Website Display of MLS Data

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There are two possible ways that MLS listing information can be provided when authorized for display on a participating Realtor's website. They are called: (1) Framed IDX Link, and (2) Data Feed.

A "Framed IDX Link" is standard programming code provided by CTI as part of our MLS service. This code displays on a website the standard search screens and search listing results that have been approved for public access by the local MLS association. Standard IDX link code provides for personalization through use of optional modifiers. Modifiers include Realtor specific information such as code for background colors, contact phone number, agent/office listings only, and predefined custom search criteria (see Custom IDX Search Profiles below). A website designer can just insert the IDX code from CTI into a page frame on a Realtor's website without needing to do any special programming or data hosting. The IDX link automatically provides information from the MLS server for listings that match search results directly over the Internet. This is the least cost solution for displaying MLS approved listing information on a website, and is used by most Realtors who maintain their own websites.

"Data Feed", on the other hand, provides "raw" data for all MLS listings that have been authorized by the MLS for public display on the Internet. To use a data feed, the web designer must write code to extract and format listing information as desired from the MLS data. The raw data must be hosted (stored) on the web provider's Internet equipment and updated periodically from the MLS. A Data Feed gives the web designer greater control over customizing the way MLS information is displayed on the Realtor's website. However, it also requires considerably more programming sophistication and data maintenance expense. Also, web app templates may require IDX data feed so MLS information can be arranged to fit into their predefined layout.

Raw data can be accessed using either the Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS) or File Transfer Protocol (FTP). For information on RETS access, see "Real Estate Standards Organization (RETS)" in the Related Articles and Internet Links at the end of this web page.

To be authorized to use data links and raw data feeds/downloads of MLS listing information, most MLS associations require a signed confidentiality agreement with the web designer and the Realtor's broker that restricts the use of any MLS information provided solely for the benefit of that Realtor/broker. MLS data, IDX links or any derivative thereof may not be used by or provided to anyone or any entity not an active member and/or approved IDX participant of the local MLS providing the data. Contact your local MLS office for rules, procedures and authorization requirements to use MLS listing information through an IDX Link or Data Feed on your website. Some MLS organizations post their IDX Contract and instructions on their website for members only, which may be accessible through the Web Links in CTI Navigator.

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Framed IDX Link Setup

Where allowed by your MLS policy, instructions for an IDX framed search link are provided through CTI Navigator by clicking Web-Links in the top menu. For MLS associations that use third party vendors to host their association website, documents and IDX instructions may be listed directly under Web-Links. For associations using a website hosted by CTI, there is a link under Web-Links to the Realtors Only (or MLS Private) website where members can select  IDX Link Instructions and associated IDX documents under the Documents menu. 

If a third party is handling your agent or office website design, you can e-mail them the instructions from the MLS Web-Link. Highlight the appropriate information, and use the Copy (Windows =Ctrl/C, Apple=Command+C key) and Paste (Windows =Ctrl/V, Apple=Command+V key ) commands to insert into your email message. In some older browsers, you can go to your Internet browser menu after highlighting the instructions > click Tools > select "Mail & News" > Send Page. "Send Page" should open your default e-mail program with which you can send the instructions. (Note: Do not attempt to send just the web-link code because the website is password protected.)  

To setup an IDX link, substitute the 3-letter code for your MLS (where indicated by {MLScode}), enter your CTI Navigator agent code (where indicated by [YourAgentCode]), and enter any desired optional modifier(s) in the example links. (Click here for a list and description of optional modifiers.) Then put that link on your website - typically inside a personalized frame. For example:

To display your AGENT page:

To display your OFFICE page:

Safari iframe security warning: Because Safari blocks cookies for third-party domains (such as session cookies on the MLS server from your website), your webmaster may need to set IDX links to open in a new Window on a Mac (rather than in a pop-up iframe) when the viewer's browser is Safari. For an instructive example using javascript, see "Safari: Setting third party iframe cookies." Note that even when not run in an iframe, IDX Search Results display the sponsor's name and contact information at the top of each search results web page. 

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Custom IDX Search Profiles

There are many optional modifiers you can use to customize the criteria for your IDX link. Most modifiers take effect as soon as they are entered in the IDX link code on your web site. However, setting an IDX link to display only search results based on pre-specified selection criteria requires that a customized profile be created (see below) and stored on the MLS server by CTI. Once CTI has saved your customized profile on the MLS server, you can add the "&profile" link option in your IDX code to display search results based on the criteria you specified in your profile. 

To create a customized search profile in CTI Navigator Web: first perform the desired search in CTI Navigator Web and Save the Search with a short descriptive name. Searches saved in CTI Navigator Web are stored associated with your agent name on the MLS server. Send an email to with the name of your saved search (or searches) and the agent name used to create the search (the name used to sign into CTI Navigator Web). If you associated the search with a client, please indicate that client name also. Include your name and contact information in your email message. It is not required, but you may also list the search criteria used to create each saved search (to help us ensure that the profile we create for you exactly matches all your desired criteria).

To create a customized search profile in CTI Navigator Desktop: first perform the desired search in CTI Navigator Desktop and Save the Search with a short descriptive name. Saved Searches in CTI Navigator Desktop are stored under your agent name on your computer's hard drive in  ...\CTI Navigator\{MLScode}\Users\{Your Name}\Listings\{Your Saved Search filename}.src  (see Notes below).  Email this src file(s) as an attachment to and request that CTI create and save a customized IDX profile for your search on the MLS server. Include your name and contact information in your email message. You can email this file directly from Windows Explorer by right-clicking on the {filename}.scr file, select Send To > Mail Recipient.

There is no charge for up to 10 customized profiles. Customized profiles after the first ten cost $20 each. Please allow at least 5 to 7 business days for CTI to create and store your customized profiles on the MLS server. You will be notified by email when they are available. 


Note 1: Your MLS code can be determined by opening CTI Navigator Desktop's login screen and clicking the Setup button. The MLS code is the first 3 letters in the Internet Server Address box. If you are using CTI Navigator Web, your MLS code is the first 3 letters in CTI Navigator's website address (http://{YourMLScode} If you already have an IDX link, your MLS code is the first 3 letters in the IDX address (http://{YourMLScode} Otherwise, you can contact your local MLS office or CTI Tech Support for this code.

Note 2: If you have trouble finding your saved searches in CTI Navigator Desktop, you can use the Search function in Windows to find files that end in ".src" (enter *.src in your Windows search to find all files that end with the src extension). Identify the one(s) you want by the name you gave to it when you saved it. To email a saved search in CTI Navigator Desktop, use your email program's Attach function and browse to  {see note 4}\Cti Navigator\{Your MLS}\Users\{Your Name}\Listings\{Your Saved Search filename}.src.

Note 3: Your broker (or designee with management authority) must log into the IDX control panel for his/her office to modify the IDX search results default for his/her office so that "Cooperating Broker" is displayed after "Property Listed By" instead of the actual Listing Office name. Agents cannot make this change. 

Note 4: The path to your CTI Navigator Desktop Users data (such as Saved Searches) depends on when you installed the CTI Navigator Desktop program on your computer, and into which version of Windows it was installed. 

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Listing Links in Social Media

MLS members can use third-party applications in conjunction with CTI Navigator's IDX feature to display property listings from the MLS in social media such as Facebook. Some of the social media apps display only your listings, and others can provide full MLS search. For a brief description of popular social media apps for real estate professionals (such as "Social Connections Facebook App" by NAR, "IDX Home Search" by N-Play, and Top Producer) and related information, click on "Display Listings in Social Media" .

Related Articles and Internet links

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rev. 02.25.2016