What is an IDX Feed? An Explainer for New Agents

CEO Khai Intela
The real estate industry is constantly evolving, with new tools and technologies being introduced year after year. However, amidst all these changes, there is one essential element that remains the foundation of the industry -...

The real estate industry is constantly evolving, with new tools and technologies being introduced year after year. However, amidst all these changes, there is one essential element that remains the foundation of the industry - the Internet Data Exchange (IDX) Feed. If you're new to the real estate market, it's important to understand what IDX is and how it impacts your business.

Understanding IDX: The Basics

An IDX feed is essentially a data connection that allows the transfer of listings data between a real estate agent's website and a Multiple Listing Service (MLS). It ensures that the listings on your website are always up to date, reflecting the latest properties coming on and off the market.

When you search for properties online, the search results you see are generated through a website feature built with an IDX feed. Imagine visiting a brokerage website and finding a search bar on the homepage. When you enter your search criteria, the website uses the IDX feed to display all the listings that match your preferences.

The Importance of an IDX Feed on Your Real Estate Website

The significance of an IDX feed in the real estate industry is evident from the abundance of companies offering IDX feed services. As more activities in the real estate market move online, the demand for IDX feeds continues to grow.

Interestingly, while the real estate industry has seen significant advancements in website design and features, the IDX feed itself has remained relatively unchanged for the past two decades. This can be attributed to the stability of data transfer technologies and the guidelines provided by the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO).

Despite its seemingly archaic nature, an IDX feed allows MLS members to seamlessly integrate real estate listings into their websites. There are different types of IDX feeds available, with RETS and VOW being the most commonly used by real estate professionals in 2021.

Understanding RETS Feed

A RETS feed is a personalized raw data connection between your website and your MLS based on the Real Estate Transaction Standard. It allows you to import property listings and display them on your website using the appropriate software.

The advantage of a RETS feed is its flexibility. You can customize your property search to focus on specific property types or particular cities/communities. By pulling only the properties you need from the MLS, you have more control over the listings displayed on your website.

Furthermore, a RETS feed enables you to create SEO-friendly content. Since the listings reside on your website, search engines like Google can index them, increasing your chances of appearing on the first page of search results.

Understanding VOW Feed

A VOW feed is another type of data connection between your website and your MLS. It allows you to import and display Virtual Office Website (VOW) data, which includes not only active listings but also off-market listings.

As homebuyers become more discerning, they seek additional data and statistics to support their buying decisions. This has prompted many agents to adopt VOW feeds, which provide a comprehensive range of information. VOW feeds can include sold listings from the past five years or more, expired listings, sales history for each property, original list price, price changes, days on the market, and more.

However, it's worth noting that VOW feeds typically come with stricter rules. For instance, many MLS require leads or clients to register on an agent's website before accessing VOW listings.

IDX vs. RETS vs. VOW: Understanding the Differences

In summary, IDX and RETS are real estate data feeds that primarily provide active listings, while VOW is a data connection that includes both active listings and off-market listings. As a new agent, it's important to consider your business model and choose the feed that aligns with your goals and objectives.

Both VOW and RETS offer SEO advantages over many other IDX technologies, making them attractive options for agents looking to optimize their online presence.

Now that you have a better understanding of IDX feeds, feel free to leave any questions or comments below. And if you're interested in learning more about real estate listing data or watching our explanatory video, be sure to check out our article "Real Estate Listing Data Explained."

IDX Feed Image Source: Saigonintela.vn

Remember, IDX feeds play a crucial role in the real estate industry, enabling seamless integration of listings on your website, ensuring you stay up to date and provide a great user experience for potential clients.