How MLSs Are Helping Agents Affected by COVID-19

How MLSs Are Helping Agents Affected by COVID-19

As more and more cities, counties, and states across the country are put under stay-at-home orders to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve seen so many of our MLS partners quickly step in to effect changes and share resources to help keep their agents and communities safe.

We’d like to elevate some of the advice and guidance they are sharing, in hopes that it can help support other agents across the country.

1. Integrating virtual open houses, tours, and showings

One of the biggest shifts that MLSs have taken is making it easier for agents and their clients to opt for virtual open houses, tours, and showings. This move helps ensure that buyers can still explore listings while social distancing, and that sellers feel comfortable marketing their home.

For instance, we’ve seen the MIAMI Association of REALTORS® support virtual open houses and showings on teleconferencing sites like Zoom, as well as social media networks like Facebook and Instagram Live.

Many MLSs have added fields to their data feeds to denote virtual options more seamlessly. Bright MLS, MLSOK, FMLS, SmartMLS, and Florida Keys MLS are just a few of the MLSs that have made it easy for agents to implement virtual open houses and tours for their clients. Florida Keys MLS even shared a helpful guide for running a virtual listing presentation for potential sellers.

We were also thrilled to see MLSs like the Iowa City Area Association of REALTORS®, MIAMI, and NNRMLS tell their agents about Homesnap Stories – a free Homesnap Pro feature that allows agents to create virtual tours right on their Homesnap listings, just like Stories on Instagram or Facebook.

2. Removing in-person open houses

There are also MLSs that have taken stronger measures regarding open houses, as regulations have evolved in their areas. CRMLS, Baldwin Realtors, and South Central Kansas MLS are just a few of the MLSs that temporarily removed open houses in response to local stay-at-home orders, to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

3. Sharing resources to mitigate business impact

The federal government recently passed the CARES Act, a $2 trillion coronavirus aid package that has several provisions for small business owners and self-employed workers like real estate agents. We’ve seen LBAR, Baldwin Realtors, Grand Junction Area Realtor Association, and the California Association of Realtors– to name a few – quickly share information to help real estate agents understand how they can take advantage of this assistance right now.

We’ve also seen many MLSs share some of NAR’s latest resources, including those around TeleHealth for members.

4. Keeping agents in-the-know about regulations affecting their business

Greater Rochester Association of REALTORS®, located in one of the states hit hardest by coronavirus, has been sending near-daily updates to members so they are clear on how new rules and regulations affect their business. These clearly map out frequently asked questions, so agents are always up-to-date on what they can and cannot do as government guidance evolves. 

5. Sharing online learning opportunities

With so many agents spending more time online and at home, MLSs like Lawrence Board of REALTORS®, Iowa City Area Association of REALTORS®, and Northwest Iowa Regional Board of REALTORS® are highlighting our Homesnap University page, which is filled with videos, tutorials, and other resources for making the most of Homesnap Pro and introducing your clients to Homesnap, too. 

Auditing your digital tools and figuring out how to make the most of them is not only valuable during this time of social distancing, but also for when things return to normal. The tech you adopt now will still be beneficial to your business down the road. 

6. Holding online discussions instead of in-person meetings

Many MLSs are making it easy for agents to get the information they need about coronavirus mitigation without coming into the office. From Bonita-Springs Estero Board of REALTORS® to Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of REALTORS®, MLSs are making it a priority to get agents on video chat so they can provide guidance on how to conduct business during this moment and dig into specific topics that are at the top of agent’s minds right now.

7. Advising on how to work-from-home safely and efficiently

With more agents spending time at home, it’s essential that their workspace is in prime condition. Northwest Wyoming Board of REALTORS® shared some valuable info on how to boost your Internet speed while working from home, while Northwest Iowa Regional Board of REALTORS® and Hudson Valley Catskill Region MLS advised agents on how to keep their home clean and sanitized