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 IDX Broker or IDX pro?

Created by:
Diana Cotayo, Licensed Real Estate Agent

Date: January 7, 2009, Number of Replies: 24


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In your opinion which one is the best? and why?

Diana Cotayo

Tampa

813-598-6160

 

 

THANKS.

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Win Singleton Vendor,  Falls Church,  VA

Date: January 7, 2009

Hi Diana,

You asked -

"In your opinion which one is the best? and why?"

IDXBroker offers a wonderful IDX solution for well over 200 MLS's around the country! I have about 20 of my web clients in various parts of the country using their solution for their Property Search section right now on their custom web sites - from California to Montana to Texas to Florida to New Hampshire. There are several reasons I recommend them (and no, I don't get one penny for recommending them to my real estate web clients).

1. Their IDX solution is all done in CSS - Cascading Style Sheets - the same way today's web sites are being designed and how I do all of mine. So no need for an iFrame (with scroll bars in the middle of your current web site's page). It is so easy for me working with their team to install an IDX section for one of my new clients that together, we usually can get the basic install done in about 5 to 10 minutes into one of my custom site designs. (We've been known to do it while chatting on the phone about sports or even the weather.)

2. No long term contract. Every client of theirs is stricly on a month-to-month basis. As Jeff Kast, their President told me, "If a client no longer wants to work with us, then we no longer want to work with him." There should be no reason to keep someone if they have made a decision to do something else.

3. Wonderful, easy to use Subscriber Management back-end area where you can: A. manage the separate sections of the IDX (If you don't have someone like me as your web designer doing this for you), B. manage your leads that come from either inquiries about specific properties found in the MLS search or those visitors who have signed up to receive regular emails of "just listed" properties, C. for those in teams or offices, you can even manage your team or office roster right inside this area too for display on your web site.

4. They offer your visitor mutliple ways to search - Quick Search that can be installed right on your Home page, Advanced searching, Map searching (if you prefer that approach instead), the ability to search by MLS number or even street address.

5. As the subscriber, you can control which towns or clties you want to display to your visitors. Some MLS's cover vast territory, yet, you as the real estate agent may not choose to go to the far corners of your MLS area. So even though their IDX solution can display all active properties from your MLS, you get to select which towns or cities that you actually want to work in to offer just those to your visitor. And should you change your mind later, you can always change those towns or cities in your Subscriber Management area to add more or take some away.

6. Lastly, great folks to work with! I have always had a very pleasant, helpful experience each time when working with the people at IDXBroker. Always ready to answer my questions, work to solve any problems or glitches, and quick to respond. That's what I call "service"!

If you would like to see how their IDX solution is working in some of my clients' custom web sites, I would be happy to supply you with a list of client sites for you to visit - and you certainly would be free to call my clients to ask their opinion too.

Hope that helps...

Win

************************
Win Singleton, CRB, e-PRO
Summit Web Design
(703) 536-7631
wins@summitweb.com
http://Summitweb.InternetCrusade.com
an Internet Crusade Approved Vendor
"Custom web site design that gets results!"
************************

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Kathleen Allardyce Vendor,  Greater Atlanta,  GA

Date: January 8, 2009

I think both are good searches. IDXBroker does make it more difficult to use if you have a site where you want to frame-in the search, like a Point2 Agent website.

You really can't frame the search and use all of the features as they are intended. A "wrap" has to be developed to look like your website, but it's actually displaying the search on the idxbroker site. So, all discussions about whether you should frame in a search, etc aside, IDXBroker is more difficult to use because anytime you change something on your site such as the header, footer or menu, you have to get a new wrap.

My favorite third-party solutions are Diverse Solutions, WolfNet and MyAgentHost.com (a iHomefinder reseller).

Kathleen
www.BuildRealEstateResults.com

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Keith Byrd,  San Luis Obispo,  CA

Date: January 8, 2009

I implement 2 java menus in my header that are on my website and IDX Broker. If I change the menu, they change on both without having to do anything more than saving the menu file. Even if I do change a graphic or the text in my header, it takes me less than a minute to copy and paste that code to the global html header window of IDX Broker.

