Technology

Real estate website data provider IDX Broker acquires Web design firm

Agent Evolution's new mobile-focused WordPress framework seen as catalyst for growth

IDX Broker, which powers websites for more than 42,000 real estate agents, has acquired Agent Evolution LLC, a provider of real estate-themed website designs, continuing the blazing-hot acquisition trend in real estate tech. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Agent Evolution, which designs website themes and templates for use with the popular publishing platform WordPress, will continue to operate as a separate brand, and its three full-time employees will join IDX Broker.

IDX Broker made the acquisition to take advantage of Agent Evolution’s new mobile-focused WordPress framework, Equity, that is set to come out in the coming weeks, said IDX Broker CEO Chad Barczak. Developers will be able to license the framework from IDX Broker to build designs, also known as “themes,” for their real estate clients, he said.

This opportunity will add to IDX Broker’s core business, which currently centers on licensing its software platform to the more than 650 Web developers it currently works with, Barczak said.

By licensing IDX Broker’s platform, developers are able to implement features like real estate search powered by data from the more than 600 MLSs IDX Broker has agreements with primarily in the U.S. and Canada. Consumers who visit those sites with that feature can search the pool of listings brokers make available to each other in individual markets through Internet data exchange (IDX) agreements.

Over 40 percent of IDX Broker’s clients currently use the WordPress platform, which made the Eugene, Oregon-based firm’s decision to acquire the designer a natural choice, Barczak said in a statement.

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The popularity of WordPress has grown in recent years, and Barczak said he anticipates it will become the platform of choice for real estate Web developers.

Real estate website provider Placester, which has data agreements with more than 90 percent of the MLSs in the U.S. and also offers designs built on WordPress, recently revamped its website-building process to allow agents to launch a site in just five minutes.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that IDX Broker licenses MLS data to its partner developers. In fact, its agreements with MLSs allow partner developers to build websites that can display data from those MLSs; it does not license MLS data to developers. Placester is not an IDX Broker competitor as a previous version of this story incorrectly stated; Placester provides websites for real estate pros while IDX Broker provides a platform for real estate website developers.