Setting up an XML feed for your listings is a great way to get added exposure for your listings by syndicating them to a variety of real estate portals.
Since I’m helping support the coming Zillow Listings Feed program, I’ve had conversations with agents, brokers, and technology providers. One thing that I’ve heard is that, while many in the industry already have XML feeds set up, some agents & brokers do not. In an effort to help connect real estate professionals with the technology providers that serve them, here’s a general answer to the question “I don’t have a feed, how do I set one up?“
First, you should probably understand what an xml feed is — a xml feed is a means to publish frequently updated data in a consistent data format. With real estate listings, that data is beds, baths, sq footage, listing price, listing status, photo url’s, etc. To really get your head around the notion of an xml feed, here is a sample xml feed to look at. You’ll notice that it contains lots of data in a standardized format. Since the data is in a standard format, it can be used by other sites to populate their databases of listings on your behalf — automating the otherwise manual task of data entry that would be required to place your listings on those sites.
Back to the question of how to set up an XML feed — unfortunately, unless you are a web developer, setting up an xml feed is something you’ll likely need help with. But fortunately, there are lots of technology providers that can help. If you’re a developer, the general idea is to pull data from a database and put the proper tags around that information so that other technology systems know how to interpret that data. I’ll leave the real “geeky” details for a web developer to explain at a later date (if you’re a techie who would like to explain it, shoot me an e-mail & I’ll set you up). For the average real estate professional, the answer is “talk to your technology provider.”
There are three primary scenarios that we’ve come across regarding those looking to get an xml feed up and running — agents with websites, agents without websites, and brokerages. Depending on which category you fall in & assuming you are not a web developer, here are some of the technology companies that you can turn to in your quest to set up an xml feed with your listing data.
Agents with a website. This group is agents who already have websites (or just use a blog as their website), and would like to syndicate their listings across the web to all the free real estate portals without building a feed of their own.
Agents without websites. For those agents without a website, here are a couple technology providers who can get you all set up with a web presence and XML feed.
- VLS Homes
- Advanced Access
- Comprehensive list of website technology providers
Brokerages. Brokerages have both many listings and many agents. Therefore, brokerage website solutions are often different than individual agent website solutions. There are many companies that serve brokerages by managing their websites & databases of listings; here are a couple worth looking at.
Hopefully, this helps those of you without XML feeds navigate the technology vendors and get one set up. If you are a technology company who fits in any of these buckets & is not listed, please do two things —
- Leave a comment and let everyone know
- Accept my apologies 🙂