13 HOME SEARCH/IDX SOLUTIONS
WARNING WARNING WARNING: This was originally posted in 2012. I've updated it as much as I could BUT some Pricing and Details may NOT be accurate. Please email me any corrections and feel free to comment below. I'll try to update this list more fully soon.
NOTE: Different people like different types of home search websites. A great deal of your success with any IDX solution irregardless of it's lead capture rate or functionality is how well you (a) establish yourself as better than your competition in your niche market, and (b) communicate that on your site and in your follow-up messaging.
People who are browsing for homes often just want big photos and no clutter or interference. SEO spiders like these too. For agents these solutions are inexpensive and well worth the benefit...
www.RealBird.com ($99 per year or Free) Very nice single property websites with features and clean design. Listing Syndication though don't use that until you've SEOd a page on your own website for the property address first. Auto-imports photos into Animoto for easy video creation. It has a Map Search which draws properties from Oodle. If you are in an area that does not have so few properties that they’ll notice the lack of properties, then I’ve heard of it getting great results. Another nice benefit is that you can install the search on dozens of niche market sites on say a Wordpress Multisite network. Warning: When homes get sold they often stay on the site (a lot more often then the MLS) which could piss your visitors off.
Unique Strategy: Create RealBird listings for every home in a target market and call it a "Property Review" website. Give your opinions on the homes based on your knowledge, information gleaned from your MLS/Sold records, your own photos and/or google street view if you can't quite get to the property. This may be a great way to position yourself as a local expert.
www.dsIDXpress.com ($99 setup and $29/mo.) This wordpress plugin can help in terms of SEO via fresh content and pages for each property. The new pro version finally has lead capture though still lacks design customization. (Note: you can do this via CSS overrides.) It is still our favorite for generating traffic.
A unique strategy is to also have a DIFFERENT search product like IDXBroker or SpatialMatch that DOES have lead capture. Let dsIDXpress wordpress plugin generate the traffic and provide fresh content to attract search engines and spiders but then encourage or force visitors to search on your lead capture search site..like...
www.IDXBroker.com ($149 setup and $39 - $79 per mo.) Good lead capture customization and lead distribution. IDXBroker has a really full set of features BUT doesn’t integrate into wordpress fully for SEO purposes. In my experience it only worked in terms of SEO if you really took advantage of it's SEO features which take work. That downside is sort of offset by the fact that you can install it’s widgets/search boxes in more than one site and the visitor will end up on the same search. It also DOES allow a pretty decent amount of customization.
See www.ShandrowGroup.com for customization I did a couple of years ago. The new Platinum version being released should allow a lot more design customization.
www.RealGeeks.com ($400 setup, $150/mo.) Appears to have decent lead capture. It IS simple to use and fast loading which should lead to a higher lead capture rate than slow and overly complex search sites but, like all sites, really depends on what other search sites are available in the market. Design customization is limited and I personally think the photo thumbnails should be larger since at this size homes are difficult to distinguish from each other.
www.Zurple (not sure on price.) claims a huge lead capture rate but is ugly as hell and my impression from talking to owner last year is that they are basically building network to then sell leads/take commission. Advanta Realty down in Palm Beach uses them and broker is ex-Zip Realty Exec., so he should know what he’s doing. My guess is that it works in some markets because of the contrast and the email follow-up system.
Sidenote: Try a follow-up email that says something like this, "Hey Joe, my wife and I were looking at our calendar for the week and I wanted to make sure your needs are a priority. Would you like to visit any homes?"
www.idxpro.com ($249 set up, $40/mo. simple for agents and consumers.) Nice interface but small thumbnail photos. This seems to be your "simple is better" idx and real estate website design company.
www.RealEstateWebMasters.com (REW). They have an inexpensive iframed solution that does have lead follow-up backend. It’s a lead into much muchhigher priced packages. For a long time the set the standard for great design, SEO, and custom IDX but may have slipped to people like BoomtownROI and many lower end solutions. I haven’t really dug into their system in awhile so it’s definitely something to look into. Owner Morgan used to do errrr, clever SEO things back in the day so there might be some helpful outside the box thinking in the system.
www.AgentImage.com is a division of a larger website design company that uses a Wordpress Plugin. Their ‘flash’ sites can look great on home page but fall apart on the inside and they usually just iframe in www.IDXBroker.com. 2013 Update: They were using a solution provided by an obscure SEO genius out of the Southwest. We connected and then lost touch but I need to find him. He was doing "fight club" SEO stuff.
I previously was totally psyched about www.SpatialMatch.com. Unique and powerful though more complex. Gives you a Unique Value Proposition in terms of finding the perfect home that is the perfect distance to people and places the buyer loves. (Most agents describe it as a ‘lifestyle’ search but I think that generic term misses the point.) The point is that "It helps you find the perfect home that is the perfect distance from the people and places you love" and that is probably a Headline that should be pastered above the search. It DOES have lead capture but I don't know the status of the CRM/backend. So it's unique ... BUT BUT BUT...must be implemented correctly into a website which requires your creating unique searches and really highlighting the unique value it provides. I almost never see agents do this correctly.
www.DiverseSolutions.com (Good map search. Some customization. Lots of unique ways to create links. Feeds into crm and email broadcast system. A comprehensive system which is a plus. BUT BUT BUT .... just like with Spatial Match --- I think visitors will like it better NOT framed into the page but rather FULL SCREEN so it resembles BoomtownROI, Estately, or RealScout home search websites.
