will these products continue to be offered, supported and developed? The acquisition means that Diverse Solutions will continue to provide the same dedication to innovation and great support customers have come to expect, but with accelerated growth and advancements for our product offerings. We do not expect any interruption to the service our customers receive from us today. However, with the added resources from Zillow, we will be able to more quickly develop new enhancements.
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Product Review: iHomefinder iSearch Optima IDX
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IDX and Long-Tail Keywords
We found this great post on the WolfNet® blog. Be forewarned, this is a complex topic. If you have any questions about the information covered here, please contact us for more information. If you leave a comment below, we'll get in touch. In simplest terms, long-tail Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves targeting keyword search terms that are more obscure and less frequently searched. For example, a generic search term might be “Real Estate,” whereas a long-tail search term might be “green homes for sale in Cornelius NC.”
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Product Review: Immobel’s Multi-Language Website IDX and REAL-Buzz
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Google Changes Their Policy for Using Free Map API
Real Estate Technology: Google Maps Changes Terms of Use Many broker and agent technology solutions use the free Google Maps API to display listing content on a Google Map. In an announcement made on the Google Developers' blog, they announced changes to their policy for using the free map API. First of all, API stands for Application Programming Interface. It allows software developers to put Google Maps into their product for free. In the beginning, there were no advertisements on the maps. Now, all of that is changing, and it has an impact on real estate technology products that integrate Google Maps with IDX.
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Useful Listing Syndication Terms Learned at Mid-Year
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How to Use IDX Data on Social Media Networks
As a general rule, your brokerage should not spend much time promoting individual listings on social media unless the listing has a story. Some of the most significant traffic drivers to many websites are famous homes. Three Bedrooms, two baths within walking distance to the park is not socially interesting. Photos of celebrity homes are. Luxury property works, but focus on unique features or superior architecture.
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Are Your Listing Descriptions Designed to Capture?
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New Rule: IDX Listing Content May Be Distributed by RSS to Any Third Party
I just received a copy of the Report of Recommendations of the IDX Use Work Group of the Multiple Listing Issuse and Policies Committee. I have had a blur of calls from The Realty Alliance, Leading RE, MLSs and Franchises alike today. There are many significant concerns. At the heart of the recommendations is the new rule that IDX listing content may be distributed by RSS or other electronic means (any way you want) to any third party without any restrictions whatsoever. Brokers and Agents still have restraints on the use and display of the data on their own websites that third parties do not. Furthermore, the MLS is required to enforce policies on the use of IDX data like prohibiting the display of expired, sold, or under contract listings.
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Why Should I Use IDX?
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The Real Goal of RPR and CoreLogic
I just returned from speaking at the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World conference in Las Vegas. Leading RE is an amazing group of independent brokerages from across the nation and the world. The Leading RE network represents the largest non-franchise organizations from every marketcenter - I think they have about 600 broker members. Admittedly, my talk to the brokers likely represented the most boring session at the conference - Data Licensing, Listing Syndication, and an explaination of new IDX policies from the NAR MLS Policy committee. Notwithstanding, a few hundred broker owners joined the meeting indicating that they appreciate the importantance of paying attention to their data use policies.  
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Have You Thought About a VOW/IDX Combination Website?
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Considered Indexing IDX Listings?
WAV Group published a report on the impact of indexing listings. The report is available here, and explains indexing and the possible ramifications. Century21.com is the first REALOGY franchise to launch this program, according to a press release issued today. WAV Group WIN Reports will allow us to use Hitwise website monitoring services to measure the impact of the deployment of this strategy. To all extents and purposes, Century21.com will join the ranks of Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com, Homes.com, homefinder.com and a host of others who index listings to gain valuable search engine links to their website.
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The Value of Indexing for Real Estate Industry Websites
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iHomeFinder IDX
iHomefinder is a well established IDX search solution available to agents in many of the largest markets in the United States.  It is likely that they already have data in your market, so check with your MLS. Their product offers all of the key features of property search that are important to REALTORS and their clients.  Their base product offers search by city, zipcode, price and other standard form based criteria.  Lead generation on their solution follows established paradigms in IDX services including save a listing to favorites, save a search, and registration for automatic listing alerts. They offer a full service back office solution for agents to access their registered users, gain insight into their search behavior, property interests, and contact information.
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dsSearchAgent IDX
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MLSFinder.com
MLSFinder is among the most commonly used IDX systems for real estate agents in America hosting more than 50,000 agent and broker solutions. All MLSFinder solutions include lead capture, allowing agents to turn Web visitors into potential customers. MLSFinder may be installed into your agent website with relative ease through smart framing. Standard services include two links, one for IDX Search and another to automatically pull your listings by a separate link. If you do not have any listings, the agent listing link will pull all of our office listings. Lead generation with MLSFinder includes Save a Search, Save a Listing to Favorites, and Register for Automatic Listing Notification. Other standard features include the ability to map a listing, send a listing to a friend, estimate mortgage payments. Inquire about listing, request a showing and print a listing.
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Birdview IDX
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Top Producer IDX
Top Producer IDX is a full-featured property search solution that allows agent to offer consumers access to the listings available from their MLS. Important features like Listing Notification, Save Listing to Favorites, and Save Search are all bundled with the service. Top Producer is a subsidiary of MOVE, INC and offers IDX in more than 235 markets. If they do not already have listings from your market, they will go get them for you. Top Producer IDX automatically updates your website with the latest property information from your MLS, and offers visitors a password-protected section to save their favorite listings and searches. Top Producer' IDX’s prospecting tools, including PROPERTY ALERT LEAD and CAPTURE FORMS encourage visitors to enter their contact information and home criteria to receive automated updates and Listings Lead Capture Forms that encourage visitors to request property information and schedule appointments. The system’s lead tracking tools are designed to help the site owner to prioritize and strategically respond to their prospects.
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