Tip of the Week for 9/19

Tip of the Week — ShowingTime Knowledge Base


Still adjusting to the new ShowingTime system? They have an excellent support section with how-to articles and quick videos. This video shows you how to access and use the support system in less than two minutes!


Want to check out older Tip of the Week topics? Click here to view an archive of previous Tip of the Week entries.


Submit Your Own Tip! Do you have a question that you would like to see featured a Tip of the Week? Or maybe you have your own tip you would like to share with other NorthstarMLS users. Send your question or idea to tips@northstarmls.com. We will use one submission each month and the winner will receive a $30 Caribou Coffee gift card!


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Posted in BookAShowing, Showings, ShowingTime, Tip of the Week, Videos Tagged with: , , ,

Tip of the Week for 9/12

Minnesota is home to some of the best schools in the country, according to a recent Newsweek article.

The quality of a school district is a top factor for parents considering where to live. Labor Day has passed and school is back in session statewide for the 2016-17 school year. If you have a client that looking for specific school information, check out one of these tools that are included with your NorthstarMLS subscription!

RPR & RPR Mobile
An RPR school search yields an important array of information, such as ratings from GreatSchools, test scores, enrollment, student/teacher ratios, the number of students receiving free lunch, parent reviews, maps, nearby schools, contact information, and active listings within that district. With RPR Mobile, you can use your phone’s location to instantly view school information. With RPR and RPR Mobile, you can create, customize, view, save, and send RPR school reports for a school district or radius for your clients. This 2-minute video shows you how to create a RPR school report.

Realist
The Neighborhood Profile in Realist Tax lets you take an in-depth look at the neighborhood for the property, including the people (population), the housing statistics, quality of life information, and schools and other areas of interest. The Schools section of the report lists the public and private schools within a specified geographic area. You can configure the geographic area in the Neighborhood Profiles report preferences to fit your clients’ needs.

Homesnap Pro
If you’re out with a client and need to quickly access school information (from your smart phone), Homesnap is perfect! Quickly look at local schools in the map view or through the search function. Then you can narrow your home searches to a particular school attendance zone and filter further by home-specific details. This quick video demonstrates school attendance zone searching with Homesnap.

True Lifestyle Cost
With TLC, you can use the TLCengine portal to find all the rankings for schools within specific school district on the property details page. Print or send the school information to your clients. You can also use TLCengine to search based on school districts.


Want to check out older Tip of the Week topics? Click here to view an archive of previous Tip of the Week entries.


Submit Your Own Tip! Do you have a question that you would like to see featured a Tip of the Week? Or maybe you have your own tip you would like to share with other NorthstarMLS users. Send your question or idea to tips@northstarmls.com. We will use one submission each month and the winner will receive a $30 Caribou Coffee gift card!


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Posted in Homesnap, NorthstarMLS Matrix, Realist, Realtors Property Resource, Tip of the Week, True Lifestyle Cost, Videos Tagged with: , , , , ,

New TrustFunds Feature Improves Security

The increase of wire fraud continues in the real estate industry. That’s why TrustFunds added a new security feature to combat phishing schemes. TrustFunds, a NorthstarMLS core service, is a convenient and secure way for your clients to deposit earnest money.

In your TrustFunds account, you can now upload a profile photo. Your clients will see your profile photo in every earnest money request email you send, giving them greater peace of mind that they are not participating in a phishing scam. The email also includes a photo of the property, the exact earnest money amount reflected on the purchase agreement and full agent contact information.

Uploading your agent profile photo to TrustFunds is easy. Click here to see how it’s done.

Want to do more to reduce the risk of real estate wire fraud in all aspects of your business? Our system security vendor, Clareity Security, has published an excellent paper that covers best practices, sample procedures, and communications gathered from franchises, brokers, title companies and others. Check it out!


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Posted in TrustFunds Tagged with: , , ,

Instanet Forms—New Version

Get Ready: Phasing in of New Version of Instanet Forms Continues

Back in March, we announced the new version of Instanet Forms (Transaction Desk) with its more mobile-friendly look and feel. Since then, it has been available through the “access the NEW version” graphic when you open Instanet. Hopefully you have had a chance to try it or are even using it exclusively.

Starting September 14, the new version will automatically load whenever you open Instanet. But there will still be a link back to the old version if you need more time to get used to the new one.

Then, starting November 9, only the new version of Instanet will be available.

Check out this document that includes a list of the features, how to move to the new system, and training videos. This document is also linked under the Instanet Forms link in the “External Links” box here on the Matrix home page, and from the Home Tab drop-down menu.

If you have questions, contact our Help Desk at help@northstarmls.com or 651-251-5456 (toll free 1-877-251-5455), M-F, 8:00 to 5:00.


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Posted in Instanet Tagged with: ,

Clearing Your Web Browser Cache

“Clear your web browser cache” is usually the first response you’ll hear when you encounter a web page problem. Cache is a tool used by your internet browser to speed up the page loading process on a website.

If you’re having issues with your web browser — for example, trouble uploading multiple photos to your listings with Add/Edit. Clearing your browser’s web cache could help.

