September 2020 Housing Market: Buyers Facing Inventory Shortages causing House Prices to Rise

The housing market is one of the few sectors to experience a true V-shaped recovery following the Coronavirus pandemic. However, the main barrier to rising demand remains the lack of inventory.

In Georgia, the number of active listings in September totaled 17,766, a decrease of 6.6% from the previous month. Year over year active listings are down 43.9% and reached the lowest levels since 2012.

As record-low mortgage rates continue to entice buyers into a market with ever-shrinking supply, the newfound demand is driving up house prices.

In Georgia, the Median Sales price for September is $267,770, an increase of 13.5% year on year, or $31,770.

Sales volume totaled $3.8 billion in September, a decrease of 4.0% from August 2020 and an increase of 44.8% year over year.

John Ryan, Georgia MLS Chief Marketing Officer said:

‘Given the uncertainty of the economy and the pandemic, sellers appear to be reluctant to list their home or are refinancing their mortgage. On the other side we have buyers, especially first-time buyers, taking advantage of record low mortgage rates to fulfil their dream of house ownership. All this resulting in record low levels of inventory.

 ‘Across Georgia we currently have 2 months’ supply of housing. Data has shown that six months of supply is associated with moderate price appreciation. Lower levels tend to push prices up and this is exactly what we have seen across Georgia in recent months.

‘Looking ahead to 2021, many real estate analysts are predicting that the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to a rise in mortgage defaults and foreclosures. If this is the case inventory will increase, in turn resulting in a slowing of price increases and possible decline in pricing depending on the number of houses that come onto the market.’

In Bankrate, Jeff Ostrowski, Senior Mortgage Reporter said:

‘As dramatic as the projections seem, it’s worth noting that foreclosures had fallen to record lows in late 2019. Home prices had risen steadily in the past decade, driven by a strong economy and not enough new construction to satisfy demand.

During the Great Recession, foreclosure filings spiked. In the first half of 2010, 1.65 million American homes went into foreclosure, according to ATTOM. In the first half of 2020, barely 165,000 loans were hit with foreclosure actions. Even if defaults rise dramatically, they’ll remain well below the levels seen during the mortgage meltdown.

(Source: https://infogram.com/br-foreclosure-filings-1hkv2ndprvqr6x3)

Georgia Housing market Trends in Line with National Report

The low inventory trends in Georgia are typical of what we are seeing on the national scale.

Realtor.com reported in the week ending Sept. 19, there were 39% fewer homes on the market compared to last year, and any upcoming uptick is unlikely given the typical seasonal slowdown on the horizon.

The lack of supply has been the catalyst for heated market conditions as median listing prices last week grew at a record 11.1% year-over-year—more than double January’s pace—marking the 19th consecutive week of increasing price tags, the report said.

Click on image to view Housing Market Statistics

Increase Brand and Listing Exposure with Your Georgia MLS Personal Website Provided With Your Membership

In today’s digital world, a website is an essential asset for businesses across the globe and real estate is no different. As part of your Georgia MLS membership, every member receives a personal website, helping to increase exposure of both your brand and your listings.


If you have not set up your personal website yet, do not worry. It is as easy as ABC. Create and maintain your website from our simple to use web portal, no website or coding experience is required.


Why do I need a personal website?
Growing your brand and standing out from the crowd is critical when operating in a highly competitive market. Searchable on the internet via Google and all other search engines, you will gain exposure to prospective clients with no added costs for hosting.


Your personal website is also a great way to increase listing exposure. All listings entered through Paragon, Ditto or the GAMLS portal are automatically published to your website within 15 minutes.


Similarly, listings are automatically populated on our consumer facing website GeorgiaMLS.com, where 659,065 house hunters visited April through October. Prospective buyers can easily access your personal website directly from GeorgiaMLS.com when viewing your listings or your agent profile.


Customization: Stand out from the Crowd
Personalizing your website will help tell your brand story and your welcome message is a key part of that personalization. Prominently positioned on the homepage, use this opportunity to tell prospective clients the most important information about you. Think of it as your online sales pitch and remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so take your time and craft a thoughtful message. It may pay dividends down the line.


Website aesthetics are important, and our portal allows you to choose from a large number of mobile-friendly website themes, select your brand colors, add a profile photo, company logo and more.


Sift through our bank of images and select the best hero image that portrays your brand. Choose from a large selection of images from external and interior house shots to beautiful photographs of the city, lake, mountains and more.


