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The Benefits of IDX for Today’s Home Buying Market

Today’s home buying process is a lot different than it was even just a few years ago. Now, the majority of buyers use the internet in some way throughout the buying process, whether they’re just checking some listings or looking for an agent who really knows the local area. Real estate professionals need to fit into this new paradigm, and Internet Data Exchange (IDX) is making it possible. An IDX system offers several benefits for agents and brokerages. By implementing these systems, even smaller brokers can compete with larger websites and deliver a wide range of relevant listings. This will also improve the overall customer experience across home computers as well as mobile devices. On top of that, agents have a better opportunity to engage with customers on a deeper level and even establish a position online to get more exposure for their listings. The real estate market can be a real challenge, but with the right tools in place you can fit into the current buying process and start reaching more of the local buyers. Benefits of IDX

Service Available for Wasatch Front Regional Multiple Listing Service

iHomefinder IDX is now available for members of the Wasatch Front Regional Multiple Listing Service (WFMLS) in Utah. Important Note: It will take approximately four weeks from the time MLS paperwork is submitted until the data will be active on the website. By mid-May 2013, the time frame for processing should be reduced significantly Members of the Wasatch Front Regional Multiple Listing Service (WFMLS) can now benefit from iHomefinder enhancements like Interactive Map Search and Facebook Apps. Members can get started today with Optima OmniPress (Complete WordPress Sites with IDX) Optima IDX for Custom Sites, Optima Express IDX for WordPress or Optima Mobile (MLS Search for Mobile) WFMLS is based out of Sandy, Utah and has approximately 8,600 members and 10,500 listings (as of April 2013). This MLS is comprised of six member Realtor Associations: Brigham Tremonton Board of REALTORS®, Cache-Rich Association of REALTORS®, Northern Wasatch Association of REALTORS®, Salt Lake Board of REALTORS®, Utah County Association of REALTORS®, and Wasatch County Association of REALTORS®.  WFMLS covers property listings in Utah and Southeastern Idaho. Wasatch Front is the large urban area surrounding Salt Lake City. As of the 2011 Census, Wasatch Front had a population of 2,328,299, the Salt Lake City Metropolitan Area has a population of 1,145,905, and Salt Lake City itself had a population of 189,899. The Salt Lake City economy is predominantly service-oriented.  The city's major industries are government, trade, transportation, utilities, and professional and business services. Major employers in the area include: Delta Air Lines,  Intermountain Health Care, University of Utah, Sinclair Oil Corporation, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The real estate market in Salt Lake City is hot right now. Multiple offers have become commonplace at well priced homes in every price range. Listing inventory throughout the Wasatch Front area were at a 15-year low at the end of 2012, according to February 2013 article in The Salt Lake Tribune. This limited inventory has continued through the first several months of 2013 and has made bidding wars commonplace in the today's Salt Lake City and surrounding area real estate market. There is a strong demand for housing in this area which is keeping the inventory low. Salt Lake City has been identified as one of the 10 major housing markets with the shortest supply of homes by MSN Real Estate. For more information, resellers can find information about this MLS in their Partner Portal. Click here to go directly to Wasatch Front Regional Multiple Listing Service (WFMLS) in the Partner Portal. Important Note: It will take approximately four weeks from the time MLS paperwork is submitted until the data will be active on the website. By mid-May 2013, the time frame for processing should be reduced significantly. Members can email info@ihomefinder.com or contact your iHomefinder reseller.

Introducing Optima OmniPress: Complete WordPress IDX Websites

We at iHomefinder are so happy to introduce our latest product, Optima OmniPress - easily set-up, hosted WordPress sites with IDX & lead generation. They're beautiful, they're powerful - and they start at just $44.95/month! We're big fans of WordPress, but as we've worked with clients using Optima Express, our IDX plugin, we've noticed what a hassle it can be for real estate agents to get hosting, a domain name, install WordPress, choose and modify a theme and add an IDX plugin. That's a lot of tech work for people who are supposed to be out selling real estate! Enter Optima OmniPress: pick a theme, choose a color and just like that, you're up and running with a fantastic-looking WordPress website. IDX is pre-installed, and your approval will be handled by our automated process. Just upload your logo and add your bio and photo to give it a personal touch. Customize the slideshow using our library of images, or upload your own. Add Community Pages & City Links to get search engines indexing listings and driving traffic to your site. You have the world of WordPress open to you if you want to go further - but if you don't, you have a professional looking, feature-loaded website ready to go. Each Optima OmniPress site comes with a free custom domain name, a mobile website, Facebook integration and iHomefinder's powerful WordPress IDX & lead generation technology. It's WordPress without the hassle! Sound too good to be true? Check it out yourself by signing up for a trial account - no credit card required. Or learn more about Optima OmniPress features and packages.

