RETS PRO Review of their new 4.0.5 version versus IDX BROKER Platinum version

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I just finished an online Skype screen share with the RETS PRO team and I have to say, I’m very impressed!

**Note; I’m not here to endorse anything with this post and I am reminding you that you should always do your own due diligence before making any decisions to purchase anything from either company.

That said, after I got finished with my private 1-on-1 screen share, I thought I’d better go take a look at the BIG dog on the block IDX BROKER and do a little features comparison to see how RETS PRO is stacking up now and WOW!  Having worked with both of these, and several other solutions for many years, Its my opinion that as soon as RETS PRO delivers on their CRM then it’s going to be a game changer and threat to all monthly leased solutions out there. They’ve been promising a CRM for what seems like forever, but I did get to take a quick peek and what they explained to me is that their CRM will be equal to most of their competition and nothing more than that. They did say however that they will be building their CRM to then be able to push into about 4 or 5 main CRMS out there and they will then bring in their own enterprise CRM sometime probably after the first of the year.

So here is my June 1st 2018 PRO’s and CON’s between my top (2) go-to choices for WordPress real estate plugins.

RETS PRO – PRO’s

  1. Pay only once to own it.
  2. Has RETS Manager that you can add multiple RETS data which makes the possibilities endless.
  3. Has easy shortcode builder that pretty much does over 90% of the IDX BROKER features.
  4. Everything is ON YOUR SITE and not on someone else’s, which is a huge selling point for me!
  5. Extremely easy to customize and NO cache resets required, ever work with customizing IDX BROKER?
  6. Never having to hear someone say “No, that can’t be done”. You can actually put your hands on all of the code, which is a huge selling point for me!

RETS PRO – CON’s

  1. No CRM
  2. Not as many options yet as IDX BROKER regarding their Forced Registration, though I’m told they are working to add more options to go with CRM.
  3. Not as well packaged as IDX BROKER when it comes to pre-packaged template and search form layouts, but then they are mainly selling to developers and not to agents so that’s understandable.
  4. Not a RETS Vendor, I know they are Vendors in a few markets but for the most part that is not something they are offering so you will need to get your own RETS credentials for your project yourself.
  5. Support, I hate to have to say it but it’s always hit or miss on any given day and from what I already know from first hand experience is that if you’re a hosted customer of theirs then you getting VIP support versus the snails paced general support tickets speed that I get.  I think that’s why they prefer selling to developers and then hosting agents since agents typically need a lot more hand holding. I was told today though that they are ramping up to begin marketing, so I guess only time will tell once they have to deal with more and more of the self hosted DIY agents.

IDX BROKER Platinum – PRO’s

  1. Lower Price to get started. T
  2. They are a Vendor in most markets already so you can skip that possible extra setup cost and paperwork, unless required by local board.
  3. They make it simple enough to get just about any agent off the street to be able to use their platform.
  4. More pre-made template and search form choices to pick from than anyone else.
  5. They do have a CRM, though not as good as many others out there like RealGeeks.
  6. Support, though if you go online you may question this statement but they do have a huge budget and clientele so there will always be ignorant rants from ignorant people but over all they do a fairly decent job and like RETS PRO, some days are hit or miss for me as well.

IDX BROKER Platinum – CON’s

  1. No Pay once option, you’ll have to lease it forever.
  2. No RETS manager and no way to custom do things with the data, which is a deal breaker for many of my customers.
  3.  Worst part of IDX BROKER in my opinion is the fact that they do subdirectories, subdomains etc on their server so that NONE of the RETS data is on your own website, another deal breaker for many of my customers.
  4. Not nearly as easy to customize and expand on so if you want to put your hands on the code and do everything on your own website then you are out of luck.
  5. I hate having to log into IDX BROKER website and to part of my website edits and then having to flush cache every time I want make a change or create a template or shortcode.

 

So there you have it, something to think about while you are looking around at all the choices out there.
I will tell you what I ask my customers, what is your budget, timeframe and requirements. Then based on their answer, I give them my advice.
“If all you need is a quick, cheap site right away and don’t care about some limitations then IDX BROKER will get you in and out quick, but if you have a little more upfront cash and a little more time to get your own RETS credentials then RETS PRO is my answer every time.

