What is IDX and why is it important?
IDX stands for Internet Data eXchange. It’s a marketing tool that attracts consumers to your site by providing access on your site to all the listings your fellow agents and brokers have entered in your association’s MLS® System. Once visitors come to your website, you can promote your own listings and/or engage them as potential buyers of other listings in your association’s MLS® System. Our integrated lead capture features prompt consumers to submit their information to you when they come across a listing they are interested in. This will notify you immediately by email so you can follow up with new leads and further discuss their interests.
One of the most important facets of iHomefinder IDX is the ability to send your clients daily email alerts about new listings that may be of interest to them. These automated emails with listing information are driven by the latest listing data from your association’s MLS® System.
Learn more on our What is IDX page >>
Do I have to contact my association when signing up for an account?
In most cases, no. We'll automatically email you the IDX paperwork and instructions for your MLS® System when you sign up for a paid account. You'll need to complete the agreement, normally with broker signature, and email it to us. We'll then sign and email it to your board within one business day. Finally, your board will need to approve you for our IDX - which can take a couple business days after you send the paperwork back to us, or longer in some boards - before we can add listings to your site.
Where can I find out if my association’s MLS® System is supported?
Please refer to our IDX coverage page for a list of currently supported associations with MLS® Systems. Please use the name of your local board, rather than a product name such as Flexmls or Navica. If you're in a real estate board in the U.S. or Canada that offers RETS-IDX, we likely cover your area.
Can I get listing data from multiple associations that operate MLS® Systems?
If you belong to multiple associations, you can request service for them at additional cost when you sign up for an account. You can also add service for them at any time after you sign up, provided you are a member of those associations, and get approved for our IDX by each of those associations (subject to extra lead time). We'll provide you with IDX paperwork and guide you through the approval process if you choose to add another board. You can only get data from associations where you are a member, or where your board has an IDX-inclusive data share with other boards. Some boards, in places such as Northern California and South Florida, share listings in their MLS® System, but only for members to see with log-in access, not for consumer-facing IDX websites.
How is iHomefinder IDX better than the free IDX I get from my association?
While some associations with MLS® Systems offer inexpensive or free IDX search programs (sometimes called smartframes or frameable links), these solutions are not designed for effective marketing or lead capture. In all cases, the name and contact information of the listing agent is featured prominently with each listing, resulting in consumers being driven to contact the listing agent rather than yourself. There are no built-in lead capture tools, such as automated daily email alerts and showing request forms. And, the appearance and usability of these solutions are typically poor, making you look unprofessional to potential clients.
iHomefinder focuses on making your brand stand out, bringing leads directly to you, and giving your visitors an excellent property search experience. We’re certain you’ll find our features, reliability and support will be a great return on investment, and offer many benefits over the IDX search programs offered by your association.
Does iHomefinder require a long-term contract?
No! Our standard terms are monthly billing, and you can change your product or cancel at any time. You can also save money by signing up for an annual plan.
What are your billing terms?
When you sign up for a paid account, you will be charged a non-refundable set up fee plus proration for the remainder of your payment period (monthly or annual). Monthly account fees are charged on the first business day of each month for the upcoming month.
Your account can be cancelled at any time without cancellation fees. If you cancel, you’ll continue to receive service through the end of the month for which you’ve already paid.
Our billing is in addition to costs such as association membership and custom web design, and, if you're using one of our plugins, from items like domain registration and hosting. You'll need to take care of those fees with your chosen service providers.
How will an iHomefinder account help me if I’m more interested in sellers?
Happy buyers and contacts are future sellers — especially when you use iHomefinder to send them periodic emails about current home prices, recent sold listings, and open houses in their neighborhood. iHomefinder cultivates potential sellers by making it easy for them to monitor the market until they’re ready to begin marketing their home.
Our Supplemental Listings page also makes it easy to upload and display any listings where you represent the seller that are not included in the IDX listing data. This can include “Coming Soon” listings, your past sales, and properties you don’t intend to list with your MLS® System.
Do I have to be a member of an association with an MLS® System to get an account?
Yes, our agreements with the various associations with MLS® Systems require that we only provide our IDX-based service to association members to show listings on their websites. You can refer to our IDX coverage page to see if we offer service for your association. We cannot provide IDX to non-members or for purposes other than member website display.
How reliable is your service?
We are committed to providing 99.9% uptime. Our dedicated servers are managed and monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by a national hosting company with a 99.999% Network Uptime Guarantee. We have connectivity with multiple tier 1 providers (including AT&T, Level 3, Qwest, UUNET, and Verio) using high-bandwidth OC48 to OC192 fiber backbones. If you don’t understand that stuff, you can rest assured our service is rock solid!
Can I use my account on more than one website?