Optima Express SEO Tools

Optima Express, the WordPress IDX plugin from iHomefinder, now offers Power and Broker clients new ways to boost SEO and get listings indexed. Sign up for Optima Express today to take advantage of these great new features. Community Pages wizard Power and Broker clients can easily create a Community Pages section for their site, to display listings as well as any community information they wish to enter. These pages show site visitors your areas of expertise while also providing links for search engines to follow and index MLS listings on your site. To set up a Community Page: 1. Within your WordPress Admin, go to Optima Express > Community Pages 2. Enter the search criteria for your new Community Page 3. Edit the Community Page title if needed 4. Save changes 5. A new page has been added to the Pages section, featuring a Listing Gallery with your search criteria. Add additional content and photos above or below the listing content. 6. If you’re using the Optima Express Navigation Menu, your new page will automatically be added to the Communities submenu SEO City Links Widget Easily add links to cities you serve and have them indexed by search engines. A great widget for the footer of your site, SEO City Links can be dropped into any widget area through the WP Admin’s Appearance > Widgets section. Configure the widget by accessing SEO Links within the Optima Express menu of your WordPress Admin and taking the following steps: 1. Configure the city/zip and link name, along with any other search criteria you’d like added 2. Save changes 3. Your link will be displayed in alphabetical order within the widget 4. Customize the width of the link columns by adjusting the value in the Link Width field

Optima Express Features – Email Branding & Navigation Menu

Two new features added to the latest version of iHomefinder's Optima Express plugin make adding IDX to your WordPress site easier than ever. Email Branding Add branding to the emails sent to your leads and subscribers directly from the WordPress Admin. Previously located in the iHomefinder Control Panel, it’s now even easier to add branding to the emails sent on your behalf. If your branding is already in the Control Panel, there’s no need to adjust it unless you’d like to make changes. Choose from 2 options: 1. Upload your photo and logo and we’ll display them along with your name and company name in a default header & footer on your emails 2.Add your own custom header and footer HTML for display on your outgoing emails Optima Express Menu Get your site up and running faster. Optima Express now creates a menu linking to all available IDX pages. To use it on your site, go to Appearance > Menus within the WordPress Admin and select the Optima Express menu under Primary Navigation. Note that if you change the URL of a page within the IDX Pages section, you must update the link in the Optima Express Navigation Menu to reflect that change. Upgrade your version to take advantage of these new features or sign up for Optima Express today!

New Widgets & Features in Optima Express

The latest version of iHomefinder's Optima Express is out today, and you'll find a great collection of features and widgets in this new version of our IDX WordPress plugin. We'll detail each one in its own post today, but here's a list of everything we've added:
  • Agent Bio Widget - add your photo and bio information for display in any widget area on your site
  • Social Media Widget - add links to your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts for display in any widget area
  • Email Branding - upload your custom branding here, or add a photo and logo to use the default header
  • Optima Express Menu - setting a new site up is a breeze if you use this menu that links to all your IDX content
  • Community Pages Wizard - Power and Broker clients now have a shortcut to create great-looking community pages with Property Galleries
  • SEO City Links - Power and Broker clients can boost SEO by adding cities to this widget, designed to get listings in your market area indexed by search engines
  • Gallery Slider Shortcode - Our popular Gallery Slider is now in shortcode form and easier to add
Stay tuned for more details on each feature, or sign up for Optima Express today and see them for yourself.

New Optima Express Pages – More WordPress Leads & Listings

Now get even more leads and display more listings with Optima Express, iHomefinder's IDX plugin for WordPress! The newly launched Optima Express 1.2.0 includes five new pages to generate leads and show listings on your WordPress site. Existing Optima Express clients just need to update their plugin to the current version to take advantage of these great new pages. Open Homes Search Site visitors can search exclusively for open homes with this new search page for WordPress. The City Selector and auto-suggest indicate which cities have current open homes, and results display open home information. Sold/Pending Listings Configure off-market properties to display on this page and show off your history of success! Supplemental Listings Add pocket listings, listings that are coming soon, or any other non-MLS listing to the Supplemental Listings page. Contact Form Get more leads from your WordPress site with the Contact Form. Leads can be tracked through your Control Panel. Home Valuation Request This form allows potential clients to contact you for valuation information on a property they'd like you to list. These leads can be tracked though your Control Panel as well. Learn more about Optima Express, iHomefinder's IDX WordPress plugin.

Service Available for Antelope Valley Association of REALTORS®

iHomefinder IDX is now available for Antelope Valley Association of REALTORS®. Antelope Valley is in Northern Los Angeles County, California. Its principal cities are Palmdale and Lancaster. Antelope Valley Association members can benefit from the latest iHomefinder enhancements like the new Interactive Map Search and new Facebook Apps.  Members can get started today with Optima IDX for Custom Sites, Optima Express IDX for WordPress or OmniPress websites. For more information on Antelope Valley Association paperwork process, resellers can email us at resellers@ihomefinder.com. Members of this Association can email info@ihomefinder.com or contact your iHomefinder reseller.