I hope you enjoyed the mini comparison, I thought that since I haven’t posted anything in a while I’d do something quick to share so that you can contact both companies to do your own live screen share with both of them to see for yourself and then draw your own conclusions.

NOTE**  I have another Screen Share review about another IDX solution coming in a couple of months after I get another update that looks very promising for those that are looking for a Hosted, Managed, Marketing type solution similar to a RealGeeks but on WordPress. So look out RealGeeks, because this one looks like they are coming for you and from what I’ve seen it looks like agents that need that sort of thing will probably be jump ship and sign up once they see what I’ve seen.

Regards –

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RETS PRO | WP-Property | Realtyna

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WordPress Real Estate RETS Plugins

If you’re looking for a “Pay-Once RETS MLS Solution” then there are currently only 3 choices when it comes to Wordpress Real Estate Plugins. I will try to give my you personal evaluation of all 3 since I’ve got a good deal of experience with all 3 of them.

– Lets break this down into a top 10 “pros and cons” list to keep it simple –

#1 Price:
All 3 plugins offer different cost associated with their various add-on’s etc. So let’s use the new car analogy with a “base price” cost to actually get RETS/MLS data into your website.

Most expensive – Realtyna
Pros = Established, they will do the entire install/setup.
Cons = Basic means Basic, there is a reason they make everything else an add on > $
They are a “per-site” licensed solution so you pay for each site and for each add-on.

In the Middle – RETS PRO
Pros = To many to list but here are the cherries on top; More pro-features already included than any other real estate plugin out there.
Cons = Not really so sure this is a such a bad thing but; Due to all of the already built in DIY features it just feels like a steeper learning curve than the others. So if you’re not already a website developer you will be by the time you’re done.  Another thing that isn’t the best that it could be is the fact that almost all the documentation is in the form of videos or via live skype support instead of a wiki. So if you don’t like learning how-to’s by way of videos then this is a negative.

Cheapest – WP-Property
Pros = Works for getting listings in your site and works well for very small MLS data feeds and can easily be used for pocket listings and rentals.
Cons = Not nearly as good as the other 2 and I personally don’t recommend it for anything larger than 4k to 8k listings projects.

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#2 SEO Features:

Best – RETS PRO
Pros = If you’re an SEO geek then you will LOVE picking their brains! They have thought of everything! My favorite is the ability to create dynamically created content and the RSS options, custom listing site maps to create specialty listings list, I could go on an on but just call them and ask about their SEO features and then call the other guys and you’ll quickly know right away who the SEO gurus are.
Cons = I’d have to say “none”.

Decent – Realtyna
Pros = Great for getting listings indexed on your site and works well with other SEO plugins like Yoast etc.
Cons = Not as many SEO features/options built into it as RETS PRO has but still good.

Decent, but not as good as the others – WP-Property
Pros = Works for getting listings indexed on your site and works well with other SEO plugins like Yoast etc.
Cons = Not as many SEO features/options built into it as either of the other 2.

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#3 Customization:

Best – RETS PRO
Pros = If you’re a web designer/developer (Like Me) then you will appreciate all of the dynamic tags, class, id’s and ability to use conditionals throughout your html project.  They’ve thought of everything needed to make even the most complex theme integrations a snap. If you want to do incredibly complex to basic this is by far the most flexible DIY solution available.
Cons = I’d have to say that unless you know html and css you may need to hire a professional web developer to do your custom stuff as they only provide the basics templates for free.

Decent – Realtyna
Pros = Great for newbies since they pretty much do the basic setup and hand off something that will suit the majority of customers right out of the box. Also has plenty of customization as well and certainly more than WP-Property.
Cons = Not as customizable as RETS PRO so is a bit more limited.

Not as good – WP-Property
Pros = Works for getting listing into most sites as long as you don’t plan on doing anything too custom, otherwise all of the hand editing will take a long time to get done.
Cons = Not nearly as flexible as either of the other 2.

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Skill Level Requirements:
Easy – Realtyna –  If your a new web developer with little to no html/css skills then is the one to go with -> Especially if you are only doing a one off  “Single Site Project”.

Medium – WP-Property- If you have the time to learn and use their support forums you can get through this on your own but like I mentioned before its a limited solution that you shouldn’t consider when doing large or complex data projects.

