The basics of MLS and IDX

Here are the basic things you should know about IDX and MLS.

Multiple listing service (MLS):MLSs are private databases that are created, maintained and paid for by real estate professionals to help their clients buy and sell property. Brokers will list their inventory on MLS and provide access to other brokers so that every brokers could help sell each others inventory. In most cases, access to information from MLS listings is provided to the public free-of-charge by participating brokers.

Internet Data Exchange (IDX): IDX is a software to help realtor to display MLS real estate listing information on websites. It is used for agents to show off their MLS listings on their sites using IDX, and also for their audience to find homes for sale that fit their needs via search and filter functions.

How it started: IDX originated in the early 2000s, when the internet was in its relative infancy and real estate agents and brokers realized they could effectively promote their listings online. Around the same time, MLSs needed a way for their members to have online access to their listings so that each agent could have more opportunities to promote listings, attract leads, and close deals.

What to avoid: The main thing to know about IDX is you need to consult your MLS to understand their particular policies (which vary by each MLS) pertaining to use of their data on your real estate website via IDX. There are several ways you can get in trouble with your MLS should you misuse IDX data. Examples of some prohibited uses include:
1. Posting a seller’s listing when the seller has indicated to their agent they do not wish to have their home listed in IDX
2. Failing to update IDX listings on your website
3. Providing IDX listings and their information to outside parties not participating in the IDX exchange
4. Altering the information included in IDX listings (e.g. property dimensions and features) to make them more appealing to your audience
5. Showing listings on a website that aren’t approved for display by the MLS or listing broker