An iHomefinder account is designed to be used on one website. You or your web developer might be able to point or frame your site onto additional URLs, each of which will have the same content and lead capture as the primary site. This requires prior approval from your MLS® System. We recommend using separate accounts which will provide unique branding on the IDX content for each site and a vastly better user experience.
How often are the listings updated?
Our listing data is updated every 2 hours for most associations’ MLS® Systems, and as frequently as every 15 minutes for some. Due the specifics of data feeds, our listing data is updated every 12 hours or every 24 hours in some cases. You can see the estimated update interval for each board we serve on our IDX Coverage pages.
Can I add or change information in my own listings?
Yes! We make it very easy to add information, pictures, videos, and links to your own listings to supplement the listing information provided by your MLS® System.
Do IDX listings display the listing agent or office?
We never display links for listing agents or listing offices on IDX listings. Most MLS® Systems require we show the name of the listing office (and sometimes the listing agent) at the bottom of each detailed listing page. We only display the minimum info required by your board, and always in the most inconspicuous rules-compliant location possible. Also, lead capture tools in our products send requests for info and showings to you, not the listing agent or listing office.
Can I use my own website domain?
Yes! Read below for information related to each product.
Optima Express (WordPress IDX Plugin) — If you’re using our WordPress IDX plugin, then you’ll already have a website with your own domain. Our plugin automatically provides IDX search and listings display within your site and under your domain.
Optima OmniPress (WordPress IDX Sites) — When you set up an OmniPress site you’ll be given the option of getting a free new domain or using a domain you already own.
Optima IDX (Frameable IDX) — Once you have a domain registered, you have the option of using your registered domain and your chosen subdomain on your account pages. You can choose anything for a subdomain such as search.(yourdomain).com or idx.(yourdomain).com. This is what will appear on your account pages instead of our default domain which is idxre.com.
Why is a subdomain required? MLS® System licensing requires that we provide our IDX account pages from our own servers. We are only providing some of the pages that appear on your site — the rest of your website pages come from your own server. When you use a subdomain, you are telling your domain host that anything on the subdomain will come from our servers and not yours. This is a much better scenario than the alternative which is seeing our default domain “idxre.com” on your account pages.
Do my site visitors have to register in order to search or view listings?
Our “Variable Lead Capture” feature lets you set up your visitor registration exactly the way you want. The form can appear immediately, never, or after a certain number of searches or page views. You can also make it optional to complete the form if it does appear. Name and email are always required and phone number can be set to optional or required.
When your website visitors select “Request More Info”, “Save This Property” or “Schedule a Showing”, they will be required to provide their information. These three lead capture features are prominently displayed with each listing.
Can I see what my site visitors are searching for?
We provide detailed reporting that shows what your leads have been searching for on your website. You can see this information for site visitors who has provided their information through any of our various lead capture features. Once a visitor’s information has been provided, their search history since their first site visit is provided.
How hard is it to manage the account features?
All of our account features are accessed in a control panel which is very easy to use and requires no technical skills. An extensive help system explains each feature and what the various settings do. Our friendly support staff is also here to help you if you have any questions. Unlimited support is included with all of our accounts.
If you are adding the Optima Express IDX plugin for WordPress or Optima IDX to your existing website, you may need a professional website developer to assist you.
Does the Email Alert subscription feature provide a drip campaign option?
Listing Email Alerts send emails with your personalized branding to subscribers on a daily basis or at an interval your subscribers choose. Detailed reporting shows when your subscribers receive listing alert emails and what listings they view.
Accounts plans with MarketBoost send 3 types of emails to subscribers for each "Market" you create, using location and other criteria you choose. These emails include daily active and sold listings, weekly open home listings and monthly market stats and trends. Subscribers can be managed separately for each type of email within each Market.
We make it very easy to export your subscribers to an Excel spreadsheet and import them into a full-featured contact management system or email drip campaign system. You can also segment your subscribers by search criteria in order to export your chosen segments for more targeted campaigns that can be managed in other systems.
Can I share an IDX account and IDX website with someone in another office?
Not at this time. IDX rules, and our product design, intend for one IDX account to be used by an agent, broker, or team within one brokerage office (or the whole office), not across multiple offices. If you are working with agents or brokers in other offices as a team or partnership, a separate iHomefinder account will be needed for each brokerage office. You can create links and a directory structure to connect the separate websites. For more info, please see our Knowledge Base.
What does the syndication option do?
Syndication is an add-on service (by request), which sends your active listings (featured listings, where you or your brokerage represent the seller) to websites such as Oodle and Vast. In most cases, your board or brokerage is already syndicating your listings, and we recommend you check this first. Also, some boards don't allow us to syndicate. Finally, IDX vendors like iHomefinder can't syndicate your listings to Zillow, Trulia, or realtor.com or realtor.ca, as most boards send all of their active listings to these sites automatically.