Debuting in Dallas, Houston, Denver and Atlanta, the consumer-facing software update will speed up home showings in light of the reduced number of days listings remain on the market.

A new feature from home showing technology provider ShowingTime will allow consumers to see a home’s availability through an agent or broker’s website.

ShowingTime is debuting the live showing scheduler in Dallas, Houston, Denver and Atlanta, and will become nationally available later this year, the company said in a statement Monday. The markets were selected because of the number of heavy ShowingTime users, and the overall pace of their sales.

The consumer-facing software update is intended to quicken home showings in light of the reduced number of days listings remain on the market. Customers that use ShowingTime’s API to feed data into their listing pages can leverage the feature to show all available leads and spoken-for times dynamically. Historically, a consumer may select a “schedule a tour” button only to be stymied by a display that doesn’t indicate times already booked.

Michael Lane, vice president and general manager of ShowingTime, told Inman in a phone call that the new live calendar feature is similar to how Open Table handles restaurant bookings.

“If you go to a broker’s website to schedule a showing, it’s most often not a smart calendar,” Lane said. “If you go to those calendars, they show you a wide open menu of choices of times, when in reality, a bunch of those are probably taken.”

Another concern for Lane, which he believes this software will solve, is that because offers are received and accepted so quickly today, buyers are too late in trying to schedule a tour.

ShowingTime referred to market statistics from parent company, Zillow, when justifying the update to its product.

“But enduring and extremely strong demand from home buyers meant that those homes that were listed got scooped up in just 11 days in February, six days faster than February 2021 and a full 25 days faster than in February 2020,” Zillow economist Nicole Bachaud said in a company blog post.

ShowingTime also stated that the number of markets averaging double-digit in-person showings per home grew by 45 percent over the past year, from 75 to 109, despite the pandemic making virtual tours a popular alternative.

Home showing is not as easy as merely saying, “Ok” to a request. Listing agents need to ensure seller approval, ensure access via lockboxes, confirm the state of the home, and verify with buyer agents that their buyer is worth burdening a seller. Busy markets make it all that much more time-pressed and complicated, so any step to make it all easier should be welcomed by the industry.

“Back-and-forth conversations about tour availability and scheduling hassles are time consuming and a potential deal killer in today’s fast-paced market,” Lane said in the press statement. “This new feature’s functionality has long been sought in the industry because it helps everyone involved in a transaction — buyers, sellers and agents — by making it crystal clear when a home is available to tour, more quickly and easily getting buyers into the homes they want to see.”

Zillow’s acquisition of ShowingTime surprised the industry, causing many to fear its ownership of showing data would create further advantages for the often-maligned listing marketing company.

It also spurred the development of a number of fledgling competitors, none of which have been able to gain a profitable foothold to date within the MLS community, often considered the quickest path to industry adoption.

RE/MAX President and CEO Nick Bailey even penned a column advising agents to “not panic” about the deal.

“This is a technology company acquiring a technology company to create access to properties,” Bailey said in February of 2021 while then the Chief Customer Officer at RE/MAX. “I’m sure they will innovate, iterate and evolve it.”

Email Craig Rowe

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