Why your listing is on my website


I get emails like this all the time

Hello Phoenix Real Estate Guy. Can you tell me why you have my listing on your web site? This is my listing and you aren’t authorized to have it on your site. Please remove it immediately.

The short answer is because YOU authorized it when you entered the listing.

Apparently though, there are a number of real estate agents and even Designated Brokers that do not understand IDX (Internet Data eXchange).

How it is possible in this day and age for agents to not understand the fundamentals of IDX is mind-boggling. That Designated Brokers don’t understand it is… well, it’s incomprehensible. Yet many don’t seem to get it.

Given that, here is the long answer…

What is IDX?

IDX is the system and technology that allows agents and brokers to share real estate listings on IDX enabled websites. There are, according to ARMLS (Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service), “thousands of Broker/Agent Websites that display ARMLS IDX listings on the Internet”.

So you see, not only is your listing displayed on my site, it is also displayed on thousands of sites in the Phoenix metro area (as well as national listing aggregation sites).

And that’s a good thing, right? I mean you are trying to get your listing sold aren’t you? You found your listing on my site — and so can potential home buyers. In marketing-speak that is called “exposure”.

But what if I don’t want my listing shown on other websites?

Easy-peasy, just opt out of IDX. You have two options:

In ARMLS, agreeing to display your listings via IDX is the default. If you don’t want your listings displayed on other IDX enabled real estate sites then you need to opt out of the program.

Option 1

For individual listings you can opt out of IDX by UNchecking a box when you enter the listing in the MLS. Here is a screen shot of the ARMLS listing entry “Export” tab:

See where it says, “Listing Export Options”? And under that is a checked box labeled “IDX”? Just uncheck that box, click save and that particular listing will not be sent out in the IDX data feed to thousands of web sites. I’d be sure to disclose to your seller however that your marketing plan includes removing their listing from those thousands of websites. They’ll probably want to know that.

Option 2

If you are a Designated Broker, you can complete an opt out form and submit it to ARMLS to have ALL of your current and future listings removed from the IDX feed. Of note, opting out of IDX completely also means that you cannot display other brokerages listings on your IDX enabled real estate site.

There you have it

*I* can’t remove your listing from my site. You authorized it to be displayed on my site, so only you can have it removed from the data feed that puts it here. If you don’t want your listing exposed to potentially thousands of prospective home buyers, go into the MLS listing and uncheck the box, or opt-out of IDX altogether. Just remember, you owe it to your sellers to explain what you are doing, and why you are doing it.

Of Note: Both IDX providers that we utilize on this website (Diverse Solutions and FlexIDX) are authorized and approved by ARMLS and are fully compliant with all ARMLS IDX rules and regulations. If you have heartburn over how listings are displayed here, you need to take that up with ARMLS. We don’t change or manipulate the authorized IDX displays in any way, form or fashion.

Further Reading:
I strongly recommend reading the following web page and document. They explain IDX in detail. You owe it to yourself and your clients to fully understand how IDX works — it’s a HUGE part of Internet marketing in real estate.

ARMLS Web Page on IDX: Contains basic info on IDX.

ARMLS IDX Package: Contains complete information about IDX, including the IDX Policy, IDX Data sets, and how to sign up for a free IDX product.

If you are an agent outside Arizona, your MLS and / or Association should have similar documentation available.



  1. says

    Jay, I was at a relocation event today promoting real estate in our city and everyone kept asking me about “our” listings and wanting to see what properties we had to offer. The general public still goes from company to company to see “their” listings rather than just partnering with a talented agent who can help them find what they really are looking for (by utilizing IDX, MLS, and open access to ALL properties on the market). I’m just thinking in my head the whole time “I have every property in Fort Worth, what are you interested in?!” We will have to continue to educate and promote our services in a way that encourages people to use them in the way we envision them to.
    Was this a broker or an agent who sent the email? Either way, it is just totally silly to me for either to be confused and not understand IDX/syndication, let alone be upset about their listing being displayed on your website (how terrible for them if one of your agents brought a buyer for it?) I mean, really…

    • says

       @Greg Fischer Greg – I’ve gotten emails like this from agents and brokers alike. No real point in singling this particular one out, we get inquiries like this every week…. I can understand the general public not getting it, but how in the year 2012 an agent or broker doesn’t understand the concept of IDX is beyond me. Why did they leave the IDX box checked when they entered the listing if they had no clue what it meant???

