HiCentral MLS Introduces Virtual Open Houses and Virtual Showings

HiCentral MLS has launched new tools for the primary purpose of enablling REALTORS®, their clients, and consumers to virtually view properties while in-person showings and open houses/brokers opens are temporarily halted. Beginning Wednesday, April 15, virtual open houses and virtual showings are enabled through our Matrix system and will be distributed on various public websites, including HiCentral.com.

IMPORTANT REMINDER:  All traditional in-person open houses for both the public and brokers are still suspended until May 1st or until further notice.

Differences between virtual options

Virtual or 360 Tours
Prerecorded and accessible 24/7

Virtual Open Houses & Virtual Showings
Real-time/live events at a set day and time with a host at the property with viewers watching via a live-stream (or similar delivery).

View more details on each virtual option below and how to schedule them in Matrix.

VIRTUAL SHOWINGS VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSES
Defined as: Defined as:
Real-time (live) scheduled property showing conducted virtually, via a live stream for a customer or client. Broker open house - an open invitation to all participating Brokers/Agents to participate in a real-time (live) scheduled event conducted virtually via a live stream

Public open house - an open invitation to any number of prospects to participate in a real-time (live) scheduled event conducted virtually via a live stream

How to enable feature: How to enable feature:

Mark “Virtual Showing” in the showing instructions – both in Matrix, and in ShowingTime. 

Include specific showing instructions in the space provided in ShowingTime or in
the agent remarks in Matrix.

Click here for further instructions.

Go to the open house module in Matrix and schedule an open house as you normally would, except you will choose either the “Virtual Broker” or “Virtual Public” option.  Schedule the date and time to hold the virtual open house which must be hosted and live – not prerecorded.

Click here for further instructions.

Virtual open houses can be found via traditional means – i.e. searched for via Matrix and published on HiCentral.com, and via syndication where supported by the syndicator.

  

Remember these key points:

  • Before proceeding with enabling Virtual Showings & Virtual Open Houses for your listing, you should first consult with your broker/company policy and your client to get their agreement to use this virtual option.
  • Follow all showing and open house guidelines as you would for in-person showings and open houses, including safety and adherence to the Code of Ethics for showings.
    • Additional best practices and considerations for virtual open houses are available here.

  • Limit the number of people at the property conducting the virtual showing or virtual open house to only those absolutely necessary to ensure a safe and successful showing or open house and adhere to distancing protocols at all times. Remember that viewers will be watching the live-stream from their own homes.
  • After the virtual showing or virtual open house, take proper steps to disinfect the property according to CDC guidelines.

 

Virtual Open Houses - Best Practices and Considerations: 

  • Take steps necessary to moderate the conversation – be sure to mute visitors when they’re not talking and help your visitors not talk over one another.
  • Maintain to the best of your ability the confidentiality of parties visiting a virtual open house.
  • As in a traditional open house scenario, make sure to determine if the visitor is working with another REALTOR® before offering your services.
  • Prepare - Script the tour BEFORE the open house to provide a coherent, logical “flow” to the open house.
  • Try to show the scale of the property – i.e. ceiling heights and room sizes relative to known objects, like a twin bed or the like.

 

Resources

HiCentral MLS has compiled some resources below to help you become familiar with these new virtual options to show properties:

NAR on Virtual Showings and Virtual Tours
Mabél Guzmán: A Strategy for Virtual Showings During COVID-19 (NAR)
REALTOR® Magazine virtual open house video (3/28/2017 – 3:35)
How to connect with your virtual open house or virtual showing audience using Facebook live!
CRMLS’ resource page
ShowingTime’s resources regarding virtual showings and virtual open houses

To further help you transition to virtual showings and virtual open houses, we can schedule one-on-one consultations, video conferences, or webinars for your office or firm. Please call or drop us a note at 808-791-3789 or [email protected].

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