You Can Beat The National Portals

You Can Beat The National Portals With This Strategy Today

[When NorthstarMLS staff and its Directors meet with brokers and agents, one of the most commonly heard complaints is the prevalence of third party real estate portals for consumers and what NorthstarMLS can do about it. The article below is a summary of what you, NorthstarMLS and the entire real estate industry can and are doing. It’s well worth the read and a print version is available here.]

Imagine a world where every real estate agent, broker and franchise in the nation promoted their real estate mobile app to consumers. The app is white-label branded to the agent, broker, and franchise offering direct access to every MLS listing without any competitive ads. That is the way it would need to work. Guess what, we have it. You have it. Our industry has it. Today.

There are two models of how the app works. If the consumer is working with a franchise, a firm, or an agent – that trusted relationship is honored. The professional service provider selected by the consumer is there with them at any time. That’s you. You remain connected to the consumer to help out with any questions they have. If the consumer is looking out of that service provider’s region, the provider can refer that business however they like.

The second model of the app is for a consumer who has not selected a real estate service provider. In that circumstance, every listing is branded to the listing broker and agent with no competitors advertised on the listing other than the seller’s representative. Your listing, your lead!

Some 850,000 agents (including all NorthstarMLS subscribers) have access to this app today, but many agents still do not know about it. It is offered by NorthstarMLS as a participant in the Broker Public Portal. The app is called Homesnap. It is ridiculously easy to use. Download the app, select NorthstarMLS, and your personal branded app is created.

Next, the app prompts you to send an invitation to everyone in your phone’s address book with one click. Why would any consumer use an app from an advertising company’s app if they had this service from their agent? Accurate listings. No advertising confusion found on those other apps. It’s the best app for real estate search.

And if your clients prefer a web-based search tool, have them check out It easily matches the national portals in features, functionality and, most importantly, quality of listing data because it comes directly from the MLS.

Our industry is at a crossroads. The advertising companies have intercepted the consumer, and try as you may, individual franchises, brokers, or agents will never have enough individual horsepower to beat the portals. However, with cooperation amongst the 670 MLSs, the 85,000 brokers, and the 1.3 million real estate professionals – we can offer an alternative. You have two choices. You can stand around and complain, or you can step up and lead. The hard work has already been done. It’s built.

Go to the Android Store or the Apple App Store and put Homesnap on your phone right now. Invite your clients right now. They will love it, and they will appreciate you more for pointing them to the best app and website the way it was meant to be for a home search experience.

Are you sick and tired of advertising portals and want to create an industry alternative that is motivated by cooperation and business rules that promote your relationship with consumers? You must engage. The app will not load itself.

By the way, it is important you know that there is no profit motive behind this. Nobody involved in the Broker Public Portal may ever receive a dividend or profit from your listings. In fact, the founding shareholders may not even redeem their unit shares. Those investments made by founding MLSs and Brokers only allow them to participate in guiding the company to make sure that the Broker Public Portal and Homesnap does not stray from its course, providing consumers with professional quality property information from you and your cooperating peers in the MLS.

Adapted from an article by the The WAV Group, consultants to the Broker Public Portal/Homesnap

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Add/Edit Refresh Continues With Media!

Sunday night, June 3rd, Add/Edit will be down 11pm to 1am as we release the next stage of our newly developed system: the media module. This is where you upload and manage your photos, supplements and virtual tours. Like our recently released Open Houses update, it will be much easier to manage your media on any device: desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. And with this update, we include a new enhancement: Unlimited photo uploads per listing (increased from the previous 24-photo limit).

Take a look! (And check out below this video for more info/links.)

We also have videos and print guides for managing supplements and virtual tours:

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Rule Change Allows Exceptions to Duplicate Listings

We are happy to announce a rule change to honor your requests for better flexibility in working with your clients. Though NorthstarMLS rules do not allow duplicate listings in most cases, there are now two more exceptions:

  1. A property may be entered as Active in both Single Family Residential with “To-Be-Built” Construction Status, and in Lots & Land with the same Property Identification Number (PID). The property owner must complete and sign a listing input form for each of the property types that accurately represents what is being offered for sale on each listing.
  2. If you are selling a property with a large parcel of land, you may enter it in two different configurations. For example, let’s say your client has a house with 20 acres of land. You may want to enter it once with all 20 acres, and separately at a lower price with just 10 acres. They can both be entered in a single Property Type, or separate ones (for example the larger lot in Farms and the smaller one in Single Family Residential). Whatever configurations you and your client choose, you are limited to no more than two Active (and/or TNAS) listings for the same PID. This applies only to large parcel listings, so the acreage difference between the two listings must be more than one acre.

