2021 is almost over and it’s been one for the record books! Picking up right where we left off after a challenging 2020 in which we worked closely with industry stakeholders to help residential real estate overcome unprecedented challenges, 2021 was another busy year for ShowingTime. Now, as we head into a year that promises to be every bit as productive as the last, we decided to look back on just a few of the ways we’ve collaborated with our partners to move the industry forward during the last 12 months.
Swift Solutions for a Hot Market
When industry experts reflect on 2021, the first topic they’re sure to highlight will be the unprecedented historic buyer demand coinciding with a meager supply of available listings. This one-two punch not only made life difficult for buyer’s agents, who faced long days competing for dwindling inventory on behalf of their clients, but also for listing agents who had to juggle a flurry of offers.
One of the first signs that buyer demand would reach new heights was seen in February, when showing data indicated that storm-ravaged Texas was seeing a rapid turnaround in home showing traffic following the region’s atypical winter weather.
“The latest ShowingTime data indicate that home showing activity surged throughout Texas to kick off 2021, ground to a halt in mid-February due to Winter Storm Uri and has since risen dramatically following the return of seasonal weather.
‘Showings across Texas are increasing right now with the same trajectory as they declined,’ said ShowingTime President Michael Lane. ‘During a 10-day stretch beginning on February 10, we saw showing traffic drop 64.2 percent. On February 20 activity started returning to normal.’”
Given the demand witnessed in most markets throughout much of the year, it was clear that agents and their clients would need a helping hand to deal with the increased workload. To help all agents smoothly facilitate showings in the increasingly competitive marketplace, ShowingTime introduced a host of new features that quickly became must-haves for busy real estate professionals.
“If your market is like most, available inventory is at a premium. So common is a shortage of inventory throughout the country that the topic has received prominent coverage from national media, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Findings from ShowingTime’s own recent research further highlight the nature of the real estate landscape, noting that showings per listing are up significantly in many markets.
While these conditions can undoubtedly be favorable for sellers, they also offer new challenges for their agents. Fortunately, ShowingTime is committed to helping agents succeed in any market and we know from experience serving agents, teams, offices and MLSs how vital it is to offer the right tools to tackle the evolving landscape.”
Showing data during the summer of 2021 revealed historic rates of showings per listing in many markets throughout the country. This predictably put a great deal of pressure on agents looking to schedule a showing for their clients during increasingly booked days. Enter ShowingTime’s Waitlist feature.
“It’s a common occurrence in today’s low inventory, high demand market: a listing goes on the market, followed immediately by a flurry of showing activity. In fact, during the first five days a listing is active, if you don’t act quickly, you might not get in.
You can find countless stories of listings with 30, 40 and even 50 showings in the first week, with multiple offers submitted. Then, as is often seen in consumer real estate apps, buyers might see a note that says, ‘no more showings, best and final offers by 5pm Sunday’.
What’s an agent to do? Thankfully, the new Waitlist feature from ShowingTime can help.”
Managing offers can be troublesome for all parties, even during times of relative slowness. Coupled with the demand the industry experienced throughout much of the last year, you have conditions that can make the process a nightmare. Fortunately, we saw an opportunity to do for offers what we’re known for doing with showings with the release of our latest service: Offer Manager.
“ShowingTime, the residential real estate industry’s leading showing management and market stats technology provider, reported that its Offer Manager platform, used by listing agents and buyer’s agents across North America, helped them manage more than 120,000 offers during the real estate industry’s multiple-offer frenzy of the past year.
Offer Manager provides agents with an experience that is intuitive, presenting a ‘submit an offer’ button that can be used from any device. It reduces the number of panic-laden ‘Did you get my offer?’ calls, emails and text messages between agents, and instead infuses clarity into one of the many challenging tasks real estate agents face: communicating clearly with each other about offers.”
Continued Efforts to Offer Peace of Mind
Communities throughout the country made tremendous strides in adapting to the realities brought on by COVID-19 in 2021. Yet it became increasingly clear as the year went on that a complete return to the pre-pandemic normal is still to come for many markets in the U.S. and Canada. In light of the evolving situation, we continued to refine our existing efforts to help agents and their clients navigate the challenges imposed by the pandemic throughout 2021.
March 2021 marked the one-year anniversary of what is generally recognized as the beginning of when the pandemic began to have an impact on our day-to-day lives. To mark the occasion and to offer an update on how we’ve continued to work to help agents and their clients during these times, we offered a one-year retrospective of our efforts.
