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Breaking Down the Difference: Exploring IDX and MLS

by | Jan 24, 2023 | eCommerce

Knowing the difference between IDX and MLS is integral to being an informed buyer, seller or realtor. 

IDX stands for Internet Data Exchange, a relatively new tool allowing brokers to share their listing information with other industry members. In contrast, MLS stands for Multiple Listing Services, which is the standard practice of post listings to be viewed by the general public.

Read on as we explore the key differences and better understand what each service provides. By understanding both services, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions when launching a new website or to expand your existing real estate business.

How Does IDX Works?

IDX (Internet Data Exchange) is an internet-based system that enables real estate professionals to share information, such as listings and client requests, with one another. It is a critical tool for real estate professionals, allowing them to access essential data quickly and easily, often faster than traditional methods.

How Does MLS Work?

Multiple Listing Services, or MLS, is a real estate database licensed agents and brokers use to list properties for sale. This comprehensive database contains information on all properties listed by members of the MLS in a particular area, providing buyers, sellers and real estate agents with a single source of listing info. 

It is a cooperative system that allows MLS members to share their listings so that all agents can access all listings in an area. Each MLS will have different rules and regulations governing how the system works, and participating in an MLS usually requires the payment of dues and fees. 

What Is the Difference Between IDX and MLS?

The main difference between IDX and MLS is in terms of accessibility. MLS systems are generally only accessible through the hosting broker or other designated members, meaning members need access to the MLS system to view the listings.

 IDX, on the other hand, is publicly accessible and allows anyone with an internet connection to search for a property listing on a real estate agent’s website. It makes it much easier for potential buyers to search for homes that meet their criteria.

In addition, IDX systems often have features such as interactive maps and search filters that make it easier for users to find the right home quickly. MLS systems are more basic and don’t offer these extra features.

Which Services Should I Use, IDX or MLS?

Ultimately, selecting between IDX and MLS is a very individual decision, as it depends mainly on the specific needs of each agent and the services each provides in their respective markets. While both options can help agents simplify their workflow, offer more competitive pricing, and provide easy access to listings, their overall approach differs in some key areas. When selecting an IDX or an MLS solution, compare essential features in your business or local market before deciding.


If you are considering investing in either IDX or MLS technology and services, it is vital to understand their differences. The two options vary in what they offer, but each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Investing wisely in this space can provide long-term benefits for your business, so it is essential to take the time to research both IDX and MLS and make the decision that is best for you.

Are you looking for a digital marketing agency in Atlanta, Ga, for your Real Estate? Check out Spinner Media. We will make your brokerage or agency website appealing and mobile-friendly and incorporate IDX Broker into it so that your MLS listings are updated automatically. Contact us today!