Building Member Value with IDX and Websites

by Victor Lund on August 4, 2011

Across America, WAV Group has recognized that MLSs and Associations have been working with MLS vendors and IDX vendors to develop property search solutions for their members. These solutions are offered in one of three ways: Free, Freemium, and Premium. What follows is a basic description of how these programs are comprised along with a shortlist of MLSs and their partners.

 

Free:

In some Associations or MLSs, the IDX solution is offered as a complimentary (free) product for agents and brokers. This is unconfirmed, but we think that Rapattoni may have the most subscribers to the free solution. Rapattoni has offered a property solution that may be framed into an agent or broker website for a long time – and is often a standard component. LPS offers a similar offering, so does CoreLogic Marketlinx, FBS and others.

Typically, the free solution allows consumers to perform a basic search for property, but they do not have access to the tools that allow a consumer to save a listing to favorites; save your search; or receive email notifications whenever a new listing matches the search criteria. These consumer tools encourage site registration and deliver leads to the agent – so they are pretty important. Think property search with no leads.

Freemium:

Some MLSs and Associations offer hybrid solutions that provide a free solution for members who just need the basic search feature added to their site. The same solution can be enhanced for a fee.  The premium search enhancements typically come in the form of the consumer tools mentioned above with added features like custom colors and branding that allow the search solution to drive leads and match the look and feel of the agent’s website. Popular versions of this include offerings by many of the same MLS vendors mentioned above. Often the revenue for the premium fees charged for the enhanced version is shared with the Association or MLS to generate non-dues Revenue. Free has no lead generation–premium has lead generation and perhaps branding.

Premium IDX and Websites:

A few of the largest MLSs have launched significant businesses to offer premium products and services to their members. The MLS or Association is developing their role as a retailer of technology products for real estate. Some of the leading MLSs who are doing a good job of developing this sales channel include MRIS (mid Atlantic States), Metrolist California, MLS Listings California, and many, many others. They are partnering with companies that not only include products from their MLS vendors, but also companies that specialize in IDX services like Point2, Wolfnet, iHomefinder and others. In the examples above, MRIS offers rDesk from LPS, Metrolist and MLS Listings partner with iHomefinder. We believe Hillside is partnered with Metrolist in Colorado.

In the case of Wolfnet, the focus is typically centered on IDX in markets like Columbus and others. With Point2, iHomefinder, RDesk from LPS, or MLXchange Pro from Corelogic – the agent can get a full-blown website.

These premium solutions have some great features. Because the MLS is supporting the sales effort, the prices are much lower than the cost to an agent if they purchase directly. Moreover, the setup fees and long-term contract terms are waived. In a number of cases, the entire signup and launch process is automated. Agent puts in a credit card and out comes the website. iHomefinder also includes a mobile app component.

As you can see from the iHomefinder screenshot below, they are attractive and fully-functioning websites. If you need help developing a program for IDX and Websites for your MLS or Association, give one of these vendors a call – or reach out to your IDX vendors. WAV Group can help too and, this month, RE Technology is releasing the App Store for MLS and Associations – it will allow you to offer a online store to your members.

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