RE/MAX International has gone live with its national network of broker IDX Web sites, and consumers can now go to www.remax.com and search among more than 1.7 million available home listings.
Every RE/MAX office in the country has the chance to sign up for a broker IDX Web site to be included in the listings network, company officials said. IDX, or Internet data exchange, is an Internet-based exchange of property listings data among real estate brokers.
In addition to a spot in the national network, brokers get a back-end lead management system called Lead Street, according to Kristi Graning, senior vice president of IT and e-business with RE/MAX.
“The back-end system is a very powerful system that allows agents to be sent the lead via a PDA or cell phone,” Graning said. “Agents have a set timeframe to reply and accept that lead.”
There are also tools for incubating the leads, enabling agents to keep in touch with consumers who aren’t ready to enter a transaction, she said, as well as reporting tools that enable brokers to track things like how many times a listing was viewed, how many showings were requested for a particular property and how many leads were generated.
Graning said the first phase of the planned three-phase rollout of the network is underway and includes RE/MAX offices from major metropolitan areas around the country. The second phase will then draw in offices from smaller towns, though some of those offices are already in the network.
“The second phase is rolling out every day,” she said. Offices can join whenever they are ready and the company “won’t wait until a specific date” to add more, she added.
Property listings on the site come directly from the multiple listing services and individual offices then sign up on their own, she said. For the markets where offices are not yet in the network, RE/MAX has included listings from Realtor.com.
There are more than 100 MLSs already live and working with the network, Graning said. The company has worked to achieve full IDX compliance in building the site. “We are not a national MLS. We are in full compliance with MLSs across the country,” she said.
Consumers visiting the site have various search options and can get to property listings information within two clicks. Listings include neighborhood information, maps, school information, recent nearby home sales, similar properties that are for sale and the ability to schedule a showing, among other things.
RE/MAX also provides a feature called “Find a Dream Home” where consumers can fill out a detailed form describing the characteristics they are looking for in a home and can receive e-mail alerts when properties matching that description become available.
“Thousands of offices are already live and up and running,” Graning said, and “tens of thousands of agents are now receiving leads they normally wouldn’t be able to receive.”
There are about 6,300 independently owned offices and about 117,600 sales associates in the RE/MAX franchise network.
“No longer will a consumer have to visit multiple sites to view all properties for sale,” Dave Liniger, RE/MAX Co-founder and Chairman of the Board, said in an August 2005 statement announcing the company’s plans for the network. “We have made strong financial and resource commitments to this program because it’s the right thing to do for the public, for the real estate industry and our RE/MAX membership.”
Liniger also said that “when the entire plan is in place, any property listing, whether it is a RE/MAX listing or not, can be reviewed at remax.com, while still being in compliance with IDX policies across the country.”
In most areas of the country, the Web site is powered Siegent, Graning said. Siegent, based in Boca Raton, Fla., markets its services through its eNeighborhoods and HomeData divisions. ENeighborhoods manages about 1.4 million IDX listings through relationships with about 350 multiple-listing service providers globally and serves about 250,000 customers.