Photo Improvements Coming Wednesday!

We are happy to announce three major new photo enhancements for NorthstarMLS!

  • We have increased the maximum number of photos per listing from 18 to 24.
  • We have increased the maximum photo resolution from 640×480 to 1024×768. Potential buyers will see your beautiful photos in more detail! Be sure to adjust your camera settings or inform your photographer.
  • Uploading a photo that’s not right-side up? Now you can quickly rotate it within Add/Edit with the click of a button. See how here.

These enhancements will take effect Wednesday, April 13.

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

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In late January, the Map Page and Map Coordinate fields will be removed from listing input in Add/Edit. The fields will be kept in NorthstarMLS but will automatically be populated based on the property geo-coordinates. This maintains the information for those who need it (such as for the Uniform Appraisal Report) but takes away the need for listing agents/offices to have to look it up when adding a new listing.

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Tip of the Week – NorthstarMLS Core Services

Did you know that there are over 20 NorthstarMLS Core Services? These are the applications and services that are included with your MLS fees at no additional charge — which include Matrix, Realist, BookAShowing, Add/Edit, Infosparks and more.

You can view all NorthstarMLS Core Services here

Additional Tools & Services
NorthstarMLS® contracts with a number of 3rd party vendors who provide additional value-add services to NorthstarMLS users. NorthstarMLS provides a data feed to these vendors. They incorporate the data into their products and market them to NorthstarMLS users for an additional fee. Click here to see a list of all the vendors who currently have a data feed.

Please Note: NorthstarMLS does not endorse any of these products/services, nor do we provide technical support for them. We enable their use in our market through the MLS data feed. Purchase of any of these additional tools is your business decision. Contact them directly to learn more about and purchase their products.

Need a little Extra Guidance of the NorthstarMLS System?
Check out the NorthstarMLS YouTube Channel! You can go online quickly learn how to use some of the NorthstarMLS® core services, and even learn some tips and tricks for them.


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!


Tips On Demand 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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NorthstarMLS is pleased to announce improvements to its Accessible data field. The Minnesota Association of Realtor’s Diversity Committee recommended these changes based on community needs and how the field is used at other major MLS’s around the country.

The Accessible data field now has all of these options available:

  • Wheelchair Ramp (previously Ramp)
  • Reduced Height Counters (previously Counters)
  • Lowered Switches/Controls (previously Switches/Outlets)
  • Raised Outlets (new option)
  • No Stairs Internal (previously No Stairs)
  • No Stairs External (previously No Stairs)
  • Elevator (previously combined with Lift)
  • Stair Chair Lift (previously combined with Elevator)
  • Doors 36”+ (previously combined with Hallways)
  • Hallways 42”+ (previously combined with Doors)
  • Door Lever Handles (new option)
  • Roll-In Shower (new option)
  • Grab Bars in Bathroom (new option)

There are dozens of other potential accommodations that can improve a home’s accessibility. But these are the ones the Committee sees as most common and most sought. If you are selling a home with additional accommodations, we encourage you to list those in Remarks or a supplement.

Important Note: If you have a current listing with Accessible options selected, please check it and edit as needed. We mapped the old field to the new field as best we could, but there may be omissions.

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NorthstarMLS has added several new data fields and additional options for some existing fields. Many of these enhancements result from a joint effort between agents and homebuilders to encourage more new construction inventory to be entered into the MLS. These new and revised fields are all available in Add/Edit, Instanet Forms and for search and display in Matrix (except PDF reports, which will be updated soon).

Public and Agent Remarks
The Public and Agent Remarks fields are expanded from 255 characters to 500. This change is in response to the many requests we have had for more Remarks space and a review of the idea with our Agent Advisory Committee. While we still encourage the use of supplements, this allows more room to describe the property with fewer abbreviations.

NEW FIELDS:

Certificate of Occupancy Date
Common in new constructions and indicates when the property can be occupied.

Availability Date for Closing
Also common with new constructions and helpful information for buyers.

Total Units Sold
This is for use with new developments when multiple units are listed under a single listing. We already have a field for Total Units Available. This field allows agents to indicate number sold and can be updated ongoing for the life of the development listing.