Next up, connect your digital channels to ensure prospective clients can build a full picture of your business and your digital presence. We recommend adding your personal website address to your social media channels and vice versa.


Customizing your website address, or URL, is important for both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and to ensure it aligns with your brand. Within the portal you have the option to customize your URL by simply amending the prefix. For example, Barbara Russell’s personalized URL will roll off her tongue when she shares it with the world by simply amending the prefix – BarbaraRussell.georgiamls.com.


All the personalization options outlined above are updated in real time. Within each section, you will also see instructions to guide you through each section. For example, recommended images sizes are provided. It really is that easy.


Features List
In addition to showcasing your listings, both active and recent sales, in a carousel, the website features a Contact Form. Prospective clients complete a simple form with details of their inquiry, which is automatically sent to the email we have on file for you. Another valuable lead generation channel to add to your toolbox.


Additional features include access to real estate market activity reports, a mortgage calculator, school information and county public records.


Data Insights with Traffic Reports and Google Analytics
Monitoring website traffic is a great way to understand online business activity and can help you make smart decisions. Our personalized website includes built in traffic reports to allow you to track page views, including:

  • Listing views across all member sites in the last 30 days.
  • Most popular listings viewed at your site in the last 30 days.
  • Email leads in the last 60 days.


We also provide the ability to add Google Analytics, all you need to do is set up an account and ID separately.


Look at some Live Examples
https://agarwalmansi.georgiamls.com/
https://alatristaenr.georgiamls.com/
https://mahraalonso.georgiamls.com/
https://victorallen.georgiamls.com/


Access Your Personal Website Portal
Ready to get to work on your new website? For more information on how to set-up and manage your personal website, we recommend watching our step by step video tutorial with Grep Epps, Member Services Manager.


To access your free personal website, simply login to your GAMLS member profile. Select Membership from the main menu then Manage my website.
If you have any questions, please call us at 770-493-9000 or email membership@gamls.com.

Why Professional Development Matters: Top Tips from Greg Epps

The real estate industry is a rapidly changing landscape, with new technology and protocols being updated constantly. As real estate agents navigate these changes, professional development is incredibly important, even beyond the required continuing education courses.

“Personally, I find the real estate industry to be one of the industries where professionals constantly deal with change, whether that is legislation, technology or business best practices,” says Greg Epps, Member Services Manager at GAMLS. “Every real estate professional is dealing with a market full of prospective buyers who want the newest, fastest, easiest way to buy a house. If the agents aren’t keeping up to date with new technology, they will naturally fall behind.”

The key to not falling behind? Staying engaged. The most successful real estate professionals are those who stay current on industry news, market trends and attend networking events.

Virtual Education: The New Normal

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia MLS delivered up to six three-hour classes a day and once lockdown hit, moved its delivery of continuing education online through Zoom classes and Webinar Wednesdays. Epps notes, “We get a lot of ‘aha moments’. It’s usually in those parts in each product where something clicks with the agent.” The value of those lightbulb moments is the real reason we continue to provide these learning opportunities, not just for the licensing requirements.

If you can’t make it to a scheduled webinar, access free recordings of each lesson through the Georgia MLS YouTube Channel, where digestible how-tos and updated webinar recordings are uploaded in full.

New To Real Estate: Network, Network, Network (When it is safe to do so)

“My biggest piece of advice to new real estate professionals entering the industry is be patient, be committed, be determined. Nobody sells 10 homes their first week, says Epps. “Go to professional industry events; the more meetings you go to, the more agents you see who are doing well and you find out what works. There’s a reason people have mentors. But that will never happen unless you show up. So, show up.”

As an MLS that covers the entire state of Georgia, membership value is increased with access to key market statistics and a personal website platform attached to a state-wide public database. For real estate professionals just entering the industry, this visibility is key. The unique aspect of a statewide MLS is that people across the state, not just in your region, can see your listings and reach out to you directly with the public microsites for each real estate agent.

Top Tips

Although showing up and engaging with the industry is the first step to becoming a successful real estate professional, continuing education only builds on that strong foundation. Read below our top tips for keeping your professional development skills sharp.

  1. Attend continuing education classes: Going above and beyond the required hours for training puts you above the average real estate professional in Georgia. Learn about listing best practices, common compliance errors or navigating program updates. This will set yourself apart from other professionals.

