Safely navigating showings has become one of the more challenging aspects for real estate professionals. At NorthstarMLS, we hear about these challenges and the need for extra diligence and cooperation among agents to keep everyone safe. While we cannot dictate how agents and sellers manage their showings (except that you have a confirmed appointment to access the property), we offer these hopefully helpful suggestions from your fellow agents:

  • Per the Code of Ethics, follow the guidelines set by the seller and their agent. If requested, wear a mask, use sanitizer, wear shoe covers, touch as little as possible (wear gloves), etc. Consider whether leaving a business card may make the seller feel uncomfortable. You may want to take these and other precautions regardless of whether asked.
  • Do not run over your allotted appointment time. Aside from a possible Code of Ethics complaint (and potentially fineable), if you stay past your scheduled time, you are affecting the next appointment who likely needs to wait outside until you are finished (or the ability of the owner and their family to return).
  • The default setting in ShowingTime is to not allow overlapping showings. Though not recommended, if you override this setting to allow overlap, please inform your showing agents.
  • If you are the List Agent and have guidelines, communicate them clearly to all showing agents. Set the home ahead of time to facilitate, for example interior doors open and lights on (to minimize need to touch), provide sanitizer at key locations, etc.
  • Notify the List Agent (or click “Done Showing” in the ShowingTime app) if you leave significantly earlier than your scheduled finish time.
  • Consider the optimal time for your showing appointments. As List Agent, what should you set as the maximum appointment time given the current high demand? We hear that a lot of appointments allow up to an hour, causing available appointments to fill very quickly and limiting the pool of buyers. Also, some showing agents schedule for only 15 minutes and then run into overlapping with the next appointment because they did not allow enough time.
  • Review this Open Houses Guide with tips from Minnesota Realtors Association
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Configure Your Listings for Virtual Showings in ShowingTime 

With ShowingTime’s latest release, listing agents can now configure their listings for 1) Virtual Appts Only 2) In-Person and Virtual Appts or 3) In-Person Appts Only. This setting can be configured per listing by choosing from a drop-down menu on each listing’s setup worksheet, or agents can choose a setting for all their listings in their user profile.

When Virtual Appts Only is selected, the access details for the home are intentionally hidden from the buyer’s agent. They remain in the account should you decide to switch the listing back to allow In-Person Appts, but are not visible for Virtual Appts Only since no one will be accessing the home.

Notes added by the listing agent are highlighted for easy visibility by the buyer’s agent and include information on how the virtual showing will happen. When using the ShowingTime app, agents can easily share these notes by tapping the newly added ‘share’ button and sending the information via text or email.

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New ShowingTime Appointment Type Now Available: Virtual Showing

ShowingTime has added a new appointment type, Virtual Showing, for showing agents to use when requesting a showing. By selecting this option, the showing agent is indicating to the listing agent that their client would prefer a virtual showing of the property. The showing agent can also add a note for the listing agent indicating which streaming video technology they prefer to use for the showing (FaceTime, Zoom, etc.).

Reference ShowingTime’s Virtual Showing Guide for help getting started and for more information on virtual showings, check out their resource page.

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Have you been thinking about conducting virtual showings on your listings? ShowingTime has put together a helpful resource on how you can use live streaming services in tandem with ShowingTime.

Click this link for the ShowingTime resource web page that includes instructional videos and a link to download a brief instructional guideline. Below is one of the videos on how to use Zoom with ShowingTime.

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Overlapping Showing Appointments and Showing Trend Charts

Many of you have already changed the Showings settings on your listings to not allow overlapping appointments. Starting 8:00pm Wednesday March 25, ShowingTime is automatically setting the default to "No Overlapping Showings." Here is their message:

Due to overwhelming agent demand and a desire for the safest possible showings for all concerned, ShowingTime will be updating all current listings and the default for new listings to be “No Overlapping Showings” so that by default two showing agents won’t be scheduled to be in the same property at the same time. Agents and offices can change their defaults later when or if they deem it appropriate, but we want to make sure that the default assumption on any listings in the ShowingTime system is “no overlap” unless specifically designated by the listing agent or listing office. 

Local and National Showing Trends Chart
Do you wonder how the current pandemic situation is affecting showings activity? ShowingTime has created charts showing the Impact of COVID-19 on Real Estate Showings. All charts are updated daily.

Do you wonder how the current pandemic situation is affecting showings activity? ShowingTime has created a chart showing the Impact of COVID-19 on Real Estate Showings in North America.

This chart is updated daily and is based on their top 100 markets, including NorthstarMLS. They plan to eventually post regional versions of the chart. But according to ShowingTime, so far the indicators are pretty even nationwide.

