BrightMLS COVID-19 Market Updates
Bright MLS announces “Bright Steps Initiative” to support its subscribers and their clients during the Covid-19 outbreak
Bright MLS, the leading multiple listing service (MLS) in the Mid-Atlantic US representing 95,000 real estate professionals in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia, today announced Bright Steps, a campaign launched to support Bright MLS subscribers and the clients whom they represent in light of the very serious ramifications of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“In addition to the unique threat that the coronavirus represents to our public health, the outbreak also has begun to significantly impact the residential real estate industry,” said Brian Donnellan, President, and CEO of Bright MLS. “With Bright Steps, we want to help keep the market moving by giving our subscribers the tools, information, and support that they need during these unprecedented trying times. We want everyone in and around the industry to know that we’ve got their backs and we’re here to support them.”
Concurrent with the initial onset of COVID-19 to the region, Bright MLS worked with key stakeholders; including its Shareholder Associations, brokers and agents to compile a variety of support measures intended to offer assistance to real estate practitioners working to represent their clients and navigate their business. A full list of Bright Steps resources and guidelines can be found at BrightMLS.com/covid19, including information on the following:
Enhanced Flexibility for Virtual Showings – To provide another showing option for clients and their agents currently uncomfortable with in-person exposure, Bright MLS temporarily will allow for the promotion of virtual/online showings within the public notes of a listing. Full information is available at BrightMLS.com/covid19.
Realtime Market Data Reporting – Bright MLS will leverage its diagnostic resources to produce quick-turn data reporting and analysis focusing on market trends, sales activity and status changes in order to provide subscribers with information and timely insights to support their clients’ goals.
Bright Steps Webinar Series – Subscribers will have access to a special webinar series and online Q&A sessions with Bright staff regarding the latest policy alterations and MLS tool/feature usage. External industry experts also will be featured to discuss best professional practices during the COVID-19 period.
Subscriber Tips and Tools – Bright MLS social platforms and Bright Steps landing page will offer a suite of tips and tools for conducting business in this current environment. Advice will span topics from staying healthy while serving clients, fully leveraging virtual showings, best use of MLS statuses, and many other topics.
“The role of the MLS always is to support the real estate marketplace in a manner that benefits all consumers, agents and brokers. Looking back at my career, I can’t think of another time when it was more vital for Bright MLS to live up to this purpose,” said Donnellan. “Bright Steps is just the beginning of how we are ready to work every day with each of our subscribers to help them make the most of this marketplace.”
Bright Steps: Updated guidelines on showings and virtual tours in the MLS
It is Bright’s goal to ensure that all real estate professionals and their clients stay healthy, while still being able to conduct business.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, national, state and local governments throughout the area have asked citizens to restrict contact with each other. As a result, home buyers and sellers may not feel comfortable or may restrict, each other from visiting properties. Home sellers may want to limit the number of people who physically enter their property during this time, while they would still like their property to be listed as for sale.
To help our customers, Bright is taking the following actions starting March 20, 2020, and until the states of emergency are lifted in all of Bright’s footprint.
Virtual Tours/Showing For Active Listings:
Bright will relax its rules requiring in-person/onsite showings for Active and Active Under Contract listings. In-person/onsite showings of properties will not be required during this time, and homeowners reserve the right to prevent people from physically entering the property.
Active properties that will not have in-person/onsite showings must be available for either virtual tours, virtual showings, or to otherwise be available for a walk-through before closing.
A virtual tour is where the listing agent uploads a prerecorded tour of the property. There is no interaction with any person being shown, live or electronically. Virtual tours include, but are not limited to photos, video walk-throughs, 360 / VR views, and interactive floor plans.
A virtual showing occurs when the listing agent or seller uses audio/visual technology (i.e. FaceTime, Skype) to conduct a real-time interactive or directed showing of the property. A virtual showing allows for interaction between the real estate professional and the buyer and may require the real estate professional to be physically present in the property being shown.
Virtual Tours/Showing URLs in Remarks Fields
Bright will continue to allow unbranded (without broker or agent information such as branding and contact info) virtual tours to be entered into the Bright MLS system using hyperlinks. Unbranded virtual tours may also be included in the public remarks. During this period:
Unbranded virtual tours may be included in the public remarks.
A URL for a virtual tour or virtual showing that includes Broker or Agent information (i.e., branding or contact information) may be included in the agent remarks only, and those tours may be hosted on typically non-approved sites such as YouTube.
The listing agent must indicate in either the public remarks, agent remarks, or both whether no in-person/onsite showings are being permitted and that a virtual tour or showing may be scheduled through the listing agent. Cooperating agents may decide to provide their buyers with the link to the branded virtual tour or showing.
Authorization for Pictures/Videos by a Buyer’s Agent
It often is required that a buyer agent obtain authorization from the seller to take photos or videos of a home.
To further promote the ability of agents to engage in “socially distanced” showings, a listing agent may provide in the agent remarks a blanket authorization for a buyer’s agent to take photos and videos of the home. This may be accomplished by including something like the following in the agent remarks:
Seller provides authorization to all cooperating brokers/agents to take photos/videos of the home during a scheduled, unaccompanied showing.