  2. Increase Market Awareness: By staying keyed into industry trends, both local and national, real estate professionals can make smarter decisions and better advise their clients. Especially in a year as tumultuous as 2020, staying up to date on market trends will help you deliver a better service to clients. For a high-level view of today’s market, visit our Market Statistics page.

  3. Stay up to date on national industry news: Maintaining awareness of the real estate industry as a whole is important because what’s happening across the country is happening or will be happening in your market. Keep up with publications such as Inman News, Realtor Magazine and Realty Times.

  4. Maintain your public website: Along with maintaining your awareness of the market, make sure your clients maintain their awareness of you. By utilizing GeorgiaMLS.com to customize and maintain your website, you remain visible in the market. Enhance this visibility even further by maintaining a professional, personalized social media page.

  5. Utilize technology: Real estate technology is constantly evolving. Quickly moving from listing books to new websites such as Paragon, Transaction Desk and Cloud CMA can be overwhelming. But with the help of Webinar Wednesdays and step-by-step instructional videos on our YouTube channel, becoming an expert is easier than you may think.

Now that you’re equipped to handle the ever-changing market, you can sign up for upcoming webinars to stay ahead of your peers. Learn more from Greg Epps, Member Services Manager, through our latest YouTube video and other Webinar Wednesday features.

If you have any questions please call us at 770-493-9000 or email membership@gamls.com.

Georgia MLS Updated Photo Policy

In an effort to keep adapting to our members’ needs, Georgia MLS has updated the Photo Policy to allow additional marketing opportunities when compiling your client’s listing photos. In addition to the pre-existing image requirements, below are a few new improvements:

  • Collages are allowed as the primary image as long as the front of the home is contained in that set of photos
  • Drone photos are allowed as the primary if it is an up-close photo of the home
  • Twilight photos are allowed as the primary image if it is not completely dark outside
  • Virtually staged photos must not be deceptive

All residential active listings must have a primary photo associated with it within 10 business days after the listing has been entered into the system. Listings designated as No Photo Desired must have written authorization from the seller to exclude a primary image, which must be provided to the service upon request. Residential listings that do not account for a photo will be subject to a fine.

Listing content including, but not limited to, photos, images, drawings, graphics and virtual tours related to listed property become the property of Georgia MLS at the time of submission. The act of submitting listing content to Georgia MLS grants our service ownership and authority to disseminate this content in Georgia MLS’ copyrighted databases.

The removal of listing content that diminishes the quality or accuracy of the listing is strictly prohibited and will result in compliance penalties until the listing content is restored.

Image Requirements

  • The focus of the primary photo must be the listed property and should be an image of the full exterior front view taken in daylight.
  • Images must be of sufficient quality to be reproduced.
  • Images must not include contact information, recognizable signage, or marketing/promotional messages.
  • Alterations to images such as decorative frames, watermarks, time stamps, or false color representation are not allowed.
  • Images should not contain people or animals.
  • Renderings or plat maps are acceptable for listings under construction. These must be replaced with an acceptable image when the structure is recognizable. Members are encouraged to update the primary photo to reflect stages of construction.
  • If a primary photo is provided for other non-residential property types, it must follow the same rules governing listed residential property.
  • Photos taken by drones are required to be front facing not top down to be allowed as a primary photo.
  • Collages can be the primary photo as long as one of the photos is the external daylight frontal view of the home.
  • Lake-front properties primary photos are allowed as long as the photo is taken from the viewpoint of the lake to the rear of the home.
  • Twilight photos can be the primary photo as long as the front of the property can be clearly seen and it is not completely dark outside. The time of day must be either dawn or dusk.
  • Stock photos, speculation photos, or photos used for illustrative purposes are not able to be the primary photo. For to-be-built homes, a primary image must be a rendering of the plan and must not be the image of another similar property. A stock photo can be a completed home on a lot where there is not an existing property. A rendering is a builder’s representation of a to-be-built home.
  • Virtually staged photos must follow Compliance guidelines.
  • GAMLS has final judgment with regards to the acceptability of listing images.
  • The primary photo may not be removed unless it is being replaced.

Virtually Staged Photos
A “virtually staged photo” means an image that has been altered with editing software to create a conceptual rendering of what a room and/or the property might look like if it were physically staged or lived in.

Digitally altering images that change the accuracy of the actual listing’s depiction or representation is not allowed. The use of “virtually staged photos” is permitted so long as the images are not deceptive to potential buyers.

