HAR’s ShowingSmart is the latest entry in the race to replace ShowingTime: Tech Review

ShowingSmart is a software solution for scheduling showings and arranging buyer tours developed for members of the Houston Association of Realtors.

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ShowingSmart is a digital home showing and tour management solution from Houston Association of Realtors.

Platforms: Responsive browser app

Ideal for: All brokers, teams and agent members of HAR

Top selling points:

  • Comprehensive
  • Feedback module
  • Client portal
  • Integrated training
  • Buyer tour inclusion

Top concern:

I’m concerned with this product like I’m with all others developed within such controlled environments. As pressure from the open market mounts, how will HAR compete to remain competitive? And will their response be to add more to an already big product?

What you should know

ShowingSmart is a software solution for scheduling showings and arranging buyer tours developed for members of the Houston Association of Realtors. It’s designed to give members an in-house alternative to the rising number of third-party options in the marketplace.

It’s totally on-brand for HAR to jump into the ShowingTime alternative championship, given its history of offering innovation as a selling point for membership. The organization has long been raising the table stakes of what associations should offer its members.

However, this is one of those cases in which the development team could have waited to see what other cards the industry was going to play.

Showingly, one of the more recognized new players in the space, shared in an update with me that they didn’t listen clearly enough to what the market wanted, and that they moved too quickly with feature decisions. (They’ve made improvements to their initial offering.)

There’s no question that what HAR built can help their agents keep property data in house and keep all parties in touch as showings and tours are carried out. What it doesn’t do is shrink the process.

The team at HAR seemingly eschewed expediency for the sake of features, a sign that suggests a product was designed under reactionary pretenses. I think it was hurried to market.

But that also means it has more time to get better.

Overall, yes, ShowingSmart does a number of things well. Its initial interface starkly encapsulates users’ two core activity needs, dividing the UI in Upcoming Showings for My Listings and Upcoming Showings for my Buyers. Simple.

Users can dive from there into input of showing parameters, such as preferred dates and times, approval preferences and feedback form requirements.

There’s a lot for users to do when setting up a listing to be shown, however, such as click boxes about pets and alarms and codes and keypad access and gates and garages and length of stay and so forth.

This makes me wonder if the best digital showing solutions can actually separate the front-end details from the actual act of requesting and conducting a showing? Why do I have to do so much to make my property able to be seen?

Property details will come in part from the existing MLS data, input of which is required for a home’s showing to be managed by ShowingSmart.

I like the Timeline View as a visual look into recent showings, and the Client Portal, accessible via URL, should be a good central source for sellers to see reports, approve times and read feedback.

ShowingSmart offers tour setup, too. Buyer agents can name each tour, link them to who’s being shown around, and select a starting point. The system calculates drive times and tour duration based on distance and requested times, and order is easily adjusted with drag and drop functionality.

I didn’t notice a batch request feature, which could help buyer agents send one request to multiple agents and arrange the tour as approvals are given. There’s a reminder to enter tour times in your calendar of choice. I was hoping to see it automated. A future update will likely include this.

Buyers’ portals will list their tour details and help them scroll through properties as they go. I like the way this is visually presented, and it surely beats a stack of printed MLS one-sheets stapled in the corner. HAR is also building a consumer app for buyers and sellers to monitor their activity and stay connected with their agents.

The interface offers no evident barriers to adoption, and is consistent from login to logout. The Tours module stands out, and the consumer portal pages are nice touches.

This was admittedly a tough product review to write. Because the product was good.

But I’ve seen a lot of good products. That’s the problem.

ShowingSmart is the ideal example of how the industry too often responds to a rapidly emerging trend, in this case the ShowingTime acquisition. It does exactly what its users ask for; in other words, exactly what they had before.

It’s also precisely what I expected from an MLS — features dependent on adopted standards of practice for showings. It dedicates too much code to the input of showing details and front-end information, and not enough to making the process of making and accepting requests easier.

“Good” is what the industry always does. What real estate agents need is ingenuity translated into usable, mobile solutions. I want to see new takes on solving old problems. I’ve already seen this.

When Zillow bought ShowingTime — the admitted impetus for HAR’s development of ShowingSmart — it created a unique opportunity to create change.

I’m hoping HAR and other industry leaders will move to seize that opportunity, not merely respond to it.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.

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