Technology partnerships can significantly affect how members interact with their multiple listing services.
It’s not easy to determine what company will be best suited to serve thousands of agents, especially when choosing the wrong one could mean months of angry emails and worse, a collective display of no-confidence and the furthering of the stigma that MLS leaders are technology gatekeepers.
The team at North Carolina Regional MLS (NCRMLS), however, feels confident in its recent technology partner choices, selecting BrokerBay to round out what it calls its “MLS Virtual Showing Service system.”
BrokerBay’s solution for MLSs allows agents to publish digital twins of their listings within the MLS’s home search experience, the 3D content for which is created by Matterport or iGuide, according to user preference.
The software empowers users to chat or video conference live with buyers while digitally touring a property, a great way to preview homes before scheduling an in-person tour, BrokerBay’s core functionality.
Collaborative virtual tours, now a popular offering among multiple content providers, have several benefits, as President of NCRMLS Jody Wainio pointed out in a press release.
“This gives our Realtors a vital tool when working with a remote buyer,” she said. “Moreover, it qualifies the buyers, benefiting all by making it more efficient. Buyers and Realtors do not have to worry about unnecessary travel viewing unqualified homes while searching. Meanwhile, sellers do not have to worry about being displaced by uninterested buyers.”
In addition to pre-showing due diligence and buyer interest qualification, 3D tour technology can be attributed to an increase in people buying homes sight unseen, a trend that surged, relatively speaking, during the pandemic market. While the one-time boiling housing dynamics have relaxed to a simmer, more buyers are comfortable making business decisions from what they see through a browser.
Floor plans, too, can be navigated using the BrokerBay-NCRMLS experience, expanding the value to appraisers and inspectors. An August Inman report on CubiCasa, a digital floor plan software, shares that 67 percent of homeshoppers consider floor plans a valuable digital asset when looking at properties. The statistic came from the 2021 report of the National Association of Realtors. It should be noted that only 58 percent of respondents said virtual tours are valuable listing content.
“Floor plan demand continues growing rapidly, fueled by Fannie Mae’s recent move requiring a floor plan for their desktop appraisals,” NCRMLS stated in the release. Matterport and iGuide’s software can also include room measurements.
Members of NCRMLS can hire one of the organization’s many certified partners to capture the digital tour content or handle it themselves. Matterport has a mobile app, and iGuide’s Planix camera is one of the more advanced and compact iterations on the market. However, Ricoh’s Theta camera line offers the industry’s most flexible capture option.
NCRMLS Director of Marketing and Communications Patrick LaJeunesse told Inman in a phone call, that the organization started talks with BrokerBay in February 2022.
“Then we started working on the photography directory, as we see that as the most important connection between the agents and the technology,” LaJeunesse said.
North Carolina Regional MLS has close to 12,000 members. More information and software training sessions can be found on a webpage NCRMLS published specifically for the BrokerBay partnership.