The video below explains how to clear web browser cache for Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari.


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Posted in NorthstarMLS Matrix, Videos Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Tip of the Week for 8/29

Tip of the Week — Google Street View

NorthstarMLS Matrix lets you see the Google Street View of many listings in the system. The video below explains how to use this feature in Matrix in less than 90 seconds!


Want to check out older Tip of the Week topics? Click here to view an archive of previous Tip of the Week entries.


Submit Your Own Tip! Do you have a question that you would like to see featured a Tip of the Week? Or maybe you have your own tip you would like to share with other NorthstarMLS users. Send your question or idea to tips@northstarmls.com. We will use one submission each month and the winner will receive a $30 Caribou Coffee gift card!


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Posted in NorthstarMLS Matrix, Tip of the Week, Videos Tagged with: ,

NorthstarMLS Pumps Up Reliability & Security

Most of us take for granted that the systems we rely on are always available—until they’re not. At NorthstarMLS, we’re always thinking about and strategizing ways to better ensure ours are up and running 24/7. We know this reliability and security are critical to your success.

Toward that goal, we switched our single sign-on database server hosting to its vendor, Clareity Security. What are the benefits?

  • Fully redundant systems. If one goes down, another immediately takes its place. We regularly test its reliability.
  • No more single points of failure and other vulnerabilities that have caused downtime in the past.
  • Clareity’s proven expertise and track record in system reliability and security.
  • The newest and most powerful security technology to keep your data safe.

The switch has already happened seamlessly with no downtime. Can we guarantee our systems will never unexpectedly go down? No, unfortunately no technology company can make that promise. But we are in a much better position to greatly reduce downtime and get back up fast in the event it does happen. And we will always look for ways to keep improving!


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Posted in NorthstarMLS Matrix Tagged with: , ,

Rules Roundup: Listing Photos

Last quarter, the NorthstarMLS Rules and Regs department issued over 320 notices for listings with a photo missing – the most since Q2 of 2014. It’s a NorthstarMLS rule that a property photo must be uploaded within two business days of entering a listing. This goes for all property types except Lots and Land and properties listed with a status of Under Construction.

Ideally, a photo will be added at the time of the entry of the listing, but NorthstarMLS rules allow two business days in the event that is not possible.

First Impressions
It’s no secret that photos will greatly enhance the value of a listing to buyers and other agents. Often, a decision on whether to set up a showing is dependent on the property photos a potential buyer first looks at when house hunting.

Also, the nearly 5,000 broker and agent websites displaying the listing data are depending on the photo to make their site appear more professional and complete.

Other Reminders About Your Listing Photos:

  • No text (regardless of message) allowed. Use photo captions for messages and photo descriptions.
  • Unless you have permission from another MLS subscriber, don’t copy listing photos for your own use
  • The photo may not be digitally altered (“Photoshopped”) to the point it no longer accurately reflects the property
  • No broker/agent/builder signs, banners, marketing or any other type of promotional material is allowed in the photo.
  • ICYMI: You can now upload 24 photos per listing with improved photo resolution.

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Posted in MLS Listing Photography, MLS Rules, Rules Roundup Tagged with: , ,

Tip of the Week for 8/22

Tip of the Week — RPR eBooks and More to Learn-As-You-Go

Want to learn more about Realtors Property Resource (a NorthstarMLS core service) so you can incorporate it into your business? Maybe you’re already using RPR and want to learn more, or are new to RPR all together. RPR has a great source of online learning materials to help you take your RPR knowledge to the next level.

You can choose from eBooks, videos or online workshops that will show you how to apply RPR’s data tools and reports to every aspect of your real estate business. Simply choose the format best suited to your learning style, interest and schedule.

Check out the available material below:

Getting Started with RPR
eBook | Online Workshop | Video Learning

The RPR Guide to Working With Buyers
eBook | Online Workshop | Video Learning

The RPR Guide to a Successful Listing Presentation
eBook | Online Workshop | Video Learning

The RPR Guide to Geographic Farming
eBook | Online Workshop | Video Learning

The RPR Guide to a Successful Open House
eBook | Online Workshop | Video Learning


Want to check out older Tip of the Week topics? Click here to view an archive of previous Tip of the Week entries.


Submit Your Own Tip! Do you have a question that you would like to see featured a Tip of the Week? Or maybe you have your own tip you would like to share with other NorthstarMLS users. Send your question or idea to tips@northstarmls.com. We will use one submission each month and the winner will receive a $30 Caribou Coffee gift card!


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Posted in Realtors Property Resource, Tip of the Week Tagged with: ,

Interview with John Smaby

In May, Minnesota Realtor John Smaby was named the First Vice President of the National Association of REALTORS® for 2017. He’ll be President-Elect for 2018 and President for 2019. Smaby is only the second Minnesotan to hold the position. His father, Philip, was the first. He was NAR’s president in 1976.

John has 45 years of experience in the real estate industry, with many leadership positions (including our own NorthstarMLS Board of Directors). His stint with NAR begins this November.

John was recently interviewed by Jim Buchta of the Star Tribune. You can read the entire interview here.


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Posted in Uncategorized Tagged with: ,

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