    • says

       @Greg Fischer And here’s an exchange I had with a designated broker about a similar issue… http://www.phoenixrealestateguy.com/im-suing-you-you-are-illegally-manipulating-the-google/

      • says

         @Jay Thompson Wow, that was a good read, and unfortunately, sounds totally realistic and likely to happen in the future. I’ve just started building my website and brokerage, and am 100% sure I will have a few similar encounters as it gains traction.
        It will be just as hard for brokerages to justify not using IDX as it will for them to justify not syndicating. I agree on your overarching theme of this article, which in my opinion is disclosure. Hopefully agents don’t withhold listings from IDX without direction from sellers. That would not only be silly, but wrong.

  2. CalgaryRealtor says

    With great power comes responsibility Jay. Unfortunately, for those (1%?) of us who use & understand IDX feeds, that includes explaining to seller’s / brokers why their “listing is appearing on your website”. Even better are the dozens of agents who call to request showings “at your listing”. Never-ending fun

  3. says

    I think the thing that bugs them the most is that if I search for an address, the first thing that comes up is google map, the second item is your site listing that property.
    I google every address before i do a home inspection on it and I see your pages daily.
    So the real rub to the listing agent is your SEO is FAR superior to what they do.

  4. says

    Jay:  This kind of thing is not only unbelievable, it serves as a remainder why consumers are sometimes so confused about our industry.  The agents/brokers who make these phone calls are obviously not in a position to explain this to any of their clients, which perpetuates the problem.  If they did explain it and the seller wanted their listing excluded from IDX, for example, none of this would be a problem.  BTW:  We had one recently on the other end of the spectrum – he called and wanted us to make some changes to his listing pictures that showed up on our site via IDX, because he didn’t have a website.  His client was apparently unhappy with what he saw online and he wanted to know what we were going to do about it.  Unbelievable . . .

  5. says

    I own a small botique real estate office in Del Mar (San Diego).  Same issues here in San Diego.  I even had an “agent” call me the other day and ask to see “my listing!”  I’m guessing her client saw a listing on one of my websites and called their agent who didn’t even bother to check the MLS to see who the listing agent was!

    • says

       @Chris Keller Happens here all the time too Chris… Once had an agent argue with me, insisting it was our listing because they were “looking at the printout.” It was a printout from our site, not the MLS. I then asked them if there was a For Sale sign in the yard.
      “Yes, there is.”
      “Does it say ‘Thompson’s Realty’ on it?””Oh. No, it doesn’t.”
      All that with their client sitting in the car with them….

    • says

       @Chris Keller Just got my first call this morning from an agent. She insisted that it was my listing because she was looking directly on my website! I proceeded to explain, etc, etc. After a few minutes she finally gave up and decided to call her office…When I schedule showings it is much more convenient and logical to work of our backend MLS, it displays ALL of the information you would need including phone numbers, emails, websites, special showing instructions, directions, etc. They have a mobile version for agents as well. Anyway, just found it interesting to receive one of these calls finally. It means my internet juice is working.

  6. says

    I can understand why a seller wouldn’t know what the IDX is but I still get asked “what is a IDX” by other agents in my office…  and these are agents who have been in the business for a few years.  smh.

  7. says

    In my seller presentation, I show a sample page of portals where listings appear and that my aim is to market market their home EVERYWHERE. As a result, my clients never wonder why or complain that some other company’s site features their home. But after more than a decade of shared listing activity, many agents still COMPLAIN that their listings are everywhere and blame their sellers for wondering why. Educating sellers to the way the internet works and why it’s good for them to be out there should be mandatory for agents everywhere. It isn’t necessarily our job to sell our own listings – in some states, you can’t. Let your realtor community help you sell by getting the word about your listing to everybody THEY know!

  8. says

    Are these agents new? I mean there are rules for stating who the listing agent is in some MLS’s blah blah blah.. but don’t they get that this is what they WANT? WOW, that’s just unbelievable.

    • says

      Rob – I get calls and emails from *brokers* all the time. In Arizona, one has to have a real estate sales license for three years before you can get a broker’s license.
      So no, not all of this comes from new agents…. 

  9. says

    Can never really understand the resistance to the IDX reciprocity agreements, just seems logical to try and get your clients maximum exposure of their listing for sale.

  10. says

    my customers never wonder why or grumble that some other organization’s website functions their house. But after more than a several years of distributed record action I’m wondering her customer saw a record on one of my sites and known as their broker who didn’t even hassle to check

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