Virtually Staged Image Requirements

  • Primary photo can be a virtually staged photo as long as the “before” and “after” images are both included into a collage.
  • All virtually staged images must be designated as such in the public remarks.
  • Digitally altering images to include overlays of other images or logos are prohibited.
  • Except for To-Be-Built and Under Construction listings, an image of the existing room or property in its current state must be included immediately before or immediately after the virtually staged image. In other words, “before” and “after” images must be included and disclosed. This includes room makeovers, wall color changes, different flooring, or countertops.
  • Virtually staged photos may include personal property items not conveyed with the real property. Examples include, but are not limited to:
    • Applying digital photos edits of furniture, mirrors, artwork, rugs, plants, etc., into a photo of an empty room.
    • Removing an existing non-fixed home element or furnishing from an image and replacing it with a digital representation of one similar. Examples: furniture, mirrors, artwork, rugs, plants, etc.
  • Virtually staged photos may include landscaping improvements that could realistically be made to improve the property’s exterior appearance.
  • Virtually staged photos may not include deceptive elements including, but not limited to the following:
    • Furniture or personal property that will not fit within a room’s dimensions. Every effort must be made to maintain the true aspect ratio of items digitally added.
    • Views from the property that do not exist, such as lakes, rivers, fields, skylines, and landmarks.
    • Fixed features that do not exist, such as a fireplace or property addition.
  • Virtually staged images cannot remove elements outside the property owner’s control, such as buildings on adjacent properties, power lines, utility poles, water towers, retaining walls and highways.

As always, we’re here to help.  If you have questions or need assistance, give us a call at 770-493-9000.

Record Breaking Month in July! Georgia MLS Monthly Sales Volume Surpasses $ 4 Billion for the First Time

July was a record-breaking month for Georgia MLS members who sold an incredible 12,696 units, totaling over $4 billion – the largest recorded sales volume for a single month in Georgia MLS history.

Other highlights for July include significant yearly increases in New Listings (+3.1%) and Under Contracts (+20.4%) compared to July 2019.

John Ryan, Georgia MLS Director of Marketing said: “For the first time since the pandemic hit in March, we have seen back to back monthly increases in residential sales.”

“It is fascinating to see our members sell over $4 billion in residential sales for July, an increase of 10.9% from June and 19.1% year over year.

“With most businesses now opened back up and low interest rates, it certainly feels like consumer confidence is rising and we are seeing the effects of pent-up demand within the Georgia real estate market.”

Low Inventory Drives Increase in Sales Prices

Housing supply continues to decrease month over month with Active Listing inventory falling by 8.8% in July. Georgia MLS residential inventory totaled 20,423 units, down 34.9% from July 2019.

Meanwhile, the Median Sales price for July continues to rise and increased 3.1% or $8,000, to $263,000 from the previous month. The Median Sales price year over year has increased 8.6% from the July 2019 price of $242,115.

Here to help

The Georgia MLS team is here to support you. We thank you for your membership, and if you have any questions please call us at 770-493-9000 or email communications@gamls.com.

Consumer Facing GeorgiaMLS.com Records 891k Website Visitors in Q2

Maximum Listing Exposure with Georgia MLS Services

Now more than ever, it is critical to ensure your real estate listings are promoted online via the channel’s buyers are actively using to search for their dream home. In a market where inventory is low, and pent-up demand is forcing buyers to move fast, utilizing every tool available is crucial to the success of your business.


We are excited to share data analytics from our consumer facing website, GeorgiaMLS.com, and highlight services available to you as a member of Georgia MLS to enable you to help consumers across Georgia realize their goal of homeownership.

GeorgiaMLS.com in numbers: 4.6 million listings viewed
In the first three months of the year, 787,978 individuals searched for properties on GeorgiaMLS.com. When the coronavirus struck in April, online house hunting continued with 891,394 house hunters visiting our website April through June.

Through the same period January – March, 4.5 million listings were viewed, while 4.6 million listings were viewed April – June. This is a huge indicator that, despite the pandemic, an active real estate marketplace continues to thrive across Georgia.

Georgia MLS Members Active as Ever
As with all our services, we try to encourage and enable adoption by providing training via live webinars and on-demand videos via our YouTube channel.


Since January 2020, we are delighted to report a continued steady increase in the number of our members accessing the Georgia MLS website to ensure their listings are visible to the public.


