If you do not have an IDX home search engine on your website by now, you need to get one for your company site and for your agents.
As Internet usage grows, and more tech-savvy homebuyers begin entering the market, the relationship between the Internet and the real estate industry is strengthening at a lightning fast pace. Though the majority of REALTORS® have come to accept technology as an inevitable force; there are still an unbelievable amount that seem to be digging their heals in the sand- and putting themselves behind the times.
A home search engine, at its most basic, provides the consumer a way to search for a home with criteria that they specify. It helps them make initial decisions about size, price and location. On a deeper level, it allows the consumer to maintain their anonymity until they are ready to be approached by sales people. It is that very anonymity that is driving the increased popularity of home search engines online. Consumers want to narrow down their choices before they speak with a salesperson. That is why no matter what style of brokerage you have, be it 100% office, traditional, or hybrid style brokerage, it is in your best business interest to be offering IDX home search engines on your company site, and all agent websites within your brokerage.
The public is enamored with the lightening fast speed in which they can receive information- all within the comforts of their own home. In a world full of millions of websites that want their business, they are drawn to those that offer them the most information possible in the least amount of time. IDX Home Search engines do that by offering them a way to search an entire area without having to look anywhere else. After all, at 2:00 am when they are surfing the Internet, they don’t want to have to search five different websites to find what they need. You need to make sure you are meeting their needs by providing websites that offer more than just personal or office inventory of listings, and you need to do this on both your company website and your agents’ sites.
Think of your agents’ websites as additional agents of your brokerage- virtual agents if you will, that sit online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, never tiring, never taking vacations. Your online agents are constantly selling your product; your brokerage, your area, and your listings for you while the rest of the world sleeps. For international consumers this is of utmost importance as time differences often hinder the ability to communicate in person with your agents during our normal business hours. Let’s face it, as a Broker; your goal is to sell listings by matching a consumer with a home. Whether these are your listings, or listings within your MLS, the more inquiries you take from your company AND agent’s website(s), the more relationships you will build with potential customers, and ultimately, the higher your sales volume will be.
If a consumer is confident that your company has multiple properties to select from that match their criteria, they’re more likely to do business with you. Even if you are a brokerage that carries 500 listings at the peak of the real estate season, imagine the increase in requests if you are offering the entire IDX database, which in some areas can contain 5000 or more active listings. It is much more captivating at the consumer level if a user executes a home search and has 25+ results to chose from within their price range instead of 2 or 3. In addition, you run the risk of losing the customer, should they feel as though you don’t have anything to offer them. Unfortunately, a statistic you will never know is how many people didn't request information from you because they couldn’t find a property that fit their specific criteria on your site. That’s a statistic you cannot afford to ignore.
If after reading this you are still concerned about offering IDX information to consumers on your website, keep in mind that if you do not offer it, consumers will find it on the websites of other brokers within your area. Take a moment and pretend you are the customer. Think about the kind of home you would like to move into next, and then go online and try to find some homes that match you’re criteria. Inevitably, you’ll find yourself drawn to those sites that offer you the most information in one location, and perhaps you’ll begin to see and understand the true merits of IDX.