MLS COVID-19 Guidance

Webinars: The MLS Hour

Learn how MLSs are adjusting to our current environment and supporting members during COVID-19 in these two webinar recordings. View a Q&A with the panel and attendees who share issues and resources they have found while navigating today’s real estate market conditions.

View the October 30 webinar recordings:

MLS Committee Preview

Virtual REALTORS® Conference & Expo

April 15 webinar recording

April 22 webinar recording

Viewing Properties Virtually During COVID-19

Continuing to show properties during the pandemic has proven a challenge for REALTORS® around the country. Use this guide (PDF) to better understand the terms used in virtual offerings and explore best practices on how you can show a property while staying safe and healthy.

We have seen a drop off in the number of showings and open houses in our market. Some consumers and brokers are asking to suspend Days on Market (DOM) Calculation. How are MLSs handling this?

This is by far one of the biggest questions floating around the MLS community under the pandemic. Rather than suspending or pausing the accumulation of Days on Market, most MLSs are highlighting existing statuses that may be used by sellers who wish to temporarily take their listing off-market and stop the accumulation of DOM. This ensures a true and complete picture of the current marketplace not only for other brokers but the public as well. Suspending Days On Market may cause factual inaccuracies in the MLS’s historical data and may further impact how participants and subscribers represent market information and valuations to the public now and into the future.

Recommendation: To keep the calculation of DOM unchanged so that it can be used by brokers and agents to accurately interpret and explain market factors like municipal “stay at home” orders, and the negative impact of the pandemic on the marketplace. MLSs should also communicate to all subscribers how Days on Market is calculated and the different status options available to sellers.

Resources: Here are a few different ways MLS are using existing statuses instead of suspending DOM:

Should MLSs still promote Open Houses in the open house field?

Many MLSs with “stay at home” orders or restricted public gatherings have removed Open House fields and their member’s ability to schedule these within the MLS platform. However, this may also hinder a broker’s ability to post a “virtual” open house (or tour) within the MLS.

Recommendation: MLSs should utilize existing fields to accommodate the entry of virtual open houses and tours, such as slide shows or videos, or work with their vendor to add an appropriate field for this content. Many MLSs are finding that they may also need to consideration temporarily allowing URLs to this content in public remarks.

Resources: NAR has provided resources for members concerning Coronavirus including the use of virtual open houses.

My members are asking to add Virtual Tours, can this be added?

For those that did not previously have fields to allow the entry of a virtual tours, we are seeing MLSs begin implementing Virtual Tour Fields to accommodate for both branded tour URLs (to be used on syndication sites and brokers’ own websites) and non-branded fields that can be used within the MLS platform itself and delivered through IDX/VOW data feeds.

Recommendation: MLSs have discretion to implement a dedicated virtual tour field for URLs linked to hosting sites. The information can then be shared within the MLS and via data feeds for IDX, VOW, and syndication. MLSs will also want to consider reminding their members of the need to ensure that the proper permissions are in place for all media (photos, video, etc…).

Resources: Who Owns Your Property Photos?

What are the differences between Virtual Tour, Virtual Open House and Virtual Showings?

NAR has not defined these terms within policy, and we would defer to the Real Estate Standards Organization for guidance on data dictionary definitions. However, after discussion with MLS and Association Executives across the country, we offer the following as a starting point.

Recommendation: Use of the following defined terms in order to facilitate conversations between members, MLS and Association Executives and real estate technology partners.

1. Virtual Tour

a. Pre-recorded media (slide show, video, or other media) hosted on a URL and available on demand.

2. Virtual Open House (Broker/Public/Office)

a. Real-time (live) scheduled event conducted virtually via live stream (or similar delivery).

1. Distinctions:

a. Public: Open invitation to any number of prospects.
b. Broker: Open invitation to all Brokers/Agents.
c. Office: Open invitation only for Brokers/Agents within the same firm or office.

3. Virtual Showing

a. Real-time (live) scheduled property showing conducted virtually via live stream (or similar delivery) for a customer or client.

1. Distinction: For an identified customer or client. Not an open invitation for others to attend (private showing).

Additional MLS Resource Pages:

RPR® Resource:



The latest from NAR about about COVID-19 (coronavirus), its impact on the real estate industry and events, and federal programs affecting REALTORS®.

Virtual Showings and Virtual Tours

As REALTORS® pivot to technology and virtual methods to show homes and properties, NAR compiled these handy links and resources to get you started.