“Without a doubt, the pandemic had an impact on every facet of our lives. But one thing the pandemic failed to alter has been the incredible spirit of collaboration that has defined the relationship we’ve had with our clients since ShowingTime first began serving the industry in 1999.
Throughout the last year, the feedback we’ve received has helped us better understand the unique needs and obstacles clients face and implement new solutions to accommodate them. Beyond introducing new products like ShowingTime LIVE Video, we’ve also made changes to our existing products to provide peace of mind to our clients and your clients. With you, we’ve been able to remain nimble in the face of new challenges and adapt to help move the rapidly evolving industry forward.”
Pandemic-related concerns are only one area of our focus for helping agents manage stress-free showings. 2021 also saw the release of new features, the expansion of existing offerings and more options for customization designed to provide peace of mind throughout the showing process – all available to ShowingTime users at no additional cost.
“Lockboxes offer a secure way to provide access to a home for a showing. But what if lockbox access could be made even more secure?
ShowingTime Secure Access was developed specifically to meet that need. Secure Access is integrated with all major lockbox vendors, including standard combination boxes, to provide lockbox access while keeping private details secure. With Secure Access, showing agents receive access details just prior to the confirmed appointment time. Using the ShowingTime mobile app, agents gain one-touch access to compatible devices by simply tapping the ‘Unlock’ button during the appointment time, ensuring that the right buyer’s agent has access to the right listing at the right time.”
Reunions with Industry Stakeholders
While the situation in many communities may still not be completely back to normal, 2021 gave us plenty of reason to be positive that better days are just around the corner. One such sign was our ability to once again meet face-to-face with the industry at many of the industry’s premier events – a long-awaited experience for us all!
The ShowingTime Executive Forum is our annual event for industry leaders to gather and share their thoughts on the latest ShowingTime technology. This year, we had the great fortune to see many leaders in person and even more virtually with this year’s event.
“Last month, nearly 200 MLS and association leaders joined us either in person or online to learn about the latest ShowingTime products and features at the 2021 ShowingTime Executive Forum.
Unlike last year’s event, which was an entirely virtual affair due to safety considerations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 100 ShowingTime clients were able to join us in person this year at the historic University Club of Chicago. Along with their counterparts following along live online, attendees were given a first look at what’s next for ShowingTime’s showing management and market statistics services.”
Like the ShowingTime Executive Forum, the 2021 REALTORS® Conference & Expo allowed us to learn and share with clients and partners in the industry in person once again.
“The 2021 REALTORS® Conference & Expo has come and gone, but we’re still buzzing from the experience of once again being able to connect with many of you in person. After last year’s pause on a face-to-face convening, it was energizing to learn first-hand from residential real estate’s diverse membership as well as to share all the exciting things we’ve been working on throughout the year. And, given the feedback we received at the event, attendees were just as appreciative for the opportunity.
As we look ahead to the new year, the conference served as a great inspiration for reflecting on how the industry has evolved in the last year and the shape it will take in 2022.”
A Look at the Future of Home Showing Management
There’s no question about it, this year saw some incredible transformation in home showing management. Of course, we welcome the attention the space has received, and we’re hard at work to continue to illustrate why ShowingTime has been the uncontested leader in the industry for more than 20 years. Building off that experience, we’ve been hard at work developing a complete refresh of our showing management user experience which we’ll be rolling out to ShowingTime users in early 2022. This year, we gave a look at what users can expect with this evolution.
“The redesign – the result of feedback gathered over the past two years from users participating in focus groups and one-on-one conversations with the ShowingTime product team – is an evolution of the company’s showing management and market stats platforms incorporating the best-in-class user experiences from tools used by real estate professionals.
‘Our redesign is meant to give users an intuitive experience that takes the best attributes of other software products they’re using in their work lives and personal lives,’ said ShowingTime President Michael Lane. ‘We’ve invested in streamlining how our products work together and have enhanced the features our clients already know and love while adding new features they’ve requested. We pride ourselves on giving our clients great tools, so this is a logical next step toward our goal of helping real estate professionals succeed.’”
2021 was a busy year for ShowingTime, but the pace in which we released new features, enhancements, products and options will be even more fevered in the year to come. We’re excited to have you join us on this journey to make home showing management effortless, and we can’t wait to pull back the curtains on what we have in store!
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