Community Name
Specifically for new construction community names and located in the new construction section. Designed to make it easier to identify and search all homes in a specific new construction community.

Builder Name, Builder License Number and Builder Association(s)
Through a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, we created a MN builder name pick list that auto-populates the builder license number. We also have a Builder Association pick list for MN and WI. These fields will make it easy to search specific builder inventory and ensure that builder names are entered consistently and accurately. (The builder Association we contacted in western Wisconsin declined to participate, but we were able to source a limited builder list for the area.) These fields are available for Single Family, Lots & Land and Cross Property.

Garage Square Feet, Garage Door Height and Garage Door Width
These are also commonly requested fields since our recent addition of Garage Dimensions. These are all optional fields, but we recommend them, as many buyers are interested in space available for vehicles, boats, etc.

CHANGES TO EXISTING FIELDS:

Construction Status
There are two options for Models—Model (for sale) and Model (not for sale). To list a Model (not for sale) requires that at least one Active listing be tied to that Model and available for sale (To-Be-Built, Under Construction and/or New Construction). All current Models on NorthstarMLS were automatically converted to Model (for sale). If you have an Active Model that is not for sale, you will need to manually correct it in Add/Edit.

Directions
Expanding from 200 to 300 characters. Allows more detailed directions when a new development is not yet available on mapping/GPS apps.

Amenities-Unit
Added Indoor Sprinklers (required in most new constructions over 4,500 gross square feet)

Exterior
Added Engineered Wood. Here is a definition for Engineered Wood and how it differs from Fiber Board.

  • Fiberboard: Typically manufactured 1980-1998, an external structural sheathing hardboard material made from steam cooked and pressure molded wood particles, cellulose or synthetic fibers or composites. Masonite is a common brand.
  • Engineered Wood: Typically manufactured 1999 or later, an external structural framing material made from wood veneer (such as plywood), oriented strand board (OSB) or laminated dimensional lumber (glue laminated beam). “Engineered” to eliminate flaws, resist moisture/deterioration (using sealants), and be cost effective to install and maintain.  Brands include SmartSide, Catawba and TruWood.

Extra Rooms
Added Athletic Court, Flex Room and Other

Appliances
Added Tankless Water Heater

Association Fee Includes
Added Internet

Air Conditioning and Heating
Added Ductless Mini-Split

Bathroom Description
Added Walk-In Shower Stall (this is not a shower head over a bathtub, but a separate stall)
Added Bathroom Ensuite (attached to and only accessible from a bedroom)
Jack & Jill has been expanded to three options: Full Jack & Jill, 3/Ž4 Jack & Jill, and 1Ž/2 Jack & Jill.

Note: Because we have no way of knowing whether currently selected Jack & Jill Baths are full, three-quarters or half, we did not convert them. If your listing has a Jack & Jill bathroom, you need to manually reselect it in Add/Edit.

Green Certification
Changed from a Yes/No option to three new options: Pending, Tested and Certified.

Note: Because we have no way of knowing which new option fits for current “Yes” green certification listings, we did not convert them. If your listing is Green Certified, you need to manually select one of the new options in Add/Edit. Please carefully note the definitions for the new options, in particular “Certified” which goes beyond a simple energy efficiency score.

  • Pending: Test ordered. In process of being tested. May have had tester visits, but data not yet run through model to provide score.
  • Tested: Final testing and energy efficiency score by a certified rater.
  • Certified: More comprehensive level of certification beyond energy efficiency. May include indoor air quality, water resource management, etc.

For any of the above, documentation must be uploaded as a supplement.

Days On Market
The regular Days on Market (DOM) and Days on Market at Current List Price (PDOM) have been adjusted to be consistent with Cumulative Days on Market (CDOM). Time spent in the To-Be-Built, Under Construction and Model statuses does not count in the market time of New Construction status properties.

Listing Input Forms
The NorthstarMLS listing input forms have all been revised on Instanet with these changes. Please note they can no longer accommodate the length of Multi-Family Residential on a single form. It has been broken out into two forms.

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Tip of the Week – Photo Fail

Adding photos to your listing with Add/Edit? If needed, don’t forget to correct the orientation of the photos and save in a third-party photo editing application, such as Adobe Photoshop or Corel PaintShop Pro, before uploading the photo(s) to Matrix. There are a plethora of photo editing tools out there — free and paid subscription. Make sure you have saved the photo in its proper orientation before you upload to the MLS.

