Ins and Outs of IDX

avatarthumbnail.jpgThe Phoenix real estate listings you see on this site and many others all are powered by something called IDX – Internet Data Exchange. Depending on the IDX provider an agent or brokerage chooses, the level of information you will see on these IDX searches can vary widely.

For instance, I used to use Success Web Systems for my IDX searches. When you looked for additional details on a property the options were limited. For instance, you wouldn’t learn the actual square footage of a property – just a range. Want to know details about the laundry room – inside, outside, whether appliances were included? Sorry.

Diverse Solutions provides a considerably higher level of information, which is one of the reasons why I made the switch a month or so ago. (Another reason was the map-based search, which is far less clunky than the old-fashioned data entry model.)

But even DS doesn’t have everything … and it’s not their fault.

Not every field on an MLS sheet is included into the IDX field. Most noticeably missing at the moment here in the Phoenix real estate market is the “Miscellaneous” category, which includes filters for both short sales and bank owned homes.

I’ve finagled a bank owned home search for my office’s listings. But those are just a drop in the bucket compared to what’s on the market.

Every day on Trulia Voices, in my own Inbox and elsewhere I hear consumers asking the question – what’s the best way for us to get a list of bank owned homes?

More than 10 percent of the homes in ARMLS are bank owned, REO properties. These are what you want to see. I know this. Diverse Solutions knows this. But we can’t deliver it to you, not until the ARMLS board of directors releases the Miscellaneous field.

One side note … for all the debate over the impact of the Department of Justice’s settlement with the National Association of REALTORS and the many who are trumpeting that listings information now will flow freely … well, it won’t. At least no more so than it has to date.

What you see on nearly all listings sites is a portion of the information about a home. Some are more complete than others – thanks to the switch, I think the information here is about as complete as you can find for the Phoenix market. But you’re never seeing absolutely all of the available information about a home.

Fortunately, very few attempt to purchase real estate without getting their feet on the ground in the area in which they’re buying. Some still do, but they’re fairly few and far between. Which is a good thing in my opinion.

I’m waiting for the bank owned field to be released. Once it does, I’ll make those listings available to you as quickly as humanly possible.

[tags]Phoenix real estate, bank owned homes[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • Andrew Mattie 10 years ago

    Actually, we (Diverse Solutions) do get the data that tells us if a property is bank owned, foreclosed, is a short sale, etc. In fact, in the initial version of our ARMLS IDX search, we actually allowed visitors to search by those types of properties. However, we later found out that not all IDX vendors had been given that same type of “privileged” data, so we changed our system so that you can’t search on that data and can’t see it displayed anywhere in the property details.

    However, the good news and the reason for telling you this is because it will only take all of, say, 20 seconds to flip the switch to enable that data to be visible and searchable in our IDX once ARMLS allows it. Here’s hoping they let us show it sooner rather than later.

  • Jonathan Dalton 10 years ago

    Intersting, Andrew … last I had heard from ARMLS was the directors had not approved the Miscellaneous field as part of the field, but maybe it was a question of them not letting that information go public.

    I’m joining you in the hope … it would be a tremendous thing for the public to have that data available in a simple form.

  • Bob Bemis 10 years ago

    ARMLS is going through a review of our data distribution and display policies now. It is my hope that the task force formed just last week to address these issues will see the wisdom of making IDX as flexible and serviceable as possible by unmasking the fields you need to do your business and service your clients. That’s what we’re working toward.
    Bob Bemis, CEO

  • Jonathan Dalton 10 years ago

    Sounds good, Bob, so long as the task force isn’t a slow moving one. 🙂

    I’m not seeing a downside to allowing consumers to filter specifically for bank owned homes … they get to see what they really want. They’re happy. Homes sell. Banks are happy. And agents who choose to position themselves in front of those consumers will be really, really happy.