live property listings update

FW Real Estate v2.0.0 release - new design

In this release, we have come up with a number of new features, updates, and bugfixes. A new design was a prominent improvement that has triggered a lot of changes. Let’s review all of them below:

New features:

  • New modern-looking responsive design with calm colors. Now property listing and single property views are more structured and user-friendly. 

  • Map with property details and images. An updated map module allows for displaying property details and images as you zoom in. This feature is especially helpful on the ‘desktop’ investigation stage.


Documentation reference: Map module tutorial.

  • Front-end manager layout. We have synchronized Front-end manager interface with Back-end interface since a lot of new fields have been added in property settings.

  • User pages access via Front-end manager. The layout of the Front-end manager has been substantially reorganized. Now all user pages can be accessed via the front-end manager.

  • Background image for Search module styling. Added the ability to style a Trendy search layout with a background image.

  • Automatic/manual currency update mode. Now you can specify currency update mode - automatic or manual. If the automatic mode is used, the currency will be automatically calculated once a day with regard to the official exchange rate and specified back-end currency. If the manual update is used, then you have to manually enter an exchange/cross rate into the corresponding fields and the system will calculate the prices with regard to the specified rate and back-end currency.

  • Multiple countries/cities/regions on a single page. We have added the ability to display properties from multiple countries/cities/regions for a single menu item. Now the properties from multiple locations can be displayed on a single page.

  • Floor/room plans. Now you can provide more specification details about a property for rent/sale. Add detailed floor/room plans - specify sizes, upload images, add descriptions for each floor/room.


Documentation reference: Properties tutorial.

  • Specification/description/features display on a single property page. Now specification, description, and features info sections can be displayed one below the other for a single property view, not just as separate tabs. This feature allows to quickly scan through all information in the property add, on a single page. 

  • Utility costs for rental functionality. For rental ads, we have added costs section allowing to specify utility costs. 

  • Pets for rental functionality. For rental ads, we have added pets section allowing to specify pets friendly/not friendly terms.

  • Metadata section. We have added Metadata section to improve SEO ranking of your property listings.

  • Payment period field. We have added Payment period field allowing to specify payment period terms.

  • Leasing deposit. We have added a Leasing deposit field, allowing to specify a leasing deposit amount.

  • Minimum lease term. We have added a Minimum lease term, allowing to specify minimum lease term.

  • Dwelling terms. We have provided an ability to specify some specific dwelling terms.

  • Measures and sizes fields. We have added an ability to specify measures and sizes for your property ads.

  • Search by address in the back-end. We have added the ability to search for properties via the admin panel by address for better usability. 


Updated:

  • Inquiry form display. We have changed the inquiry form display. Now the inquiry form is displayed as a separate section, on the single property page. 

  • Slideshow module settings in global settings. We have added a section with slideshow settings in global property configuration for better usability. 

  • Different price formats for different languages. We have added languages for digits grouping. Now you can set a price format for each particular language. 

  • Renamed Custom fields section to Dictionaries for better user usability.

  • Separate section for Captcha. We have created a separate Captcha section to make it more user-intuitive.

  • Search module layout display. We have updated search module layouts as a result of the template update.

  • Agent module layouts display. We have updated Mortgage module layouts as a result of the template update.

  • Mortgage calculator display. We have updated Mortgage Calculator display as a result of the template update.

  • Slideshow module display. We have updated Slideshow module display as a result of the template update.

  • Mobile optimization. Optimized the component for mobile views.


Bugfix:

  • Price display in favorites view. Price column in Favorites listing was empty. Fixed property price display in Favorites page. 

  • Delete a property from favorites table. Bug resulted in inability to delete a property from the favorites list.

  • Agent password confirm. Removed excessive password confirm field from New Agent section.

  • Search module display settings. Removed outdated and irrelevant fields from module display settings.

  • Category/Type/Status fields in latest module settings. Fixed Category/Type/Status dropdowns. It was impossible to select Category/Type/Status for the properties to be displayed in the Latest module. 

  • Change password in Agent profile. Bug resulted in inability to change a password for Agent profile page.

