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If you’re a real estate agent, you’re likely familiar with the popular acronym, IDX (Internet Data Exchange). But are you using the IDX in a way that’s best for your business?

There’s several popular ways to utilize an IDX, we’ll break them down below. 


An iframe, or inline frame, is an HTML element that lets you embed HTML documents on your website. An HTML document that is popularly listed on real estate websites is the MLS (Multiple Listing Service).

The MLS displays all of the available listings to potential buyers and is updated with the latest information automatically. Using an iframe or inline frame isn’t the best method to use on your website as it doesn’t actually involve a data exchange. It sources the data from somewhere else (the MLS) and simply displays the information.

Because there is no actual transfer of data, your listings don’t show up in search results, making it harder for people to find you online. Using the iframe is also tricky to design into your site–it often looks like a wonky, poorly done search bar, which turns away visitors from your site. 


An FTP (File Transfer Protocol), is a standard for exchanging program and data files across a network. This is one step improved from the iframe because a transfer of information does happen, which allows the data on your site to be seen in search results; however, through this method, the update of transferred information unfortunately happens at time based intervals–usually every 12 hours or so.

This isn’t very good because then your site will not have the most accurate listings and clients will utilize other sites because theirs offer more listings and therefore, more options for business.


RETS (Real Estate Transaction Standard), is currently the best way to make your site perform the best and draw the most foot traffic in the real estate realm. RETs are updated hourly to ensure the latest information; their updates are much more simple than FTP, making them more cost effective and budget-friendly to use.

RETs are more efficient than FTPs because RETs send only the new data, whereas FTPs send all of the old and new data at each transfer. Another pro of using an RET is that it allows your site to have higher SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

One downside of using RETs is that they’re useless on their own–you’ll need a trained professional and additional software to handle and comprehend all the data.