Hardest – RETS PRO – Like with any greater challenges comes greater rewards. I’ve done some of the most complex client requirements that no-other solutions are even capable of doing, that said, its more of an investment of not only their software and their DIY concepts but also a investment of your own time needed to learn how limitless things really are with this solution, but again this is more of a PRO Developers solution compared with to anything else out there.

Conclusion:
My personal opinion, as a web developer with more than 15 years experience developing real estate websites, is that it always depends on 3 things – The Client Requirements, Time and Cost.

If you are a Professional Web Site Development Person/Company and plan on doing (more than 1) Real Estate site then grab a RETS PRO developers license and you will be joining a family of other PRO developers in their forums whom you can lean on for free support tips and you will quickly find out that there are many other PRO Developers using their software to make a living on building out custom real state sites all over the world using their software.

If you are a individual web developer doing only 1 Real Estate site then I’d recommend either Realtyna or the RETS PRO basic license version depending on your skill level. If you’re a newbie web developer then go with Realtyna as they are geared more for you than RETS PRO would be. From all my experience and conversations with the owner of RETS PRO is that they really don’t want to deal with people who don’t comprehend basic HTML/CSS editing. I would never recommend wasting time with WP-Property Plugin since its just way too limited to use it unless you already know for a fact that the clients project is going to be 1-2-3 done. Otherwise when your customer ask for x-y-z to get done then you will be screwed since that’s probably not doable with their code and then you’re back to square one again.

Please leave some comments below about your own experiences with any of these 3 solutions as I’d love to hear from other Pro Website Developers that have worked with any of these solutions themselves.  Cheers!

2016 Wordpress Real Estate Plugins

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I rarely have time to blog out on these sites anymore but I thought it might be great if I wrote another update really quick to let everyone know what I see going on in the industry.

First of all I’ve seen a rise in new offerings from other development sites that are apparently gearing up and gunning for the RETS PRO‘s business model of actually “selling you the code” as opposed to leasing their proprietary system per site per month like all the traditional providers do it.  That being said, I’ve also noticed that there is another site start up called IDX RETS that appears to be going to offer some competition to RETS Cloud services.

There still aren’t any “Free” stand alone WordPress RETS plugin solutions out there and the only one I’ve been able to work with so far that seems to work in all markets thus far, and IMO is still the frontrunner that continues to pioneer industry first features (as in they were the first to have ALL dynamic SEO titles,urls,meta,canonical options etc) in the WordPress Real Estate Plugins industry is the RETS PRO solution.  They’ve done a great job with the features but for me it’s the ability to work with a code that is 100% unencrypted, no API license call outs etc. thus allowing me to rewrite any or all of the parts I want and in many cases I have to do some pretty crazy project request that I’d never be able to do with any of the proprietary solutions.

Case in point; In a recent project the customer wanted to add in http://schema.org (micro-data) to elements in the listings details pages so that he could levarge the same SEO tacticts tha Real Estate Webmasters sites have in them. So after doing a little looking around at what he was showing me on the REW sites listings page source code I could see what he was talking about and he then explained that he had already tried Diverse Solutions and IDX-Broker solutions and neither allow him to do this  > I thought WOW! < now that’s something I had never even thought about or looked at before!

With the RETS PRO solution I was not only able to add in all of his requested http://schema.org elements to his listings but I was also able to throw in an additional section in his listings details page that adds totally dynamically driven content using the RETS PRO conditionals code snipets! Now this customer has a site that can not only now compete with a REW site it can now DOMINATE the REW sites in his area due to the extra dynamically added SEO address and content weight that we’ve added to the listings template to help him out rank everyone else for the long-tail-seo address searches in his market = cool eh?!

Please comment below if you have any questions about the project above, if I seen that anyone is interested I’ll post some screenshots of the project to further explain things.

RETS PRO Review with Chad Broussard

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I have been talking with Chad Broussard about the all the new WordPress RETSPRO Plugin features and what is in store with their newest release and it really sounds promising. I’ll be making some notes and looking forward to doing a full blown review on the latest greatest WordPress Real Estate Plugins later in September. In the mean time I am super busy reading and writing some much needed updates to all my social network sites over the next few weeks.

So stay tuned for a full RETS PRO Review later next month!