If you're looking for a GREAT IDX search solution for your site, no other IDX solution comes close to IDX Broker and I've evaluated most of them out there. I use Real Bird as my Map Search front-end as I haven't found any other map solution that I can customize like Real Bird's.

I've only had IDX Broker for 2 months and still learning new stuff I can do with their system. Here are some of the things I've implemented so far if you're interested in seeing it in action:

http://www.SloCountyHomes.com

- Look at the Oceanfront property display in the left column (an IDX Broker widget)

- The Central Coast MLS search menu above points to one-click IDX Broker searches I defined (REO, Short Sale, New Listings, Specialty Properties, Price Range)

http://www.locallinks.com/showcase1.html

- By customizing the CSS on their Showcase widget, I created the above search results page. This isn't an iframe, it's an IDX Broker showcase script that I can customize.

If you click any of the thumbnails, you'll see the property details screen. They have 6 layouts to choose from and then you can customize further with CSS. You can also include WalkScore at the bottom if you want which Trulia, and others announced today that they are adding to their sites.

Keith Byrd

San Luis Obispo, CA

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Win Singleton Vendor,  Falls Church,  VA

Date: January 9, 2009

Hi Kathleen,

Here I have to disagree. You wrote -

"You really can't frame the search and use all of the features as they are intended. A "wrap" has to be developed to look like your website, but it's actually displaying the search on the idxbroker site. So, all discussions about whether you should frame in a search, etc aside, IDXBroker is more difficult to use because anytime you change something on your site such as the header, footer or menu, you have to get a new wrap.

My favorite third-party solutions are Diverse Solutions, WolfNet and MyAgentHost.com (a iHomefinder reseller)."

---------------------

Why would a good web site want to frame anything? And what features would be missing? I'm not understanding why using a "wrap" would be a problem. (Their staff develops it for you so that you don't have to do a thing.) In building a web site using CSS, you are basically using a "wrap" already. A "wrap" or div to display the header information and a "wrap" or div to display the footer or menu too. (Actually, that is how you would do it with any dynamic content that would be displayed in the body where the main content is showing on a web page - whether it is coming from their databases or even an internal database on your own host server - usually by the use of an "include".) So there is no real difference here.

Being very familiar now with how IDXBroker does it set-up, all graphics are being "called" from the domain file folder where the main web site is being hosted. Those graphics are not residing on the IDXBroker web server. So if those change on your server, but the name of the graphic file remains the same, there would be no need for making any changes in the "wrap" code over at IDXBroker at all. And should you add a new menu item on the web site, but want it also reflected on all of the pages being displayed from their server for the Property section, it wouldn't take 5 minutes to put in that menu "addition" in the "wrap" code inside the subscriber administration section. Ah, the price for making changes. ;-)

"... but it's actually displaying the search on the idxbroker site." That is not a problem either. If the visitor isn't paying attention to the web page URL address at the top of the browser window, they would never know they had been sent off to another web server... since the look of the Property section can be identical to the look of the main web site. And these pages hosted by them can be indexed by the search engines too.

Lastly, the IDX solutions you mention almost all use an iFrame as a way to display things. Yet, there is really no way to control the length of the iFrame consistently that won't produce either an interior scroll bar on the web pages displaying their information OR huge "white space" before getting to the footer graphics with inches of just blank space. For example Diverse Solutions recommends setting the height of the iFrame at 2,000 pixels, yet most of their information is never 2,000 pixels long. So this just makes the agent's site ugly and unprofessional looking. By using the "wrap" technique and CSS, that problem just doesn't exist!

While framing is one solution, it doesn't offer the same professional look that consumers have come to expect in a well designed web site.

Win

************************
Win Singleton, CRB, e-PRO
Summit Web Design
(703) 536-7631
wins@summitweb.com
http://Summitweb.InternetCrusade.com
an Internet Crusade Approved Vendor
"Custom web site design that gets results!"
************************

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Lisa Ihouse Vendor,  CA

Date: January 9, 2009

Hi Diana,

IDXPro is a great IDX service, and it starts at only $34.98 a month. Some of IDXPro's features include:

1. LeadTracker allows you to see who is searching for what, when they visited your IDX search page, how long they spent there, and which listings they've spent time perusing.

