With 11 different home Styles in NorthstarMLS, it’s not always easy to pick the correct one, especially with Condos and Townhouses. In this extremely informative 21-minute video, Realtor/appraiser/instructor Zoe Liston reviews all the NorthstarMLS residential Styles and how to distinguish among them.

Check out the video below!

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All Square Footage Fields to be Required

(Open this announcement in PDF format for printing)

Starting August 4, the following square footage fields will become required entries for all listings in the property types Single Family Residential, Multi-Family Residential and Farm.

  • Above Ground Total Square Feet
    (The total of any upper plus main floor square feet. Bonus room above garage included only if accessible from interior of house.)
  • Below Ground Total Square Feet
    (The total of all lower square feet. Do not include tuckunder garage.)
  • Main Floor Total Square Feet
    (Total square feet on the main floor only. For a 1, 1.5, or 2-story, or split, include foundation size plus any overhang. Do not include 3-season porches, or any outside amenities, even if covered—porches, decks, patios, etc. For a split level, include the entry/foyer area.)
  • Garage Square Feet (not required for Condominium styles)
    (Total square feet of the entire garage. Do not include add-on portions, such as loft or upper level. The purpose is to help buyers determine the number and size of vehicles/items that will fit.)

These “Total” square footage fields count both finished and unfinished square footage.

A reminder on already required square footage fields:

  • Above Ground Finished Square Footage: Total finished square footage measured at and above ground level; ground level as it appears from the front view of the building. Includes all floors and levels above this line.
  • Below Ground Finished Square Footage: Total finished square footage measured below ground level. For appraisers, that’s any area below ground, even if it’s only one wall, means the whole level is below ground. Finished area must have flooring, wall covering (trimmed) and ceiling.

Appraiser TIP When you describe above/below, look at where your feet are at any place in a level – if your feet are below the ground outside the wall (at ANY place in that level), the level is regarded as being below grade (i.e., basement).

Why is NorthstarMLS going to start requiring these fields?
The new requirement to complete these fields is based on continued feedback that we need to provide the most accurate information about currently finished areas as well as possible expansion of living areas. It helps to sell the house if buyers know how much additional space could be finished.

What should be included in the unfinished portion of the Total Square Footage?
Any unfinished portion that has the potential to be finished should be included. Do not include crawl spaces, cellars or other similar spaces that could not be made livable. Areas with mechanicals (furnace, a/c, laundry, etc.) may be included.

Where can I find these square footages?
Depending on the County, they may be available in the public tax record (available here through Realist or the County website). Please note that quality and accuracy can vary by County or even within a County. Your best bet is to conduct your own measurements.

How do I measure square footages?

  • NorthstarMLS has a couple popular measuring videos featuring a local appraiser. These are a webinar on The Basics of Measuring, a measuring demo of a 1920s bungalow, and a measuring demo of a 4-level split.
  • Review how-to guides from Standards organizations such as ANSI and AMS.
  • Hire a licensed appraiser to do the measurements. Many experienced appraisers offer this service and can save you the trouble and uncertainty.
  • Monitor your Association’s course offerings in case square footage measurement courses are offered.

What about current listings where I have not completed these fields?
The fields will not become required until August 4, allowing you time to obtain or measure them for your existing listings. Starting August 4, you will not be able to make and save changes to existing listings until the new required fields are also completed.

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Virtual Open vs Virtual Tour

We are pleased to see many of you taking advantage of the new live stream virtual open house options on NorthstarMLS.

There has been some confusion between these new virtual open houses and virtual tours, as well as the rules around them. Some of you are incorrectly uploading your Virtual Tours as live stream Virtual Open Houses. We understand—it’s all new and gets confusing! Here is a quick guide to help you navigate the differences.

Live Stream Virtual Open House vs. Virtual Tour

  • Virtual Open House: a live stream event set for a specific day and time. May be set to Public (available to all, including clients, consumers and IDX/third party data feeds) or Broker (available to agents and viewable only within the MLS). Check out this list of live stream vendors.
  • Virtual Tour: a pre-recorded tour of the house.

 It is important to note that different rules apply to each as follows:

Live Stream Virtual Open House
While the public face to face open house has been suspended, agents may use the virtual open house fields to advertise their public live-stream events. 

  • Must be a live event. Usually, consumers may participate and ask real time questions about the property.
  • Someone (typically the agent) will walk through the home, live, at the scheduled time for collective viewing
  • Use the virtual open house fields in NorthstarMLS to specify the date/time of the live event and provide a URL for access to the live stream event.
  • Because the live stream virtual open house is in place of a face-to-face open house, the agent may introduce him/herself and be visible during the live event.
  • On NorthstarMLS, you may promote the virtual open house only in the designated open house fields and in Agent Remarks. Outside NorthstarMLS, you are free to promote the event through your usual marketing channels.

Virtual Tours
With the addition of live stream virtual open houses, no changes were made to what constitutes a virtual tour or the rules around them.

