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RISMEDIA, March 8, 2010—IDX MLS Internet home searching technology has come a long way since first introduced in 1999. This is when the National Association of Realtors first embraced the Internet Data Exchange (IDX). The original goal of IDX was not exactly clear, however, the result since has been vast.

Back in the day, brokers and agents saw IDX as a vehicle to keep a consumer on their website with a goal for the agent to stay connected to their customers.

Today, nearly 90% of consumers access IDX MLS data through one website or another. Obviously, the absolute objective for a broker or agent is to close more transactions by generating leads and exposing listings through many channels. Nothing about that part has changed. What has changed, however, is the innovation of home-search technology that continues to raise the bar.

In the beginning, agents and brokers had no challenge in placing a registration form in front of the home-search information on their website to generate leads. The allure was for the consumer to see what coveted information was behind the door. Today, consumers have access to so much information, they would opt for a root canal before providing their valuable contact information to someone they do not know. The reason to register has now become scientific and few companies out there have focused on what we term “the art of the Internet seduction.”

Yes, it is an art; like fishing, you need the right location with the right bait at the right time to catch the big one. However, with so much information ripe for the consumer to access, it is nearly impossible for any one site to provide unique listing information. In fact, most real estate listing sites get their MLS listing data from the exact same source.

“To change the game, you need to provide consumers a search solution that works the way consumers shop for homes,” says Gregg Neuman, a Top 5 in Real Estate Member and leading real estate professional with Prudential California Realty in San Diego.

Consumers most often know the neighborhood they want to live in, followed by school districts and proximity to landmarks such as place of work, friends and family or child care.

The reality is that agents are drawn by the allure of a map-based search solution. The result is that even though they increased the time consumers stayed on their website (stickiness), many consumers found it time consuming and frustrating having to scroll around a map with no defined boundaries. The net effect of this challenge has caused lead capture opportunities to diminish as well.

We sought out to solve this challenge by developing a home-search system that allows the consumer to find homes the way they expect—by location and not by just showing a map.

“The motivation to register increases when the consumer is empowered to draw their own custom neighborhood boundaries and then want to save their work,” says Laurie Manny, a Realtor with Main Street Realtors in Long Beach, California.

In this day and age, where it seems that real estate marketing technology grows on trees, Realtors cannot take their lead generation and client management technology lightly. The key to successful real estate marketing is having all your contacts in one place, consistent contact management and being a master of content marketing, starting with homes-for-sale content from your online home-search technology.

Your website needs to act as a 24-hour sales assistant and ensure that it is delivering information to the consumer better than the way they expect in order to keep them coming back.

Steve Hundley is the founder and CEO of 1parkplace, inc. 1parkplace will be delivering free agent training webinars on all the topics listed above. Visit their Real Estate Training Center for details on live and prerecorded real estate training events.

For more information, visit