  • Layout parameter alignment in Latest module settings. Fixed Layout parameter alignment in Latest module settings.

  • Facebook/Twitter display. It was impossible to turn off Facebook/Twitter icons on the front-end.

  • Property ID and property update display. Property ID and property update fields didn’t appear on the front-end.

  • Lease term display on the single property page. Lease term field didn’t appear on the single property page.

  • Open hours display. Bug resulted in poor visibility of open hours details.

  • Property price in global settings. Bug caused inability to turn on/off the property price.

  • Print button in global settings. Bug caused inability to turn off a print button on a single property page.

Get familiar with FW Real Estate documentation to find more information about our product. Please use the comments section at the bottom of each documentation page to comment and suggest improvements that will make the product experience better.

MLS / IDX / XML integration: quick and easy real estate database update

In this review, we will consider Joomla extension services. In particular: an extension for the FW Real Estate plugin. Its task is in automation of the import and the real estate objects synchronization using external databases (MLS / IDX) or XML feeds. For this purpose, special settings and fields updates are used.

MLS / IDX / XML Integration service includes:

  • Integration of standard FWRE fields with external MLS / IDX / XML source. Any extra fields can be added at additional cost approximately $50 per field. Adding special conditions for the processing of certain fields.
  • Existing fields format adaptation to match MLS / IDX / XML source format.
  • Cron setup for regular (daily/hourly) one-way MLS/IDX/XML synchronization and the site with FWRE.
  • 30 days maintenance support to ensure that synchronization works as expected.

Data exchange with MLS is as follows:

Itegrating systems details

Real estate MLS integration helps real estate brokers share information and deliver a proposal to clients. This is the advantage of agents over private individuals. Multi-listing is an electronic base in which all the objects for sale are located. It is not available to anyone, only market experts can use it. As a rule, the base is collected at the city or regional level.

Real estate IDX integration is necessary to expand the MLS possibilities: properties search in the base, the common network control and more. For example, IDX allows you to configure the receiving data from MLS in XML form.

RETS is a set of standards to simplify software with MLS data. However, not all MLS / IDX providers adhere to RETS standards or do not fully adhere to them. For this, it is important to integrate individually and ensure that all configured fields are synchronized correctly.

Installation and Configuration

Joomla development services integration is a complex process requiring technical skills. Therefore, the module is not obtained out of the box, but is just a custom plugin for FW Real Estate.

During installation, various custom search and filter parameters are added. Everything that is necessary for the client is integrated. When the installation is complete, all functions will be tested to ensure that the components work as expected.

The most important parameters will be configured in the FW Real Estate control panel. The list of important parameters is discussed with each client individually, so as a result, each client receives the product that is necessary for his/her business.

You need to have access to actual MLS / IDX / XML channel or file server so the MLS / IDX database works. An XML news feed or a CSV file of a specified format can be used for this. Your account should be allowed access to current properties of the real estate.

For the work we need:

  • Website with the latest version of FW Real Estate, access to the Joomla administrator panel, as well as access to FTP server.
  • Integration service payment. You will be sent a link to the transaction upon request. The integration price will be 799 USD.
  • MLS / IDX / XML working access to the properties database. This is needed only for testing purposes to configure the integration and make sure that the product work. This can be a test account or a developer account.

Conclusion

FW Real Estate MLS / IDX / XML integration will allow the real estate site to reach a new orbit. The interoperability with a common real estate agents base will favorably highlight the site in front of similar resources, where relevant ads from individuals and organizations are collected. Big win in the plus column would be the constant maintenance of the site in the current status, and to provide visitors with information about off-the-shelf real estate properties.

The help of experts during installation and configuration excludes possible errors, and the 30 days of the support period allow you to make sure that there are no any bugs.

Realtor vs. Agency website

In this article, we will explain the key differences between realtor and agency website, highlight what is needed to keep a real estate website up-to-date, and outline the required features for a successful property listing website.