2. Multiple Search Options - Choose from a Quick Search, Advanced Search, or an Interactive Google Map Search

3. Teaser registration prompts visitors to register after they've seen a few listings. This style of registration can get you 14x more leads.

4. IDXPro Mobile allows you to easily search the MLS from your iPhone or Blackberry.

5. Automatic HouseTrack emails send visitors updates when new listings matching their search criteria come onto the market.

6. iHOUSE / IDXPro is a RealTown Approved Supplier.

There are so many more features that make IDXPro effective and easy to use. I recommend that you take a Free, No Obligation Test Drive of IDXPro to see how you like it!

====================
Lisa Fasana
Marketing Associate
iHOUSE Web Solutions
(866) 645-7702

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Kathleen Allardyce Vendor,  Greater Atlanta,  GA

Date: January 9, 2009

Win,

I think you missed the part of my post that said "So, all discussions about whether you should frame in a search, etc aside. . ."

I know that custom designers are strongly opposed to framing anything. But, we all know that there are lots of real estate sites from Point2 Agent and other vendors who use framed searches and it works just fine.

None of my client sites have an internal page scroll bar. And, I've never heard of someone who wanted to scroll, so I don't think there are that many people scrolling down to the end of the page to see how much white space there is. I don't think a framed search reduces the professional look of a site at all.

And, keep in mind that I didn't say that IDXBroker is a bad search. It has lots of capability for someone who is building their own site. But, having the wrapper does require an extra step for people using sites like Point2 Agent. Especially during the initial customization of a site, the wrapped search and the main site never look the same until everything is in place. On a new site, that's no issue. On a site that is already live, it is.

In addition, many of the cool features of the search require HTML expertise when using the wrap. For example, if you wanted to add a few lines of copy above the search, you'd have to edit the wrap HTML to do it, and I'm not even sure that can be done on a page by page basis.

The only thing I'm pointing out, not knowing what kind of a website the person who asked the question has, is this: IF you don't have a custom site, you'll need to use a wrapped search from IDXBroker.

If you frame the IDXBroker search into a web page, the only time you will see the search with the wrap in place is when it's called from the main site. Otherwise, just the page from the IDXBroker site appears - there is no header, footer or navigation to get the visitor back to your website.

For example, if a visitor registers on the search for email updates, when they get the email and click on one of the new listings, they won't go to your site, they'll go to the listing page on the IDXBroker site.

For that reason, I wouldn't recommend that anyone frame-in an IDXBroker site. And, if they're going to use a wrap, they should be aware of the issues involved.

Kathleen
www.BuildRealEstateResults.com

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Keith Byrd,  San Luis Obispo,  CA

Date: January 9, 2009

I sure wish that if vendors are going to post, they would participate with something more than a marketing blurb from their website. The question I would have for IHouse is what makes IDX Pro better than IDX Broker? Since I have used both products, I don't see anything that IDX Pro does that's better than IDX Broker as far as product features and IDX Pro's support is less than satisfactory.

You need to decide how serious you are about lead generation through your website, then pick the best lead generators. An IDX search is CRITICAL to any lead generation strategy. You want an IDX Search that's going to grab prospects and want them to keep coming back to your site until they are ready to buy/sell plus have a vendor that you know is there to support your efforts.

Almost every IDX product has the features that were listed by the IHouse rep.

1) IDX Pro provides info about what someone that has registered has searched on. IDX Broker also has this statistics plus LOTs more. I can see up to the second on who is searching and what they are searching on. I can also see what page they came from too which tells me if they are coming from one of my listing reports, the map search, or from one of the form searches. They have other statistics too which summarize things like how many used the particular search forms (basic, advanced, address, listing). If you want to see how people are using your IDX search, IDX Broker gives lots more info than IDX Pro. They also have a chart that displays the last 30 days of page views. This is an interesting chart as I'm able to see what the trends are of the search activity. The current chart is telling me that there is a dip in search activity on Xmas and New Years Day but that January's daily searches are about 30% higher than they were in the beginning of December.

