Back in the dark ages of, maybe three years ago, IDX on an agent’s website was a hot topic. The web designers and gurus told us that the number one reason anyone would come to our website was to search for homes to buy. If we did not have an IDX feed on our website, we were toast. The buyers would pass us by in favor of our competitors offering IDX and free ice cream cones.
Here is the problem. There is no way that I, as an individual agent, can offer the consumer a better internet home search experience than the Big Boys of Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and others.
So, while it is true the internet home shopper is searching for homes for sale, it is not true that they are coming to my website to find great homes for sale.
This is something most website vendors do not want you to know.
Something else they don’t want you to know
NAR released their 2014 Home Buyer and Home Seller Study, and one chart shows how the homebuyers found their agent. Guess what? Only nine percent found their agent from an internet website. This includes the leads generated by the Big Boys…
So what paltry amount of buyers found their agent from finding and searching on an individual agent’s site? I’ll tell you- statistically negligent. Not enough to measure.
Are there great success stories of agents who generate real business from their website? Sure – but they are the rare exception, not the rule.
Is there a place for IDX on your website?
Sure. I use it to tell a more complete story of my neighborhoods. I use it to generate fun curated lists of low priced homes or city view homes or homes open that weekend. I use so I can legally squeal like a fan girl over a gorgeous mid century modern, even though it is not my listing.
I use IDX to illustrate my local expertise and knowledge, not as a lead generation machine. After all, Zillow will never compete with me on the special nuances of Glendale. Zillow doesn’t live here, I do.
One more thing the “gurus” don’t want you to know
In 2013, 68% of all buyers surveyed found the agent they used via some kind of face to face, in-person contact. In fact, some form of physical, real time contact is, by far, the most effective business tool we have.
Fancy that. The most effective lead generation tool around is talking to people. IDX? Not so much.
This editorial was first published here in April 2016.