Glossary of Real Estate terms related to IDX VOW MLS Websites

You can view a Demo system at the link below, In April 2016 we are working on new templates, we will have several you can choose from and they can all be modified by you, your web person, or we can modify them to your liking.

An Internet Data Exchange (IDX) is a real estate property search site which allows the public to conduct searches of approved Multiple Listing Service properties in a certain area.

Site users generally gain the benefit of anonymous property searching and review. IDX sites usually provide less detailed information than the full Realtor Multiple Listing Service, limiting the data to that which is deemed publicly accessible. This system benefits both parties. The benefit to realtors is that users of their IDX web site can search freely, establish some confidence, and qualify themselves before contacting the realtor. The benefits to clients is to save time and refine their targets.

Certain rules apply to the real estate companies’ ability to display each detail about a property. These “display rules” are set by the Multiple Listing Service organization, which generally forms its policy around the recommendations of the National Association of Realtors.

IDX policy is nearing its replacement by a new Internet Listing Display policy being formed by the National Association of Realtors.

A common and standard data exchange protocol for IDX information is the Real Estate Transaction Specification or RETS.


Multiple Listing Service (MLS, also Multiple Listing System or Multiple Listings Service) is a suite of services that enables brokers to establish contractual offers of compensation (among brokers), facilitates cooperation with other broker participants, accumulates and disseminates information to enable appraisals, and is a facility for the orderly correlation and dissemination of listing information to better serve broker’s clients, customers and the public. A multiple listing service’s database and software is used by real estate brokers in real estate representing sellers under a listing contract to widely share information about properties with other brokers who may represent potential buyers or wish to cooperate with a seller’s broker in finding a buyer for the property or asset. The listing data stored in a multiple listing service’s database is the proprietary information of the broker who has obtained a listing agreement with a property’s seller.


Virtual Office Website (VOW) is a web site that is used to conduct business activities. One example is a VOW used as a real estate property search site allowing the public to conduct searches of approved Multiple Listing Service properties in a given area under certain conditions.

The VOW allows the public to:

  1. provide contact information
  2. agree to become a bona fide customer / client
  3. get a password protected private account
  4. describe property interest(s)
  5. and then conduct searches of all available Multiple Listing Service properties in a certain area.

Site users have to provide personal information before they can actually look at the listings. Also, Realtors who use VOW can choose to “opt out” from the local Multiple Listing Service, which means that these Realtors’ properties will only be displayed to people who have signed in with the VOW.

The benefit to Realtors is that registered users of their VOW web site become customers under contract. Registered users gain the benefit of more detailed information about each property and can generally see all available properties.


Internet Listing Display (ILD) is a set of rules put forth by the National Association of Realtors that regulate how homes and properties can be displayed on internet sites. The ILD policy consolidates and replaces both the Virtual Office Website (VOW) and Internet Data Exchange (IDX) policies to create one set of rules.

The ILD policy is a work in progress created as a result of investigation from the U.S. Department of Justice into anti-competitive practices by traditional real estate brokers. The ILD policy is intended to prevent traditional brokers from solely excluding their property listings from selected discount broker web sites, since they must “opt out” from display on all other brokers’ sites  


Internet Data Exchange (IDX) / Broker Reciprocity is a business program where brokers grant each other permission to display their listings on each others’ web sites. Brokers who participate in the program can display all active listings of all participating members of the program. If a broker chooses not to participate, no other broker will be permitted to display that brokers listings. A broker can include their listings in the IDX / Broker Reciprocity database without having a web site of their own.


  • Dynamic Content…creates a draw for new prospects to visit the brokers web site.
  • Local service…the consumer may feel more comfortable using a property search tool that is offered by a local brokerage vs. using a national portal such as or
  • Retention…creates an incentive for the consumer to come back to the site.
  • Branding…most IDX / Broker Reciprocity solutions are “branded”, keeping the broker identity and message in front of the consumer at all times.
  • Stickyness…IDX / Broker Reciprocity is automatically updated with the local MLS data, usually on a daily basis. This creates a dynamic resource and consumers will want to keep coming back to see what’s new.
  • Lead Generation…consumers will go to a brokers web site that promotes access to the entire MLS database, once they’re on your site, you can use capturing tools to gather the leads.
  • Better educated…never before has this type of information been available to consumers without interacting with a real estate professional. Consumers come more prepared and better educated about the market with more realistic expectations. This makes the home buying process more efficient when they begin working with a real estate professional.

Why should you be interested in IDX?

  • Empowers you to deal with the real estate customer of the future.
  • Helps you establish a relationship early in the buying/selling cycle…and maintain that relationship throughout the transaction. In short, it generates leads!
  • Enables the smaller agencies to provide comparable services to the larger agencies.
  • Allows you to display more information about the listing than any of the national portal sites.
  • Creates “stickier” web sites since you now have more data and information to offer.
  • Makes you more innovative.
  • By providing listings on-line, your clients become more educated with the market which means you spend less time researching the market for each client and more time prospecting and servicing existing clients. 

How can I make IDXsearch successful?

  • Advertise, Advertise, Advertise 
    You “must” advertise your web site for it to be effective. In all your advertising, all print (i.e. business cards, letterhead, flyers, yard signs) every place you advertise yourself, you need to have your web site address. Your URL has become as important as your phone number, you need to promote it.
  • Co-marketing Opportunities
    You should start getting some reciprocal support from your business partners. If you are promoting your favorite professional services partners such as mortgage, title, appraisal, home repair, electrician and plumber you should have them place a banner ad or link on their sites to your site. Think of all the strategic relationships you have and negotiate with them to support you with a link to your web site.
  • Dynamic Content
    IDXsearch is the first step in adding dynamic content to your site. IDXsearch is updated as often as your local MLS allows so it’s being updated a minimum of every 24 hours. Dynamic content is what creates “stickiness”, it keeps your customers coming back.
  • Permission Marketing
    So many broker and agent web sites give away valuable information without getting something in return. Permission marketing draws a potential client into giving you permission to continue a relationship with them. Rather than putting all 20 of your Buyer and Seller Tips on your web site, give them 2 or 3 and ask them to subscribe to your “free” Buyer and Seller Tip email service where you will provide them with a complete list. This way they still get what they’re looking for, but more importantly, you get their contact information. Permission Marketing is one of the most underutilized methods of marketing but it is the most effective way to draw new clients into your business. Let us help you build a web site that’s full of Permission Marketing tools that help you grow your customer base.


Contact:  Contact us today. Call or email, we are ready to LEAD your business to the top!

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