2) IDX Pro really doesn't have what I call an Advanced Search form. They have a basic search form and what they call an Advanced Search adds a couple more search fields that aren't what I would think people would want to search on. IDX Broker allows you to define what you want in your Advanced Search. You go in and move what search fields you want into the search form and even move where they appear on the form. With this, I was able to add REO and Short Sale searches to my site that IDX Pro wouidn't allow me to do. The other benefit of IDX Broker's advanced search is that the prospect can create an email notification from this search so if they wanted to see new REO listings (or any other search criteria based on what I choose to give them) they can do it. I label the IDX Broker advanced search as a "Power" search since it does so much more than any "advanced" search I've seen from any IDX vendor, unless you paid to have a custom IDX.

3) I don't force registration so a teaser isn't important to me. I did turn this IDX Pro feature on when they first added it to try it out and got a nasty email from a prospect saying they were being asked to sign-in everytime they searched for something and were goint to find another web site. I didn't know (and still don't) if there was a cookie or something that IDX Pro uses to allow people that have logged in to search or if the prospect was doing something weird. Since it was a battle to get support from IDX Pro, I just turned off the feature. I don't know where they get the 14x more leads claim but my guess it's as accurate as me saying you are going to lose 14x the number of leads if you turn it on. Plus, I don't want low-quality registration leads. I'll take the ones where people are asking about particular homes. But if you're in my area, forget what I just said and please please please turn on registration on your site!

4) Leads I get from IDX Broker come to my Blackberry and have a hyperlink of the property they are inquiring out which then displays the IDX detail page just fine.

5) I already talked about the new listing emails above. You need a good search form to start with that has search criteria prospects are interested in.

 

6."iHOUSE / IDXPro is a RealTown Approved Supplier." I was an IDX Pro customer for years and at the beginning they were good. I wanted space rent to be added to the property detail page and they did it. But over the last year, their support has really went downhill and my latest attempt to contact them about cancelling the service shows me they haven't improved.

One other drawback about IDX Pro is that they update my IDX data at 11:30 PM every night. The IDX data file is created by my MLS vendor at 4 AM. So, the listing data is already 19+ hours old when they update it. They used to do it at 1 AM but when I asked to have it done earlier since the "data current as" date they displayed was misleading, they moved it before midnight. So my site visitors were actually getting 2 day old listing data and the "email new listings" were really new listings from 2 days ago. IHouse support said that they have all these MLSs they need to download and it takes time and that my download time "won't be changed".

IDX Broker, on the other hand, downloads and updates the IDX data file around 7 AM, then the data file is just a few hours old. So my visitors searching throughout that day get new listing data from the previous day. IDX Broker has over 200+ MLSs they support and they are able to download and update all of them. I don't know why IHouse isn't able to do this, nor do they seem to understand how important it is for us agents to have updated listing data on our IDX searches. I would love to have listing data updated throughout the day but will live with the 7 AM download.

I'd recommend anyone with IDX Pro to switch to IDX Broker if you want a better IDX search for your site.

Keith Byrd

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Drew Hartanov Licensed Real Estate Agent,  San Clemente,  CA

Date: January 9, 2009

Too bad most agents don't understand much of what any of you are explaining! Most look at how nice they think an IDX looks and how much (how inexpensive) it costs. I would bet very few even know the difference between and iFramed IDX vs. a non-framed IDX.

Keith, your web/internet/SEO knowledge is so far ahead of most agents, you lost them in the first paragraph. However, it's all great information being shared...

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Keith Byrd,  San Luis Obispo,  CA

Date: January 9, 2009

I fully understand that Drew. I just share my opininons and experiences. Hopefully there's something in there that's useful for those wanting to take their Internet strategy to the next level.

Keith

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Sean Goerss Licensed Real Estate Agent

Date: January 9, 2009

"Framing" vs. "wrapping" and other technical considerations aside, I think most agents who have been in this business for more than a month are looking at an IDX and asking - "OK, but which IDX is going to get me the most LEADS?"

One feature I see that is useful is the "search for a few then require registration". I have heard GREAT things about this capability from top agents across the country. I know Wolfnet has something like that, too.

I think the thing to keep in mind is that there isn't "one" that's better than another - it really depends on the agents situation and goals - do the want the most upfront leads, or are they trying for the best current-customer experience, and what type of websites/etc. do they already have and which ones are compatable?

