How to Get Free IDX Feeds to My Website
By Jeff Grundy
Real estate agents rely on leads to help sell more homes. With a competitive housing industry, real estate professionals can no longer just wait for clients to walk into the office; they must be proactive and seek out new clients. If you are a real estate professional and have a website, you can make it more productive by adding IDX feeds that display listings of available properties. More people are using the Web than ever before to search for a new home, and adding free IDX listings to your site may help you close more deals without a large cash outlay to purchase Multiple Listing Service (MLS) feeds.
Navigate to a website that provides free IDX listings for real estate professionals or offers a free trial. RealBird.com and SoftRealty.com offer free, ad-supported versions of their listings that integrate easily in most websites. The listings do display ads that generate revenue for the services but are free and relatively simple to use. A 60-day trial version available from Listing4U.com is a full-featured IDX feed that includes contact links in listings, which potential clients can use to contact you directly, and no ads are displayed.
Register for the free account or trial version by entering your personal and office contact information, as well as username and password credentials. Submit the information by clicking “Register” or “Sign Up Now.”
Open your email application or browse to your Webmail inbox. Open the email message you receive from the IDX listing service. Double-click the confirmation link inside the message to confirm and activate your account.
Log in to the IDX listing service website with your username and password. On your main account page, click “Create New Listings Code” or “Create New Feed.”
Select the options you want to use for listings on your website. For instance, if you want to display listings for homes in your local area only, enter zip codes to use in the feeds. Additionally, select the types of homes you want to display on your site. For example, if you want to display apartment building and single-family dwellings, select those options by clicking the applicable check boxes.
Click the “Save Feed” or “Create Feed” after you select all of the options you want to use. A new page appears and displays the code you must use on your website to display the listings. Minimize your Web browser to the Windows task bar, but do not close it.
Launch Notepad or your preferred text/HTML editor. Open the HTML file that contains the code for the page on which you want to display the IDX listings. If you do not have a copy of the HTML file on your local computer, you must download the file from your website. You can do this by opening the page in your browser and using the “File/Save” option on the menu bar, and then saving the file to your PC.
Maximize the browser page containing the IDX listings code. Highlight all the code in the “Copy this Code” or “Copy and Paste Code” box. Press the “Ctrl” and “C” keys on your keyboard to copy the IDX listing code to the Windows clipboard.
Maximize the text-editor application window. Scroll down to the point in the code where you want the IDX listings to appear on your Web page. Click the “Ctrl” and “V” keys to copy the code from the system clipboard to the HTML file. Save the file in the text editor and close the window.
Upload the edited HTML file to your website. If prompted to overwrite the existing file, click “Yes” or “OK.” After you upload the edited file, refresh your website by press the “F5” key. After the page refreshes, the IDX listings appear on the page for which you entered the IDX feed code.
- The free versions of RealBird and Search Simplify do not offer lead capture features. Paid MLS search engines such as the one used by Listing4U.com include an option for potential clients to contact you directly from a listing page. A simple workaround is adding a “Contact Me About This Listing” or a similar link or button in the sidebar or footer of your website.
Jeff Grundy has been writing computer-related articles and tutorials since 1995. Since that time, Grundy has written many guides to using various applications that are published on numerous how-to and tutorial sites. Born and raised in South Georgia, Grundy holds a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.