Introducing Virtual Open Houses & Tours of Homes

Mar 31, 2020

During this period of rapid change and uncertainty, we’re here to help you serve your customers while also keeping yourself, your family and community healthy and safe. The necessary restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic make customary, in-person, interactions like Open Houses and Home Tours difficult if not impossible (or even illegal in some markets). Adapting to these restrictions while continuing to make the market work, many MLSs are cancelling in-person open houses and exploring all possibilities to hold “virtual” open houses online. To facilitate, we’ve added the ability for you to schedule virtual open houses and tours of homes in Flexmls Web (as allowed by your MLS).

Who Does This Benefit?
Agents who want to show a home virtually instead of in-person will benefit from this feature. Use it to host an open house for prospective buyers or to schedule a virtual tour of homes for a group of agents in your market. You can use an online communication service or event tool, such as Facebook, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams, to schedule a live online walkthrough of the home. Homebuyers or agents can join your virtual open house/tour of homes and view video via the camera on your phone, or via a shared presentation. Anyone who joins will be able to ask you questions in real time. 

For 5 quick tips on how to set up your listings for virtual success, click here to read a post from Inman. You can also view NAR’S latest guidance on conducting open houses here.

What Are My Options?
You have multiple options for adding digital media (other than photos) to your listings. With the introduction of virtual open houses/tours, we wanted to give you a refresher on how to use each option in Flexmls.

Open House/Tour of Homes:
A live, scheduled event that is either virtual or in-person.
*Available in the Scheduled Marketing Activities section of the Change Listing Page.

Virtual Tour:
A slide show or other interactive media that is pre-recorded or created and not scheduled.
*Available in the Media section of the Change Listing Page.

A walkthrough or presentation that is pre-recorded or created and not scheduled.
*Available in the Media section of the Change Listing Page.

What Has Changed?
Flexmls Web
To accommodate virtual open houses and tours of homes, new options are available on the New Open House and New Tour of Homes pages. You’ll be able to select Virtual or In Person, depending on the settings of your MLS. If you select Virtual, you can add a link to an online event, along with a description for the link.

The following live web conferencing services are allowed:

Upcoming virtual open houses and virtual tours can be viewed in the same places where you are used to seeing open houses and tours of homes.

When you’re viewing listings on the search results page, click the Detail tab, and then click the Open House or Tour of Homes link. For virtual open houses and tours of homes, a clickable link will be displayed in the new Link field.

To search for upcoming tours or open houses, under Daily Functions on the menu, click Tour/Open Houses and enter search parameters. The link to a virtual event will be available in the event details.

Flexmls Pro
When you view a listing on Flexmls Pro for Android, iOS, or Mobile Web, virtual open house/tour of homes information will be included in the listing details. 

Flexmls Portal
Your homebuyers will also be able to view virtual open house information for listings on the Flexmls Portal.

Coming Soon
Links to virtual open houses and tours of homes are currently not available to third-party sites via RETS feeds. We anticipate that this information will become available later this week.

Why We Are Making These Changes
We know that the current pandemic situation is causing uncertainty in your lives and in your business. And we’re committed to helping you adapt to the rapid changes while also keeping yourself, your family, and your community healthy and safe. In an effort to help you continue to make the market work, we accelerated our typical feature release process to make this feature available as soon as possible.