GRAR Technology News
Thursday, April 30, 2020
  • Virtual Tours, Showings, and Open Houses Review
  • MLS Rules Series
  • Homesnap - Two New Features
  • ShowingTime - Virtual Showings
  • RPR - REALTORS Property Resource
  • Weekly Webinar Update
Virtual Tours, Showings, Open Houses
Virtual Tours, Showings and Open Houses - Let’s Review
Since this is likely to become part of the standard way of doing business, it is very important to all be using the correct terms for all things virtual. Let’s review:
  • Virtual Tour - Pre-recorded media (slide show, video, or other media) hosted on a URL and available on demand. Ex. YouTube video. We have had these available in Matrix for a long time. Nothing new here.
  • Virtual Showing - Real-time (live) scheduled property showing conducted virtually via live stream (or similar delivery) for an identified customer or client. Ex. Zoom live stream (offers two-way communication). Not pre-recorded (ex. YouTube).  A Virtual Showing requires an appointment, a request for feedback, tracking and reporting, and can be used with your ShowingTime account. Not an open invitation for other buyers to attend (this is a private showing). 
  • Virtual Open House - Real-time (live) scheduled event conducted virtually via live stream (or similar delivery), ex. Zoom live stream (offers two-way communication).  Not pre-recorded (ex. YouTube).  Open invitation to any number of prospects. Tips from Homesnap (one of the national portals) on Virtual Open Houses–
  1. Some who are confusing virtual tours for virtual open houses are also setting their virtual open houses to last 24 hours. If possible, please limit the number of hours for your virtual open house to a reasonable amount of time.
  2. Some are putting Virtual Tours in the Virtual Open House URL field. The Virtual Open House display implies that there is a "live" event occurring (i.e. a Zoom live stream, etc.), so if a virtual tour appears instead, this could be disappointing for consumers who are simply directed to static content.
  3. In some cases, agents are putting the URL and a description into the Virtual Open House URL field and are not using the Open House Description field for non-URL content. Nothing will show up on the website at all if an agent types a description into the URL field (many vendors will blank it out including the URL).
MLS Rules Series
Have you been following our weekly MLS Rules series on Facebook? Each week, we highlight a different MLS Rule to help educate members based on a calls we have received in our department. See below for the topics covered so far. To join our Facebook Group, find us under Greater Rochester Association of REALTORS®, Inc.

We would love to have your comments and questions to help us assist everyone have a better understanding of the rules going forward. Please send any questions or comments to GRARMSRules@grar.net

Homesnap - New Features!
Edit Listings and Advanced Search Filters
Now, you can edit your listings right in Homesnap (now live on web, iOS, and Android). Click on Me in your Homesnap mobile app (when logged in as an MLS member) or on the web, then under My Listings , click on your listing and then Edit Listing . After a quick login to the MLS, you can edit the price, change status, and/or update the Public and/or Private Remarks when you are out and about.

We are also happy to announce that Homesnap has released advanced search filters (now live on web, iOS, and Android). These filters are now available for both agents and consumers. In the midst of this pandemic, people are still searching for homes in great numbers on our website and through our app. These new search filters will have an immediate impact on their user experience in Homesnap.

The following search filters are now available:
  • Stories
  • School Ratings
  • HOA Fees
  • Parking
  • Basement
  • Pool
  • Waterfront
  • View
  • Heating and Cooling
  • Pet-friendly (rentals only)
  • Plus additional filters for Fireplace, Hardwood Floors, In-Law Suite, Accessible Homes, Senior Community, Furnished (rentals only)
ShowingTime - Virtual Showings
Our latest release gives listing agents more control over how they prefer showings are conducted on their listings and the capability to easily communicate appointment information for each listing.  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 in ShowingTime, 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.

RPR - REALTORS Property Resource
This week we are highlighting RPR mailing labels. Don’t let the current environment stop you from connecting with clients and customers via direct mail. RPR just increased your free mailing label allowance from 2,000 to 4,000 per month! 

Making the Most of Your Next Direct Mail Campaign

Watch Now [webinar playback] or Read The Article
Weekly Webinar Update
The Google Universe Webinar Series Continues Today
Thursday April 30 at 1pm or 3pm

We've had the “Google Guy”, G. William James, here several times over the years to teach us about all things Google. While we are all working from home, William invites you to attend his “Social Distancing Series” at no cost. This week’s webinar will give you a guided tour of the best features of Google Drive, how to use these innovative apps to improve how you communicate, share and collaborate on documents with clients and colleagues alike, and to use the cloud computing benefits of Drive to direct you to new business heights, all using the power of Google.
Sign up for the free webinar with your RSVP and reserve your space. A link to the actual webinar will arrive in your email the day of the webinar.

Recently Recorded Webinars Now on Our Website
Now you can visit https://www.grar.org/online-tech-training to learn more about all of our MLS Tools via recorded video and sometimes live webinars including Matrix, Realist, TransactionDesk, ShowingTime, ListHub, RPR, realtor.com, ePropertyWatch, Supra, and more. We have also posted some recently recorded webinars from our instructors. Here is a sample from Jman Seminars:
  • How to do Virtual Showings (1:38) 4.26.2020
  • Please join us for an in-depth tutorial about all of the different ways that virtual showings can occur and still be in compliance with ESD guidelines.
  • How to be a Virtual Agent (56 min) 4.10.2020
  • Are you wondering how to do your business while being deemed an essential or non-essential part of the workforce? In this session, real estate professionals will gain the tools necessary to work virtually while keeping their social distance. They will be able to virtually show homes, hold virtual open houses, present/consult with buyer’s and seller’s remotely while still communicating more effectively with today’s tech-savvy consumer and providing equal and ethical service to all.
  • Conversational Marketing with Facebook Chatbots (1:19) 4.13.2020
  • Have you ever wondered what conversational marketing was? Have you experienced a chatbot and wondered how they worked? Do you have a Facebook Page that you could use greater engagement?