Here’s the important part for you to keep our Compliance Department at bay!
In both these exceptions, after the sale of the property, you must pend and then close the configuration that sold. The listing for the other configuration must be Cancelled within 24 hours of the other listing being Closed.

If you have questions about either of these exceptions, contact our Help Desk at 651-251-5456 (1-877-251-5455 toll free) or, M-F, 8:00 to 5:00.

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Tip of the Week for 5/21

Choosing the Right Appointment Type in ShowingTime

Being able to identify what type of appointment you are scheduling can help get the appointment confirmed faster. The listing agent will also be able to inform the owner or tenant (if necessary) to keep them updated on the process.

Whether it’s a first, second, or third showing, appraisal, photography, or walk-through, ShowingTime has got you covered! There’s even a drop down menu for specific inspection types, like chimney, foundation, pest, radon, roof and more.

The quick video below walks you through how to use and choose appointment types in ShowingTime.

Haven’t tried the ShowingTime mobile app? It’s available for iOS and Android devices. Download the app here.

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 We will use one submission each month and the winner will receive a $30 Caribou Coffee gift card!

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

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Artisan Home Tour

Artisan Home Tour REALTOR OPEN®  |  Friday, June 15 •  12–6pm

BATC-Housing First Minnesota is pleased to invite area REALTORS® to tour 22 exquisite new homes featured on this year’s Artisan Home Tour. Just bring your business card to get a free TourTicket and check out the Twin Cities’ most elite builders.

Visit for home information. Sponsored by James Hardie

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Invite Your Contacts to Join You!

Now that you have downloaded and registered your Homesnap app (with Broker Public Portal), you’re ready to use one of its most valuable features: Invite your Contacts to both download the app and connect with you!

Close to a quarter of a million (237,700) consumers have already accepted NorthstarMLS agent Homesnap invitations and connected! Each one of those connections has the potential to spread the word to friends and family and help the Real Estate Industry’s source of data go viral.

Why invite your Contacts into Homesnap?

  • Reduces their need to look to third party sites for information.
  • If they accept your invitation, their Homesnap app is branded to you, and all inquiries they make about listings go direct to you.
  • They get to use the same tool that you use as an agent: one of the highest rated real estate apps, and with the most accurate data direct from 125 MLS’s (and growing) across the country.
  • No distracting advertising or redirects to other agents.

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Open Houses Input Redesign

As announced last month, we’re rolling out a redesign of the NorthstarMLS Add/Edit system. The overhaul boasts a modern design that automatically adapts to your device (desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone). Open Houses was the first phase of the redesign that will be followed in the coming months by Media Uploads (photos, supplements and virtual tours), the listing input screens, and more.

For a quick look at how Inputting Open Houses works, check out our video below!

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Join the Broker Public Portal Movement!

Earlier this week, we posted the StarTribune article featuring NorthstarMLS as a participant in Homesnap, the technology partner of the Broker Public Portal. This national real estate industry-led effort enhances your client relationships and helps reclaim the agent-consumer relationship from third-party portals.

How can you participate? The first step is to download the Homesnap app for your smartphone/tablet and register for the agent PRO version. Over 11,500 NorthstarMLS subscribers have already done so. It’s quick and easy! The two-and-a-half minute video below shows you how. Or download our PDF Guide.

Next week we will cover the most important step–Invite your contacts to download Homesnap and connect with you.

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NorthstarMLS in the News!

Sunday’s Star Tribune featured a story on the Broker Public Portal, the real estate industry’s alternative to third party listing portals. The Broker Public Portal is known to consumers as Homesnap–the name of the smartphone app and website.

For the article, Star Tribune interviewed NorthstarMLS President & CEO John Mosey, who serves on the Broker Public Portal Board along with many other industry leaders.

As a NorthstarMLS subscriber, you have access to the “Pro” version of Homesnap where you can connect with all your contacts. Homesnap is available to all consumers with no advertising, and no paid agent placement on your listings. All inquiries about listings for sale from consumers (not already tied to an agent) go directly to the List Agent. Your listing, your lead!

Read the Star Tribune article.

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Rules Roundup: How’s Your Showing Etiquette?

Gearing up for the spring market? That likely means more showings and open houses.

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!

Don’t forget to use ShowingTime to manage your showings & open houses. It’s a NorthstarMLS core service and part of your MLS subscription.

Questions? Our rules & regs staff is here to help! Contact us at or 651-251-3210.

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