How IDX Real Estate Websites Work
Functionality is the term we use to describe how our website design for real estate enables you to dynamically manage information. It most often involves user input and the storage or display of information (into/from a “database” – you can think of a database as an electronic filing system).
Example #1: if a visitor to your site is required to enter his name and email address into a form, the Web site software might store/save that information into a database and send an email.
Example #2: a visitor to your site chooses specific search criteria and clicks the “Search” button on your search page. The Web site software interprets the visitor’s criteria and displays the matching properties from the database.
Example #3: a visitor clicks on an individual property detail page. The Web site software uses a specific identifier in the link to retrieve the proper database record and displays the page showing that property’s specific details.
In each example above, the software provides specific functionality as it acts upon visitor requests or input. In contrast, some pages on your site may only display static text or images (not from a database system) that are fixed and will not change unless the change is written directly to the page. Since, this is a functionality document; it describes how your site will work. It does not cover design or “look-and-feel” aspects of your site or additional static content pages you may wish to add.
IDX (Internet Data Exchange) Website Functionality
When a user visits the Web site, they are able to search and view home listings anonymously. When a user decides to “request more information”, “save searches” or “save homes” they are required to register as a new user or log in as a registered user. A new user is required to enter his basic contact information only. Upon registration completion, the new user becomes a “registered user”. The registered user is logged in automatically and taken to the page of their initial request (Example: they want to save a home, now they are registered and the home they wanted to save is added to their saved homes list). The newly registered user is also notified via email with instructions on how to access their account in the future. You, (the “Site Admin) also receive an email notifying you of the new registered users contact information and the details of their first search. When the registered user returns to the site, they are not required to log in to search home listings. They are only required to log in when using advanced options like saved homes, saved searches and requesting information. The listing data is loaded via a direct data download from the MLS/IDX provider and loaded in a local database on a scheduled basis. As required by the data provider / MLS, pages display any additional notices or disclaimers.
The IDX Main User Screen – provides navigation choices for:
Perform Search, Save New Search, Saved Searches, Saved Homes, Featured Listings, Edit My Profile, Change Password, Mortgage Calculator, Contact Us, Sign Out
Perform Search allows registered users to use a search query form to choose specific criteria that narrow the list of real estate listing results. Upon submitting the search form, the registered user is presented with rows of home listings, an option to save their current search, and the following links which allow them to perform specific functions on each listing:
Save Home, Request Info, Show Details, View Map, Zoom Photo
Save Home allows users to save specific home listings to their Saved Homes list (stored into database)
Request Info allows registered users to associate specific home listings in their Saved Homes list with an individual email information request sent to you, the Realtor.
Show Details allows users to see more detailed information on a single home listing.
View Map allows registered users to see a map based upon the address of the home listing via an external link popup window to Yahoo! Maps.
Zoom Photo allows registered users to see a larger version of the home listing photo.
Save New Search allows registered users to use a search query form to choose specific criteria and save that search with a unique name.
Saved Searches allows registered users to edit their saved search criteria, delete specific saved searches and perform their specific searches. It displays each search in rows and show the users search name, the date the search was last modified and the date the search was last run by the user.
Saved Homes allows registered users to view a list of their selected homes. Each home row displays the date the home was saved and the date, if any, the user requested information on that home. It displays a basic thumbnail picture of the home and short descriptive details. It includes a link to the property’s detail page
Featured Listings Homes that belong to the Realtor are displayed by default. Each home row displays as noted in Perform Search. It displays a basic thumbnail picture of the home and short descriptive details. It includes a link to the property’s detail page.
Edit My Profile allows registered users to change their name, email address, home phone, work phone and address information. When a user updates their profile, you (the “Site Admin”) receive an email with their updated information.
Change Password allows registered users to change their password and verify their new password by making them enter it twice.
Mortgage Calculator allows registered users to perform basic PITI mortgage payment calculations by specifying: principal, interest rate, loan length in years, yearly taxes and yearly insurance.
Contact us allows registered users to send general email inquiries to you, the Realtor. It pre-fills their name, phone number and email address. They can specify the best time to reach them, a message subject and a detailed message.
Sign Out allows registered users to stop their active session so another person could use the computer and the registered users account is safe.
The IDX Site Admin Screen – provides navigation choices for:
Log in, Search Listings, Virtual Tours, Featured Listings, New Buyer, Edit Buyers, Edit Profile, Change Password, Lead Requests, Send Mass E-Mail, Signup E-Mail, Signup Text, Signup Admin E-Mail, Autosearch E-Mail, Autoresponder, Mass E-Mail, Profile Updates, Template Editor
Log in protects the admin section and allows you to enter your admin user name and password to access the admin functions.
Search Listings allows you to enter search criteria and find specific homes.
Virtual Tours allows you to add/edit/delete virtual tour URL web addresses and corresponding MLS numbers. This feature is made available if your MLS data provider does not include the virtual tour information in their IDX data download. It allows you to display the tour with your listings.
Featured Listings allows you to add/edit/delete MLS numbers that should be included in your public Featured Listings page. You use this when you want to include listings that are not your own in the Featured section.
New Buyer allows you to add new users (“Buyers”) to the system and send them their welcome email (optional checkbox). It includes fields for the user’s name, email, home and work phones. It also allows you to specify their first saved search criteria.
Edit Buyers allows you to filter your list of registered users (“Buyers”) by first name, last name, email address, phone number or status. You can page through the results displaying rows of buyers. Each buyer row contains their first name, last name, email address, phone number, and status. Each row also includes an “Edit” button and “Delete” button. Deletes must be confirmed before deletion. The “Edit” button allows you to change the buyer’s contact information (name, email, phone, work phone, address), add/edit/view notes, change their password, change status, view their requests and edit/delete their saved searches.
Edit Profile allows you to change your admin profile information including your name, address, email, phone, fax, mobile, pager, address and portrait photo.
Change Password allows you to change your admin password.
Lead Requests is a report that displays rows of lead requests with the newest first. It includes a date filter that allows browsing month-by-month. Each row contains the buyer’s name, email address, date of request, referral host/search engine, key phrase they used to find site, total number of pages they have visited and their host name and IP address as applicable.
Signup E-Mail allows you to customize the email that is sent to each buyer upon registration.
Signup Text allows you to customize the web page message that is displayed to buyers when they successfully register. This is usually an explanation for them to check their email and instructions on how to return back to the system to see their properties.
Signup Admin E-Mail allows you to customize the email you receive containing the buyers registration information when a new buyer registers.
Autosearch E-Mail allows you to customize the e-mail text sent to buyers in their daily search results email. This template may have the following fields: email, password, first name, last name, phone and work phone.
Autoresponder allows you to customize the email sent to the buyer when they request information on a property.
Template Editor allows you to customize the text displayed on your home page and add, edit or delete other content pages within the site (Example: you want to add some buyer articles, so you create a new content page for it and enter your text.)