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What is IDX?

IDX stands for Internet Data Exchange. This refers to the data exchange between an MLS board’s database and a 3rd party website and is viewed as a form of advertising. The listings that are displayed here are only those allowed by other participants, but almost always includes the vast majority of the MLS database.

What is RETS? 

RETS stands for Real Estate Transaction Standard. RETS is an industry standard protocol or framework that allows real estate companies, brokers, or 3rd parties to receive data from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) servers, and other real estate systems provided they also have software installed designed to communicate using the RETS framework. The National Association of REALTORS® refers to RETS as a "common language".

IDX vs Advertising
There has often been confusion over what constitutes IDX versus what is considered advertising. IDX and advertising are independent of each other. For a breakdown of when the IDX Rules apply vs when Advertising Rules please see the table below; 

 Advertise Rules Apply


IDX Rules Apply


Print Advertisements

Magazines, Flyers

Listing searches via IDX feed on participant website

Manually entered listings on a website not operated by a participant

Zillow, Craigslist, Trulia

Listing searches utilizing a data feed on a 3rd party site

Manually entered Social Media Posts

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

Manually entered listings on a website operated by a participant

Featured properties on

Blog Posts

Active Rain

Social Media posts that link back to IDX participant website

Facebook post linked to

When a broker receives the IDX data feed they enter into a contract with BCAR which requires them to adhere to the IDX Rules and Regulations. IDX Rules are outlined in BCAR's MLS Rules and Regulations Section 18. 

Advertising is a form of marketing communication used to promote or sell something, usually a business's product or service. In real estate, advertisements are often in the form of postcards, flyers, email marketing, or third party websites like Craigslist and Facebook. It is important to remember a listing shall not be advertised by any Participant other than the listing Participant without the prior consent of the listing Participant. The following requirements are at a minimum required for advertising per NAR Ethics,  AREC License Law,  and BCAR MLS Rules and Regulations: 

No false manipulation of the listing data, the ad must present a true picture and not otherwise mislead consumers 

The advertising agent cannot portray the listing as their own or belonging to their office

The ad must include the statement “courtesy of” or similiar with reference to the listing firm in a font that is the same size and color as the rest of the content

Why should I participate in IDX? 

Wouldn't your Internet marketing efforts produce greater results if prospects could view your listings –and all the others from your MLS on your web site? Now it’s possible!

Do I have to participate?

Yes. Our MLS membership is set up to allow 

How do I get IDX on my website?

You have 3 options.

  1. Framed link. This link can be embedded directly on your website at no cost.
  2. Use an authorized IDX provider. The authorized providers all utilize the same IDX feed however each one offers different products and features to display the feed on your site. Once you have chosen a vendor, fill out the BCAR Participation Agreement.
  3. Use a Standard IDX feed for yourself This feed contains all the same information as the other two options however it is provided as raw data. You or your programmer will need to have knowledge of the RETS server where the data is retrieved and general coding knowledge in order to properly embed the data on your site. A contract will need to be signed by yourself, your broker, and your programmer.  You will need to fill out a BCAR Participation Agreement.

Who decides the rules for IDX listings?

NAR sets the guidelines for IDX but BCAR has its own rules which are based on these guidelines.

Does IDX mean that confidential information will now be available to the public?

No. BCAR prohibits display of information intended exclusively for other real estate professionals and not for consumers.

What do I get in the IDX feed?

You will receive the following:

All Active and First Right of Refusal listings by default. If you would like Sold listing data please advise when setting up. You will not receive the off market statuses; Pending, Expired, Temporary Off Market, or Withdrawn.

BCAR MLS listings only. This means any listing that was entered by a BCAR MLS subscriber. 

Can I put IDX on more than one of my websites?

Yes as long as you receive approval you may incorporate the IDX feed on more than one URL. Each URL must be approved by BCAR MLS prior to site launch. There are unique considerations in regards to multiple domain names being hosted by the same company compared to multiple domain names being hosted by different companies. 

I want the listings from other counties displayed on my website as well 

In order to receive the IDX feed from different MLS systems such as Mobile, Pensacola, etc… you will need to contact these associations directly.

I am adding a new website, is there paperwork required?

At a minimum we will need to update your existing paperwork to add in the additional domains that are being fed. Please contact for further clarification.

Can I send my listings only to or other 3rd party sites but not Broker sites?

No. When you participate in IDX you participate fully.

I already have a IDX feed but would like to change programmers or hosting sites. What do I need to do?

You will need to note the following steps:

a. Fill out a new BCAR Participation Agreement 

b. Once the new forms have been signed by your broker and consulting/development firm the login credentials will be provided to your new consulting company

c. You will need to email when you are ready to disable and turn-off the feed to your previous company. Many new firms will need development time to build your new site and ensure your IDX data is correct.






Upcoming Events

GRI Technology
September 18, 2019 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
CE | GRI Working with Buyers
September 19, 2019 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
MLS Committee Meeting
September 19, 2019 @ 9:00 am - 11:00 am