Reminder, our rule requiring availability for showings on Active listings has been suspended until further notice (as long as you disclose it in Public Remarks).

NorthstarMLS continues to operate at full availability and support.

Check out these five time-saving features you can do from anywhere you have your tablet or smartphone handy on the ShowingTime mobile app.

1. Sync Showings to Your Mobile Calendar
Never worry about missing your next appointment, or spending time trying to find the information you need! With a few taps, you can sync your showing schedule straight to your phone’s calendar.

Here’s How: Click on “My Profile & Settings,” then scroll down to “Calendar Sync.”

2. Easily Manage Feedback
From the app, you can both request feedback from showing agents and respond to showing feedback requests. You don’t have to worry about yourself or other agents forgetting about feedback that could potentially be important to sell the listing.

Here’s How: Visit “Feedback” on the main page, where all inbound and outbound requests can be managed. Watch our video on leaving feedback with the app.

3. Give Your Sellers Access
An app just for your clients! My Home by ShowingTime, which can be used to confirm showings, view feedback you’ve approved, review their home’s listing activity, contact you, view upcoming showings and more.

Here’s How: When you tag your client to a listing, they will receive an email inviting them to download the My Home app.

4. View Reports
You don’t need to worry about being at your desktop computer – you can view listing activity reports right from your mobile device. This can be very helpful when you need some in-depth information in short order.

Here’s How: From the main page, scroll down to “Reports” and select a listing.

5. Search for Listings to Show
Sometimes you may find yourself waiting in the car or perhaps waiting at a listing. You might have to make a quick lunch stop. With the ShowingTime mobile app, you can fill the time by searching for listings from wherever you are. Even down time can be productive!

If you haven’t downloaded the ShowingTime app to your mobile device, get it now! You get instant access to your showings, feedback, reports and more.

With Fall season here, showings are on the rise and so are complaints about rules violations (such as entering a listing without an appointment) and serious etiquette violations (such as failing to lock the door when you and your client leave). We thought it a good time for a reminder for all of us about the importance of following showing rules and etiquette.

While this is not an official or complete list, our infographic illustrates some common showing etiquette behaviors that you can share with your office or team members. 

Etiquette Quick Tips: 

  • Be on time
  • If the showing gets canceled or postponed, let the listing office know immediately so the seller can be contacted
  • View the home together with your potential buyer — avoid letting them roam the home by themselves
  • Never allow buyers to enter a property unaccompanied
  • Leave your business card in the house after the showing as a courtesy to the seller
  • Make sure you’ve confirmed the showing so you or your clients are not waiting or turned away
  • Use your own lockbox or e-key to open the property for a showing
  • Take your shoes off before you start the showing — a good sign of respect to the current homeowner
  • Honor the listing agent’s relationship with the seller and encourage the seller to direct all questions to his or her agent
  • Have a listing sheet ready with all the info of the property for buyers to easily refer back to
  • Respect you client by limiting your use of cell phones or computers to the business a hand
  • Don’t allow anyone to eat, drink, smoke, dispose of trash or bring pets into the property
  • Double check that all doors & windows are locked before you leave the property
  • Report any problems with the property to the Listing Agent

The video below offers showing etiquette tips that we’ve received from agents, along with some plain common sense, to help ensure a pleasant house hunting experience. Give it a view if you have two minutes – you might get a chuckle!

My Home by ShowingTime — improve your seller’s experience!

My Home by ShowingTime is now available for clients working with NorthstarMLS subscribers/agents. With My Home, sellers will now enjoy an improved experience — no matter what device they are using: desktop, mobile or tablet. The new modern user interface, intuitive navigation, messaging and streamlined workflow make it easy for sellers to use My Home to manage showings and feedback on their property.

Share My Home App with Your Clients Now!
Share the free My Home app by ShowingTime, where your sellers can easily manage showings and feedback on their listings all in one place. Available on iOS and Android. Sellers using the old ShowingTime app will see these updates with these improvements on their devices once they’ve installed the update.

Here’s a quick Seller’s Guide to My Home by ShowingTime.

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Gearing up for the spring market? That likely means more showings and open houses. The video below offers showing etiquette tips that we’ve received from agents, along with some plain common sense, to help ensure a pleasant house hunting experience. Give it a view if you have two minutes – you might get a chuckle! Don’t forget to use ShowingTime to manage your showings & open houses. It’s a NorthstarMLS core service and part of your MLS subscription. Questions? Our rules & regs staff is here to help! Contact us at help@northstarmls.com or 651-251-3210.
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