In June 2020, 28,247 members logged in to utilize the services, a 67% adoption rate of all members. We encourage all agents to maximize the value of their membership and encourage you to get it touch if we can help.

How house hunters are using GeorgiaMLS.com
If you are unfamiliar with our consumer-facing website, we would like to summarize the most popular features. Primarily, buyers create a profile, save properties to their favorites, and email any property to a friend, family member or agent in one click. However, the value for prospective buyers goes beyond searching for properties.


Buyers also use the website to find a real estate agent. People do business with people, and a complete personal website, free to any GAMLS member, will help improve your visibility and likelihood of contact. We highly recommend all agents ensure their profile is up to date with current contact details and, most importantly, upload a profile image. For tips on how to update your profile, please watch this short video.


Other popular features website users regularly utilize include access to tax records, sold history, public records, local school information, and market activity by zip code.

Customize your public Georgia MLS Website Today
As a member of Georgia MLS, we provide a public website for agents to create a custom branded web presence to gain maximum exposure for your listings. Once agents upload listings to GAMLS.com, these listings are automatically populated on both or consumer facing website (GeorgiaMLS.com) and your custom branded website.


Upon setting up your public website, agents can customize the website design from a selection of themes, drive the public to your website by customizing the URL and view the website analytics to gain a better understanding of how your listings are performing.

To set up your public website, please view the following video where our Member Services Manager, Greg Epps, will take you through the process step-by-step.


Click here to view an example of a custom branded website. (Credit: Rowenna Bauza, NACA.)

We are here to help
In summary, if you have not done so already, we encourage you to:
Update your profile on GAMLS.com with profile image and contact details.
Customize your FREE GeorgiaMLS website.


As always, the Georgia MLS team is here to support you. We thank you for your membership, and if you have any questions please call us at 770-493-9000 or email communications@gamls.com.

Georgia MLS Extends Waived Membership Fees to the Value of $2M

Georgia MLS has announced that it will extend the waiving of broker office dues through July and August to help ease the financial strain caused by COVID-19, while helping to maintain an active real estate market.

The suspension of broker fees was initially implemented April through June. Including the two-month extension, the total value of waived fees will reach $2 million.

The reduction of the monthly Appraiser Fee by 50%, from $44 to $22 per month, will also be extended for the same period.

Richard Boone, CEO, Georgia MLS said:
“The real estate industry has made it through difficult challenges before and Georgia MLS will continue to find innovative ways to serve our members.

“From addressing financial concerns with the waiving of the office dues, to modifying the listing policies of ‘Temporarily On Hold’ and ‘COVID Withdrawals’, as well as adding new Live Open House Streaming fields to our online platforms, Georgia MLS will continue to implement meaningful strategies to support our members. Our hope is that the continuing suspension of the office dues will allow our brokers and agents to concentrate on the clients they serve.”

Georgia MLS offer some of the lowest monthly agent fees in the nation, therefore the $20 a month flat agent fees will remain in place.


Membership Figures Hit All-time Record High
In more good news, Georgia MLS is pleased to report that membership numbers have hit a record high of 42,356, eclipsing the previous record of 42,033 in July 2007.

Boone added, “Our membership numbers dipped as a result of the global economic crash in 2008, however we are delighted to reach this new figure and continue our steady growth from 2013.

“Serving our membership is our number one goal and the reason we exist. We will continue to add value to our membership offering through new innovative products, improved education services and through the provision of data to help our members serve their communities and make home ownership possible.


We are here to help
As always, the Georgia MLS team is here to support you. We thank you for your membership, and if you have any questions please call us at 770-493-9000 or email communications@gamls.com.

Georgia MLS Marketplace Energized as Sales Rise in June by 33.5%

Georgia MLS marketplace data for the month of June shows continued signs of market recovery.  Notably, residential unit sales increased 33.5% month-over-month (11,391 units).

Furthermore, data across all key indicators revealed significant month-over-month increases. Sales volume increased 40% ($3.458 billion), new listings rose 6% (14,211 units) and under contract listings increased 14% (17,071 units).

John Ryan, Chief Marketing Officer, Georgia MLS said:

“Our June data signifies market confidence on behalf of both buyers and sellers. We are delighted to report a significant monthly rise in units sold, with year-over-year figures only down 4.7%. To put this into context, throughout April and May when the market was most severely hit by the coronavirus, year over year unit sales were down 24% in April and 33.5% in May. 

