real estate website

FW Real Estate Data Management: backup and restore functionality

Fasw3b team has come up with a new solution to FW Real Estate data management - backup and restore functionality. Backup and restore functionality is an efficient solution for real estate websites to easily backup and restore properties, agents, and images data within a short time period. 

Saving backup files on a regular basis is an efficient web maintenance practice for real estate websites. Backup files can be easily restored if anything goes wrong. It is highly important to do backups in the following cases: 
  • When there is a need to make a backup copy to protect your data against loss, corruption or human error.
  • When there is a need to move data from one website to another.
  • Before any major work of your real estate website.
If you need to apply bulk changes to all properties on your website without configuring each particular property individually, you can use CSV import/export functionality. CSV import/export allows to easily export properties data, apply changes to the required data, and import the changed data back to the component.  
 
If you need to keep your website up-to-date with the latest properties listings on the marketplace, MLS/IDX/XML integration is a sound solution for you. MLS/IDX/XML integration allows to easily synchronize your properties listings with MLS/IDX database. 
 
FW Real Estate provides you with a range of data management tools and functionalities. Backup and restore to ensure the security of your data, use import/export functionality to apply bulk changes to your properties listings, and automatically synchronize with properties database to keep your content up to date. Get familiar with FW Real Estate documentation to find more information about our product.

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.

How to avoid drop in SEO ranking with real estate IDX integration

Real estate IDX or MLS integration is a proven way to automate listings population online. Such integration allows to have many content rich pages with actual property information 24/7. What can be better than a website with auto-populated rich content pages, right? But there is a detail on how integration is done, which may totally ruin search ranking benefits for your website.

MLS/IDX integration as a smart way to keep property website up-to-date

Any Broker or Agency real estate website requires the most actual information reflected in the listings. Some time ago, the only way to maintain the most up-to-date information was manual listings editing. As technology evolves, any real estate website can benefit from a reliable and zero time-consuming MLS/IDX integration for 24/7 information update.

Technically, Multiple Listings Service (MLS) refers to property listings provider, while Information Data Exchange (IDX) is a protocol that defines interaction between listings provider and real estate website. Despite the fact MLS and IDX are incomparable definitions, MLS has become so popular in the US, Canada and Australia, that these words are often used as synonyms.

The biggest challenge with MLS/IDX integration is a protocol used for access and synchronization. There is the RESO (formerly RETS) standard, which seems to be popular in the US only... to a certain degree. In most cases types of integration varies from  modern REST API protocols to old school XML files accessed on a remote password-protected account.

The key elements of any MLS/IDX integrations are:

  1. Listing provider account.
  2. Property website.
  3. Cron job script on a server.

Listing provider account is access to a remote database or file that has the most actual information about properties on the market you require.

Property website is your online website that is already built and has some listing presentation. In other words, there must be a place where data will be imported and then shown to your customers.

Cron job is a so-called script that will run synchronization on your website's hosting account to fetch the latest information and update your website with it. The cron job is usually configured to run synchronization once a day, but you can change frequency up to your needs.

MLS/IDX integration process is not a simple procedure, but the result is well worth the effort. Having actual property listings and focus on dealing with potential clients is what real estate business is about. When property presentation is designed and general information is published, MLS/IDX integration will keep your website up-to-date further.

Our FW Real Estate product has all benefits of a great presentation, flexible search and Custom Fields editor required for any property listing website. We have a special Real Estate MLS/IDX/XML Integration service that take up to 5 days to complete integration and never worry about outdated listings on your website again.

If you are in a real estate business or need to build a website, we will be happy to consult you on any questions in this regard. All consultations are free. Even if you made your choice, you can always get an alternative expert review of your plan with suggestion on what needs closer attention.

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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