There are two traditional models in real estate business - independent and agency model. An independent model implies a realtor who is licensed to sell properties and not affiliated with a real estate company. This business model is more commonly known in some parts of the United States, Canada, and Australia. An agency model implies multiple agents working for the same company and it is a common case for Europe. These two business models stand behind our FW Real Estate product and are communicated via its two versions - FW Real Estate Agency and Realtor. Let’s review the main differences between a realtor and agency website and key real estate data management principles below.

Realtor vs Agency website: common base and differences

When it comes to a common thread, both realtor and agency websites should have up-to-date property listings, which is a matter of MLS/IDX integration described below. Except for MLS/IDX integration, a good real estate website should have a bunch of features:
  • Multiple fields allowing to specify property information - specification details, floor/room plans, amenities, interior/exterior details, specific terms, etc. The more information you can provide about the property, the better your chances to succeed. 
  • Advanced search functionality enabling your users to search for properties by multiple criteria such as location, status, price range, property type, and more.
  • Map view enabling your visitors to visualize the properties and neighborhood boundaries giving all information they needed to buy or rent with confidence.
  • Rental functionality allowing to specify lease terms, dates, pets friendly/not friendly information, utility costs, etc.
  • Social sharing features allowing to share your property ads on social media and, in such a way, expand your online presence.
  • Interactive and informative media elements such as 3d virtual and video tours, engaging slideshows, PDF brochures, multiple images display, etc. 

All of the above-listed features are crucial for a professional and competitive real estate website and they are all available in both FW Real Estate Agency and Realtor products. However, there are certain conceptual differences between realtor and agency websites. These differences are basically centered around multiple agents functionality which is present in the agency website and absent in the realtor website.Thus, a good agency website should provide the following basic things:

  • Property listings associated with particular agents. In other words, each property ad should display the agent who is in charge of it so the user could immediately contact the agent directly from your ad.
  • Agents user pages, where agents can publish and edit their property listings and present their bios and qualifications as well. It is also important that your agent users could interact with the website directly from the front-end, without having to access the admin panel. 
  • Pages displaying all agents working within the company so the user could choose and contact the agent they like. If you don’t provide agents listings, your visitors may leave the website to search for an agent and chance are low that they will ever come back. 
  • Pages displaying all properties from a particular agent. Once the agent is chosen, the user can go to the page with all properties from the agent they like.
  • An eye-catching agents promo functionality allowing to position your new or popular agents in the best possible light. 

FW Real Estate Agency offers a full range of agents functionalities so you could create a consistent and working real estate agency website.

How to keep your real estate website up-to-date effortlessly

Real estate business is constantly changing. If your properties listings respond to the ongoing changes on the real estate marketplace, your potential buyers will more likely find the property they want and come to you when it’s time to buy or rent. There are three different ways to keep your real estate website up-to-date:
 
  • Manually, when each property is added and edited manually. This method is free but time-consuming. 
  • Export/import, when properties tables are exported, edited, and imported manually. This method is less time-consuming, then the manual one. However, it is suitable for the websites with a small number of properties updated once in two-three days. The more property ads are updated using this method, the better chance of making mistake in properties tables.
  • Automated, when integration with a properties database (MLS/IDX) is handled via API calls or XML/CSV technology. All properties coming to the marketplace get automatically to MLS/IDX database. Once a property is sold or rent out, this information is instantly reflected in the MLS/IDX database. So it is not surprising, why it is so important to keep your real estate website synchronized with MLS/IDX database. This method is effortless and time-saving. MLS/IDX integration allows to automatically pull broker's listings from the MLS/IDX database and get them published directly on the website. 
As you can see, it depends on your business needs, which properties update method to choose. We offer automated properties update service in the form of a custom-developed plugin. The plugin gets integrated with MLS/IDX provider via XML technology. To learn more about our integration service, review our MLS/IDX/XML integration service page. 
 
Review our FW Real Estate demo website to find more information about FW RE Agency and Realtor. Get familiar with FW Real Estate documentation to learn about FW Real Estate installation, configuration, and settings. Please use the comments section at the bottom of each documentation page to comment and suggest improvements that will make the product experience better.

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