See how it works like this: http://idx.diversesolutions.com/search/5379/6/full?&oref=http%3A%2F%2Fpahousequest.com%2F#-
www.BoomtownROI.com (gorgeous front end. Very good CRM with friendly tracking of lead activity and contacts to leads made by agent. Prettier and easier for the average agent to use but not as powerful.)
www.TigerLead.com Like BoomtownROI, TigerLead has an awesome backend system designed to help you turn leads into clients. More complex but tells you everything you need to know within the system. Was $1,400 /month + cost of Google ad spend. Now charging just $500 per month if they don’t coordinate ad spend.)
2013 Update: TigerLead was acquired last year by Move.com the parent company of Realtor.com which needs a CRM to compete with Zillow.
www.MarketLeader.com Nice enough front end has become very popular especially since company acquired ActiveRain. Most agents I’ve talked to say they haven’t received very good results -- of course who really can tell the reason for that.
www.InfinityArts.com : The one that no one has heard of. Great front end and backend. Very high lead capture rate. In 2011 I'd have said this was probably the best all around but very limited in where they provide it. Company isn’t really committed to product except for larger brokers where they get paid $15,000+ for build out and $5,000 a month for SEO work which - back a couple of years ago you could come close to beating with the $29/mo dsIDXpress plugin and a lot of content and link creation. (Times have changed though as you know.)
New Entry! www.RealScout.com -- very excited about this. Another high quality map search with unique email follow-up messaging and identification of properties via "tags" so visitors can search via terms you wouldn't necessarily find on a search form.
www.Estately.com -- Looks like a very effective lead capture map search. Note the placement of multiple, unique calls to action. As I understand it, they capture leads and give them to agents in return for a commission split of say 30% upon close. THIS ALONE is a good sign that the site is very effective...
...a long standing saying among internet marketers is that, "If your shit doesn't work then sell it to other people. If it does, use it exclusively for yourself!"
BUYER FOCUSED SITES
http://www.miamibeachcondosandhomes.com/ (custom IDX)
http://www.hartanovteam.com/ (Real Estate Webmasters)
The Battle for Buyers in Charleston
http://www.lennarcharleston.com/ (New Homes)
http://www.mungo.com/ (New Homes)
ARGHGHGH!!!! CHRIS SMITH MUST BE BANNED.
The Time for All Levity Has Passed. How do I get Ads like this to stop showing up along side Facebook Posts!!! ("Someone" sent this to me and you gotta admit, it's too friggin' funny not to share considering the discussion below!)
Jimmy Mackin you and Chris must ban yourselves from your own forum immediately.
NOW HIRING - PARTNERING: with anyone that can do anything - so I can spend more time with them.
Tech Support Needed.
Are you a VA Team manager, VA, Freelancer, Stay-at-Home Mom, agent who doesn't want to be an agent? Real Estate experience helpful but not required. Tech savvyness and ability to focus on specific tasks is.
A talented USA VA Team that can handle a lot of work from website updates to writing to transaction management is probably best. Existing website design company is a good option.
The definition of insanity is doing the same things and expecting the same result.
In my case, that involves doing, "Strategy Consulting, Systems Architecture and Building, Staff and VA Hiring, Training and Supervision, Website Development, Graphic Design, Content Writing, SEO, Basic Marketing and Administrative Updates, Sales, and Business Management."
Trying to do too much of all of these for too many people during the last year has been doubly insane.
Have a similar issue in your practice of real estate?
I just turned 40. The above is a family time and health killer and not where I need to spend the next 40 years.
My focus is on Sales, Strategy and Systems Architecture - and probably developing Training programs.
If you do anything of the above - fairly well - and want to partner or have the other work outsourced, subcontracted, or referred directly to you - get in touch.
: ) IF IF IF you can "get it" and "figure out things" once given some decent direction, do a reasonably decent job, and are open to learning using cutting edge strategies.
I've got a very busy week but am transitioning out of insanity by May 1st. :)
Looking for that Virtual Assistant company that was $6/hour. Some folks were sharing a full-time person. I need to give my other team some competition. I think it was posted here or in the "What Should I spend my money On" group. anyone know where it is?
Should agents buy www.WIBYA.com I haven't used this in a long time. It's been upgraded.
Chart from NAR, price vs buyer interest
“The only dead ends you’ll find on our site are homes on cul-de-sacs.” -Realtor.com
That’s one if the many
We don't require a phone number on registration. If people chose to leave a number, they get a phone call. Why not? They weren't required to leave a number, they chose to. That's practically an invitation to call them.
But, the call is simply, "There's a human on the other side of that site, here to help when you need it."
Many times, MANY times, we hear, "Thank you, you're the first agent to ever call us." To my knowledge, no one called has been annoyed by it.
Roianne Cox Sam, did you look at the usability of those searches? This is where most idx vendors fall flat. Put a pretty idx illiterate person on the website and have them try to: find a home in a specific area, find a home with the master bedroom on the main level, find a home with a specific range of lot sizes. These are just some of the most common things people are looking for and most idx searches do little to make them accessible. Scrolling drop down lists that don't work on mobile, selectable lists that are blank until you click on them, no agents phone number, or any way to make an appointment on every listing. I used to do usability testing for medical office software and I know that most idx design work is done by programmers, you can tell just by looking at it. It drives me crazy:)