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May 2016

NWMLS members log 30,000 showings since soft launch of ShowingTime

NWMLS Member Meeting

Mike Connolly at NWMLS Member Meeting; ShowingTime resultsSince the ShowingTime™ tool was unveiled in early February, Northwest MLS members have scheduled nearly 30,000 showings on-line. That statistic was among updates provided to member brokers and branch managers at the May member meetings.

Along with an overview on ShowingTime, the agenda included staff presentations on a forthcoming new version of Transaction Desk, policies affecting unlisted sales, new procedures for verifying Billing Verification Reports, new compliance software to improve the quality and accuracy of listing data, a preview of INRIX Drive Time software, and reminders on training opportunities and upcoming events. On a lighter note, Tom Hurdelbrink, Northwest MLS president and CEO, shared several fun facts about Washington.

In addition to allowing brokers to schedule and manage showings from any listing in Matrix, the web-based tool called ShowingTime may be used to communicate with clients and other brokers, view showing feedback, generate reports and save time. Since its introduction, the program has experienced steady growth.

An informal poll at the member meeting in Bellevue revealed about one-third of the audience is using the program. For those who have yet to try the time-saving tool, described by the Chicago company that founded it as the industry's "first web-based real estate lead capture, calendaring and notification engine," the MLS offers a preview video, intro webinar, user guides, tutorials, and FAQs .

New version of Transaction Desk expected by late summer

Turning to Transaction Desk, the secure online forms platform and document storage service, Bob Gent announced there was "good news and good news."  A soft launch of a new version is planned for late summer. Developers say the all new platform "keeps all the best features of the old system in a new, more mobile-friendly look and feel."

The forthcoming enhancements include a customizable dashboard, fewer clicks to access information and forms, new templates, better organization of documents with drag and drop upload, new transaction checklists, and more powerful brokerage tools for online filing and compliance management. Super Users will have easier access to office tools.
Gent, the director of business development and member relations at Northwest MLS, said the powerful new version will run in parallel with the existing one, and that training will be available immediately.

Rules changes affect "unlisted sales"

Justin Haag, corporate counsel for the MLS, updated members on recent changes pertaining to "unlisted sales," which include FSBOs (For Sale by Owner - seller not represented) and transactions involving a Seller Representation Agreement (Form 47).

NWMLS rules were revised in early March to allow members to input unlisted sales that closed between Jan. 1 and March 8, the day before the rule revision became effective. Haag reminded members that "unlisted sales" are different from pocket listings, which are against the rules, and that, since March 9 members must input unlisted sales within three days of closing. (For more information, NWMLS members may access Legal Bulletin 207 - Unlisted Sales and User Guides in the support section of the NWMLS website.)

Haag explained these changes were implemented to assure a more complete data set, and to give brokers credit for permissible unlisted sales.  He also noted optional input forms are available and that these sales will be available for IDX display sometime during this year's third quarter.

An analysis of nearly 25,000 closed sales that occurred this year between Jan. 1 and April 30 revealed there were 212 FSBO sales and 244 Seller Representation Agreement sales entered by members; when combined these "unlisted sales" total less than 2 percent of all transactions.

BVRs are going digital!

Haag also provided an update on the April rollout of the transition to an electronic Billing Verification Report (BVR) submittal process and online roster update.  A second phase will affect new subscriber procedures. (NWMLS provides BVRs to offices in January, April, July and October.)

Yet another change Haag discussed was new compliance software to improve the quality and accuracy of listing data, as well as compliance communications and tracking. Among the "cool features" he noted were the check listing feature when inputting a listing, and a widget in Matrix to show compliance issues. This new checker is expected to go live in late June or early July.

Brokers can help clients take the guesswork out of commute times

Members can also look forward to INRIX Drive Time™, with a search feature incorporated into a Matrix map tab so members can pre-qualify homes based on a client's desired drive times.

Based in Kirkland, INRIX provides accurate real-time and predictive traffic information. Its robust driver network includes 275 million vehicles, smartphones, cameras, incidents and other sensors with the ability to cover nearly 5 million miles of road, ramp and interchange in more than 40 countries.

The new app from INRIX is designed to take the uncertainty out of commuting time. House hunters can determine drive times between work and a home that is listed in the MLS database based on INRIX's real-time traffic information.

MLS adding webinar version of General Membership Meetings

In response to member feedback, Northwest MLS is adding a live webinar version of its membership meetings for member brokers and branch managers. Registration links are on the NWMLS website.