  • Agents may upload up to 2 virtual tour URLs per listings.
  • A virtual tour on the MLS is a link to pre-recorded videos and/or photo slideshows of the property. 
  • The video (and everything displayed around the video) must be unbranded and cannot link to any other websites.
  • Because YouTube and Google Docs do not allow the branding or links to be suppressed, they do not meet MLS display requirements.
  • Options for hosting the video include using a page on your broker or agent website that displays only the video or using a third-party photographer or video service to host the video.  The video hosting site Vimeo allows all links and branding to be suppressed if you have a Vimeo Pro or Vimeo Plus account.

Questions? Contact our Help Desk at help@northstarmls.com, 651-251-5456 (1-877-251-5455). We are available M-F, 8:00-5:00.

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Are you working with a seller who would rather not schedule showings over the holidays? If the property is going to be unavailable for showing for more than 24 hours, the listing must be changed to TNAS (Temporary Not Available for Showing) Status.

Those days won’t count toward the Days On Market and the listing can go back to Active Status when the seller wants to show it again.

Questions? Contact the NorthstarMLS Rules & Regs Department at 651-251-3210 or click here take a look at the NorthstarMLS Listing Status Definitions Guide. 

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With Fall season here, showings are on the rise and so are complaints about rules violations (such as entering a listing without an appointment) and serious etiquette violations (such as failing to lock the door when you and your client leave). We thought it a good time for a reminder for all of us about the importance of following showing rules and etiquette.

While this is not an official or complete list, our infographic illustrates some common showing etiquette behaviors that you can share with your office or team members. 

Etiquette Quick Tips: 

  • Be on time
  • If the showing gets canceled or postponed, let the listing office know immediately so the seller can be contacted
  • View the home together with your potential buyer — avoid letting them roam the home by themselves
  • Never allow buyers to enter a property unaccompanied
  • Leave your business card in the house after the showing as a courtesy to the seller
  • Make sure you’ve confirmed the showing so you or your clients are not waiting or turned away
  • Use your own lockbox or e-key to open the property for a showing
  • Take your shoes off before you start the showing — a good sign of respect to the current homeowner
  • Honor the listing agent’s relationship with the seller and encourage the seller to direct all questions to his or her agent
  • Have a listing sheet ready with all the info of the property for buyers to easily refer back to
  • Respect you client by limiting your use of cell phones or computers to the business a hand
  • Don’t allow anyone to eat, drink, smoke, dispose of trash or bring pets into the property
  • Double check that all doors & windows are locked before you leave the property
  • Report any problems with the property to the Listing Agent

The video below offers showing etiquette tips that we’ve received from agents, along with some plain common sense, to help ensure a pleasant house hunting experience. Give it a view if you have two minutes – you might get a chuckle!

Are Your Clients Seeing “Coming Soon” Listings? We introduced Coming Soon Listing Status this past November. This status in Matrix allows you to pre-market your listing through the MLS for a limited time until it is ready for showings. If you send your clients Auto-Emails in NorthstarMLS Matrix, they will not receive Coming Soon listings in their Client Portal unless you select that Status in your search criteria. You might want to update any Auto-Emails you created before November if you want to include Coming Soon’s. Some Stats Since its release, over 600 listings entered in NorthstarMLS Matrix were listed as Coming Soon with an average length of seven days in the status before being moved to Active. Before you set a listing to Coming Soon Status, please ensure you are educated on how it works and its proper use. We have these materials to help you: You can also watch the quick video below to see how it works!
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Are you working with a seller who would rather not schedule showings over the holidays? If the property is going to be unavailable for showing for more than 24 hours, the listing must be changed to TNAS (Temporary Not Available for Showing) Status.

Those days won’t count toward the Days On Market and the listing can go back to Active Status when the seller wants to show it again.

Questions? Contact the NorthstarMLS Rules & Regs Department at 651-251-3210.

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Coming Soon Listing status on NorthstarMLS, which became available last week, allows you a head start on marketing your client’s listing until it’s ready to show.

Watch this quick video to see how it works!

Before you set a listing to Coming Soon Status, please ensure you are educated on how it works and its proper use. Check out our Coming Soon training materials to help you get started.

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NorthstarMLS is pleased to announce the availability (starting November 14) of a new MLS status called “Coming Soon.” The Coming Soon Status allows you to pre-market your listing through the MLS for a limited time until it is ready for showings.

Before you set a listing to Coming Soon Status, please ensure you are educated on how it works and its proper use. We have these materials to help you:

A quick glance at the highlights of Coming Soon status:

  • Property cannot be shown while in Coming Soon status ($1,000 fine for violation)
  • Listing is viewable on Matrix by all agents and can be shared with their clients via email, print and the Client Portal
  • Broker/Agent IDX websites will receive Coming Soon listings in their data feed and may choose to display them
  • Non-IDX third party websites will not receive Coming Soon listings in their broker-directed data feeds, though agent/broker may add them there themselves
  • Requires a seller-signed Coming Soon Authorization form (available in Instanet) be uploaded with the listing
  • Listing may remain in Coming Soon status for no more than 21 days, after which it will automatically convert to Active status (or sooner, depending on the Availability Date you set in our Add/Edit system).
  • Market time does not accrue while in Coming Soon status

As always, if you have questions or need help, contact our Help Desk at help@northstarmls.com, 651-251-5456 (1-877-251-5455). Our business hours are M-F, 8:00 to 5:00.