Failure to do so could result in your photo uploads to appear upside down or sideways on the MLS or Client Portal. More homebuyers than ever before begin their home search online and listing photos are often the first thing they see. So make a good first impression!


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!


Tips On Demand 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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Tip of the Week – Extra Room Type Field

Have a client that absolutely must have a billiards room in the home they are buying? NorthstarMLS Matrix allows you to search for properties that have Extra Rooms — such as a den, office, exercise room, bar, game room, porch, sauna and many more. You just need to add the “Extra Room Types” field to your search by using the “Additional Fields” link.

Watch this brief tutorial video (under 2 minutes) to see how it’s done.

Click here to watch the video


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!


Tips On Demand 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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Tip of the Week – Including Pet Information

Have you ever had a buyer that is looking to purchase a condo or townhouse, but has an 85-pound German Shepard or a new kitten accompanying them? It can be challenging to help your buyer(s) find one that allows pets.

NorthstarMLS does have a few pet-related checkbox fields in Add/Edit – in the “Restrictions/Covenants” section. (As seen in the screen shot below.)  A condo or townhome community/association might say, “pets are allowed,” but often times that means cats only or small dogs less than 25 pounds.

If you’re a listing agent, consider adding additional, more specific pet information in the Remarks section or supplement. Better to give that information upfront to save time for everyone. Buyers and their agents will appreciate it!

An example of Remark with pet information included
“New furnace, windows and roof. 2 stall garage. Pets welcome, limit 1 cat/dog. Some breed restrictions on dogs, weight <75 preferred. Move in ready.”

Thanks to Brenda Schiemo-Smith of Edina Realty (Coon Rapids) for submitting her Tip of the Week idea on including more specific pet info in the remarks section. Brenda will receive a $30 Caribou Coffee gift card for the submission!


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!


Tips On Demand 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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Tip of the Week – Garage Stall Dimensions

What size is that garage? Of the current 30,000+ Active Single-Family homes listed on the NorthstarMLS system, only 9.3% of them disclose the Garage Dimensions.

Last summer we added several commonly requested data fields to the MLS – including Garage Dimensions. While it is an optional field, most buyers want to know information about a property’s garage.

A spacious garage is very desirable – promote it by giving the dimensions. Even if the garage can only hold a MINI Cooper, lawnmower and a snow shovel – buyers usually want to know what sort of garage space they’ll get with the home they are interested in. If you have a listing(s) with omitted garage dimensions, update it. Better to give that information upfront to save time for everyone. Buyers and their agents will appreciate it!

You will find Garage Dimension field in Add/Edit under the “Structure” section of the listing (above the Garage Stall # field) – as seen in the screen shot below.


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!


Tips On Demand 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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Tip of the Week – Seeing Double!

Agent Remarks is a great tool to convey specifics about a listing to agents/appraisers only, while Public Remarks allow you to share more details about the home with potential buyers and consumers.

Agent Remarks is a great tool to convey specifics about a listing to agents/appraisers only, while Public Remarks allow you to share more details about the home with potential buyers and consumers.

Wait — was the exact same information about Agent and Public Remarks just parroted twice above? Why yes, it was. Rather annoying isn’t it? Kind of like when you look at a listing and the exact same text is in both the Agent and Public Remarks.

While there is no rule against parroting the Public Remarks in the Agent Remarks, why do it?

  • Agent Remarks is a great way to communicate important info direct to agents and appraisers that the public won’t see. Don’t waste that opportunity with redundancy.
  • It’s O.K. to leave the Agent Remarks field blank! It’s not a required field. If you have nothing you need to convey about the listing for agents’ eyes only, leave it blank. No one will think less of you; rather they will appreciate the saved report space and printer ink.
  • We post a lot about the importance of courtesy to fellow agents/appraisers and ensuring clean, accurate data. Using Agent and Public Remarks appropriately is another way of supporting that and being a good MLS citizen!

Do any of your listings parrot the Public Remarks in the Agent Remarks field? If so, consider visiting Add/Edit to clean them up today!


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!


Tips On Demand 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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