This is the type of murky waters that most agents try to plod through - IDX companies need to bottom link it for them, so an agent can decide if it is right for THEM.

Sean Goerss
Reatlor, St. Paul, MN
www.RealEstateTechnologyExperts.com

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Keith Byrd,  San Luis Obispo,  CA

Date: January 9, 2009

We all have the same goal of generating leads that turn into a transaction.

I disagree that one IDX can't be better than another as the majority of features that an IDX vendor offers are common. If there is a feature that is offered from one vendor that isn't by another, you may choose that solution even if the other features offered aren't as good. Off hand I'm unable to think of feature to use as an example.

This isn't to say that one IDX solution has it all. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I use another vendor's MLS Map Search as I think it's better than IDX Broker, Wolfnet, REW, or any other I've seen offered. If another IDX map search solution comes along that has a better map search at a reasonable price, I'll switch. if another IDX solution comes along that is better than IDX Broker, I'll switch too. That's what's great about all this in that we can pick and choose the best solutions and integrate them into our web sites to achieve the primary goal of making money!

Keith Byrd

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Norman Tuttle Licensed Real Estate Broker,  Quincy,  MA

Date: January 10, 2009

I disagree that one IDX can't be better than another…... If there is a feature that is offered from one vendor that isn't by another, you may choose that

This isn't to say that one IDX solution has it all. … I use another vendor's MLS Map Search as I think it's better than IDX Broker, Wolfnet, REW, or any other I've seen offered. If another IDX map search solution comes along…., I'll switch. That's what's great about all this in that we can pick and choose and integrate them into our web sites to achieve the primary goal of making money!

Keith Byrd

I found the above remarks cogent and comprehensible on this topic and am reticent to display my ignorance but the truth is I do not understand what IDX is in this context. I have a couple of websites that have the capacity to allow a visitor to search my local MLS for listings and have understood that to be through the miracle of IDX and took steps to set that up. Recently I have been contacted by various vendors offering IDX solutions and have no idea what they are talking about. A sometimes criticism I have of this forum is that the nomenclature used and concepts discussed are done so with the presumption that everyone listening is up to speed and it seems that in this instance I am in that group on the outside looking in wondering what the hell is going on! J

Norman E Tuttle E-Pro, CRS, GRI

Granite Group, Realtors

Quincy, MA 02170

617-429-7749

Norman@TuttleRealtor.com

www.NormanTuttle.com

Get Market Snapshot:

http://www.homeinsight.com/Widget/default.asp?B32SGWCO5Z3K

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Tiare Sneidar,  Kailua,  HI

Date: January 10, 2009

Aloha and Happy New Year to all of you.
Have been reading a lot about the IDX situation, and while I'm not a real
computer pro, have often wondered why, after paying all of the setup and
annual fees, hardly any leads come up. Am not sure it is due to my page
set-ups, links and information. The thought occurred that these venders are
sending the same names with available info to all clients or route leads to
others. In otherwords, three or four of us might get the same lead. I
could not help but notice that after opening the site and it's been on for a
few weeks, lots of leads. After about two months.. one lead about every two
or three days. In view of this and if my page doesn't really work, why
doesn't the vender let me know and after what is paid to set up the site,
what changes would he/she suggest. During this particular time we all need
something to spark the viewer. What? If anyone has suggestion, by all
means let me know. I'd like to know how to get an idea of how many viewers
check my site. Compare that to those that actually become a lead. This
most certainly would let me know my site doesn't work.
Tiare J. Sneidar, RA, GRI, Certified e-PRO
Ho'ala Properties, Inc., Kailua, HI 96734
808-371-0916 (c) 808-261-5558 (w)
www.tiarejsneidar.com
www.allhawaiianhomes.com
tsneidar@hawaii.rr.com

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Keith Byrd,  San Luis Obispo,  CA

Date: January 10, 2009

I believe the top 2 things that you have to do to have a successful website are:

1) Get them to come to your website

2) Keep them coming back until they contact you

IDX falls under #2. If you haven't figured out how to do the first step, you're just wasting money on anything you pay for to put on your website.

Keith

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