On Feb 10th, Inman reported that Zillow had purchased ShowingTime for $500 million. While ShowingTime promotes itself as a groundbreaking web-based real estate lead capture, calendaring, and notification engine, it often serves as a complex and seldom-used showing management tool for Realtors.
My Experience with ShowingTime
As a licensed Realtor in Oregon, I used ShowingTime on several occasions and found the interface clunky and far from user-friendly. In my experience, the features were rarely used by Realtors, and I didn’t know a single Realtor in Eugene who actively utilized ShowingTime. In fact, I only encountered the software once during my time in real estate.
Texting & Calling the Listing Agent: A Superior Method for Now
Effective communication is crucial for Realtors to succeed. Much of what they learn from direct text or phone conversations with other agents is organic and human, qualities that are difficult to automate. These interactions help establish or reaffirm agent-to-agent relationships before submitting offers.
Automated Showing Tools Are Improving
Newcomer Instashowing.com, though lacking direct MLS feed integration or embedded MLS relationships, offers compelling advantages for Realtors and MLSs wanting to distance themselves from Zillow’s influence. Its user experience is more modern and appealing than ShowingTime’s.
The Future of Automated Showing Tools
Hypothetically, there are numerous metrics that could provide brokerages and agents with vital data:
- No-show agent accountability.
- Average number of showings until an accepted offer.
- Property metadata/showing count ratio for better predictions.
While Zillow will gather significant data regarding showings and Realtor interactions through ShowingTime, the actual information may be less than what agents might expect due to its low adoption rate. This presents an opportunity for MLSs to negotiate contracts with third-party vendors like InstaShowing, which are not connected to Zillow.
In the broader context, Zillow’s market share, competitors, and complex relationship with Realtors are worth examining to understand the future of automated showing tools and their impact on the real estate industry.