Looking through the microscope at the weekly data, a further data point worth noting is that the number of weekly units sold during the last week in June outperformed 2019 levels for the first time since the first week of April. The data is trending in a positive direction and leads me to be optimistic for a strong second half of 2020.”

Sales Prices Continue to Rise

Across Georgia, the median sales price for June continues to rise and increased by 4.1% ($10,000) to $255,000 from the previous month. The Median Sales price year over year has increased 6.3% from the June 2019 price of $240,000.

Meanwhile, Georgia continues to experience a low level of residential inventory, down 11.1% in comparison to May 2020 (22,392 units) and 28% down year-over-year.

Record Membership Participation

Georgia MLS is also pleased to report that membership numbers have increased during this time period to an all-time high of 42,356 subscribers, up from the previous high of 42,033 achieved in July 2007. This number represents a one-month gain of 492 new members which breaks down to 474 new agents and 18 appraisers.

We are here to help

As always, the Georgia MLS team is here to support you. We thank you for your membership, and if you have any questions please get in touch by calling 770.493.9000 and email communcations@gamls.com.

Top 5 Most Common Questions via Tech Support

At Georgia MLS, our number one priority is the support of our members. In today’s blog our Member Services Manager, Greg Epps, unpacks the five most common member questions we receive via tech support.

  1. What is an email drip and how do I set up an email drip within Paragon?

An email drip is a quick and efficient way to automatically notify clients of listings that match their search criteria. In today’s fast-paced, low inventory market we recommend setting up your clients in Paragon’s Collaboration Center, which creates a personal landing page that stores a list of all the properties generated from the custom search parameters.

In four simple steps, an automatic email drip can be set-up to notify clients of the newest listings as soon as they hit the market, or at their desired time each day or week.

Step 1:  Login to Georgia MLS Member Portal and click Paragon

Step 2: Save a Custom Search to your client contact.

Step 3: Select Collab Center with Auto Notify.

Step 4: Simply set up automatic email notifications, including frequency.

For more information and a step-by-step guide, please watch our webinar Using the Collab Center in Paragon (from 17mins 45s).

2. What is the best way to search for properties and can I customize the search fields?

There are two very common ways to search for properties within Georgia MLS Member portal. The first is through GAMLS Search.

Step1:   Login to Georgia MLS Member Portal

Step 2: Click Search from the main menu and select All Property Types or select one of the defined search options within the menu bar.

Step 3: Utilize all the available search criteria to narrow your search. Search by property type, location, price, listing status, status change, by agent, broker and more. 

The second is via our flagship system, Paragon, accessed via your Georgia MLS Member Portal. Once again, you can customize your search utilizing the various criteria parameters available and also . For more information and a step-by-step guide, please watch our webinar Searching in Paragon

3. How do I enter and edit a listing?

Entering a listing in Georgia MLS is very straightforward and uploaded via Paragon. Simply:

Step 1:  Login to Georgia MLS Member Portal and click Paragon

Step 2:  Select Listings from the main menu and select the specific property type.

Step 3:  Complete the listing input form and save. You will be given a list number confirming your list is in the system.If you have not completed all the required fields, save as a partial listing and complete at a later date.

To maintain either a partial or live listing, simply hover over Listings on the main menu bar and select the relevant option. For more information and a step-by-step guide, please watch our webinar Listing Input in Parago

4. How do I set up my free website via Georgia MLS?

Setting up your free website is a great benefit for all Georgia MLS members.The website builder is extremely user friendly, has built in analytics and includes a selection of design theme options to allow agents to differentiate from each other.  

For a step-by-step guide on how to set-up, customize, and manage your branded website, please view our New Agent and Office Website Webinar here.

If you already have your own website, for maximum exposure we recommend that you also create a Georgia MLS branded website. You can hyperlink to your own website, from your Georgia MLS branded website.

5. Can you recommend a virtual tour and how do I add a virtual tour to my Georgia MLS listing?

One of the most common questions we receive is members asking if we could recommend a company that can help with virtual tours. Unfortunately, Georgia MLS cannot make specific recommendations, however we do have a resource where you can locate and evaluate options through one of our partners RETechnology.

As a benefit to Georgia MLS members, click this link to set up a free account with RETechnology, which will save you $199 per year.  For more information and a step-by-step guide to setting up your free account, click here.

