Sometimes, what’s possible with high-tech real estate outpaces our ability to fully understand it. Take, for instance, the ability to have a MLS property search on your website via IDX.
IDX says that I, as an agent, can have a copy of the MLS on my website for my site visitors to search, as long as I follow the IDX display rules. (There’s a more comprehensive explanation of IDX in this post.)
I use a special kind of IDX where it allows search engines like Google to look at the information in the MLS on my site and put it in their index. Sometimes, this causes confusion among my fellow agents. They go to Google and search for their listing address, and sometimes my site comes up displaying their listing. And that can lead to some angry calls and misunderstandings. Those of us that dabble in the high-tech end of real estate are familiar with this scenario.
Agents who use indexable IDX services are not advertising other people’s listings – they’re displaying an MLS search according to the IDX rules. Every MLS can create their own set of rules regarding IDX and what must be displayed and disclosed – contact your MLS to get a copy of the rules for IDX, if you’re curious. Most of the IDX rules I’ve seen state that the agent must disclose the listing brokerage, among other things.
I’d encourage you to get and read a copy of the IDX rules for your particular MLS. There are sometimes malicious sites out there that really *are* stealing your listings and not obeying the rules. Every once in a great while, I run across one of those sites and report them to my MLS. Once you understand the rules for your particular MLS, if you ever Google your listing address and someone else’s site comes up, you’ll know how to tell if that’s allowed or not.