Adding a virtual tour to your listing could not be easier. Simply edit the listing via Paragon and scroll down to the sub-header Virtual Tours and paste the virtual tour URL link in the relevant field.

We are here to help

As always, the Georgia MLS team is here to support you. We encourage you to check out the following resources:

We thank you for your membership, and if you have any questions please get in touch by calling 770-493-9000 or email communications@gamls.com.  

Guide to Conducting a Successful Virtual Open House

Virtual house tours have been around for years. However, until recently, they were more commonly used to showcase homes to out of town buyers relocating to a new area. Almost overnight, the coronavirus turned the world upside down, resulting in businesses pivoting to explore new ways of working.

A trend towards virtual open houses soon gained momentum, and the move has been critical in ensuring an active real estate marketplace. Arguably, virtual open houses have proved to be the most valuable tool in an agent’s toolbox, but the transition is not easy for everyone. If running a virtual open house sounds like a daunting task, fret no more. Below are some top tips to get you on your way.

Choose Your Favorite Platform and Go Live

To deliver a first-class viewing experience for potential buyers, there is no need to invest in expensive equipment or hire a videographer. All you need is a smartphone (with camera) and a reliable internet connection.

Next up, select the social media or video conferencing platform of your choice.  Most common apps with live capability include Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Zoom or Google Hangouts. Then, schedule a time to go live and announce it to your social media audience. 

Preparation is Key

If you are required to make a presentation to colleagues at work or deliver a speech at a wedding, preparation and practice are key. Performing a live open house is no different. Making it up as you go along is perhaps not the best strategy to get the best results possible. To ensure your open house runs as smoothly as possible, here are a few tips.

  • Technology Rehearsal: Familiarize yourself with your chosen platform to ensure you are comfortable with the technology. Test out the process with a colleague or friend as your audience and make sure to test the audio, lighting, and chat functionality to ensure the best experience for potential buyers.
  • Simple Structure: Structure your tour into three stages; opening, tour and closing. Prepare a short list of bullet points for each step to ensure you hit all your essential points. A strong opening will help engage viewers while being mindful of their time. Introduce yourself, thank viewers for joining you and let them know how to interact with you via the chat function before moving onto the main event: the open house itself. In closing, plan to set aside time for viewers to ask any questions via the comments section, which can be addressed live. Be clear about any next steps.
  • Route Planning: Map out the most efficient route for your property walkthrough and make a note of the key points of interest in each room ahead of time to ensure you hit all the highlights.

The Big Day

Preparation complete! Below are a few tips to bear in mind as you get ready to push the button and go-live on the big day:

  • Arrive in ample time and walk through the property as you previously planned. Ensure all the lights are on, the doors are open, the property is tidy and there are no sneaky obstacles in your way. The last thing you want is to take a tumble live on air!
  • Utilize both the front and back facing smartphone cameras and flip between both during the live broadcast. For example, use the front-facing camera during your introduction and closing, and the back-facing camera while conducting the tour itself.
  • Open the tour with a welcoming shot of the property showcasing its curb appeal before moving inside.
  • While the tour is underway, be authentic. During your planning, you have identified the most important points you would like to address. Try to avoid being too scripted and let your personality come across like you would in a person-to-person open house. 
  • Do not rush! Take your time and make sure to point out all the features that make the property unique, like you normally would.
  • Be professional, but no need to be perfect. Like any live broadcast, second takes are sadly not an option. Viewers do not expect a flawless performance like a prime-time news feature. It is far more important to be personable, informative, helpful, engaging and authentic.  

The Value of Feedback

Feedback is invaluable as you hone your virtual open house skillset. Most platforms allow you to save the live tour so it can be viewed on-demand. Take out your pen and notepad, critique yourself, then ask trusted colleagues, family, or friends to do the same. Your one-to-one follow up with attendees is a great opportunity to ask for candid feedback as we all adapt to the new normal.

Finally, if going live feels like a step too far, consider easing your transition to the virtual world by recording a video walk-through and retrospectively uploading the file to your various social media and digital channels.

We are here to help

As always, the Georgia MLS team is here to support you and see you through this challenging time.

If you found this blog useful, please check out our most recent blog highlighting Useful Resources for Real Estate Agents During COVID-19.

We thank you for your membership, and if you have any questions, please call us at 770-493-9000 or email communications@gamls.com