Looking for a simple way to share your listings via social media? We recommend using the Share My Listings (SMyL) widget, NorthstarMLS’s very own social networking listings delivery tool! NorthstarMLS users can share their active residential listings through Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, LinkedIn, blog or company website in just a few clicks. Here are a couple common questions/scenarios to keep in mind when using the SMyL widget:

Can I advertise another agent’s listing?
No. As a NorthstarMLS participant, you are able to share MLS listing information with customers, but you may not advertise or “share” another agent’s listing without explicit permission from the listing broker. If it’s not your listing, you cannot post it to social media or Craigslist, or include it in a flyer, newsletter, email or any other advertising avenue without permission.

Remember that another broker has a contract that provides exclusive right to sell that property, and your participation in the MLS does not entitle you to infringe on that contract by advertising the property.

What about Broker Reciprocity?
Broker Reciprocity (BR) is a system where brokers give each other permission to advertise active listings on each other’s websites. The website must be registered with NorthstarMLS and comply with explicit display rules. The BR listing database may be displayed only on the approved broker or agent website complying with display rules. The listings may not be displayed on social media or other third party websites.

You may post your own listings on social media or advertising sites as long as you comply with advertising law, your broker’s advertising policy, and customer preferences (including their preferences regarding allowing consumer comments and auto-valuations).

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Showing Etiquette

You’ve searched homes for your client on the MLS, now it’s time to schedule some showings. Already fraught with tension for the seller, and anticipation for the potential buyer, open houses can turn into a disaster or flop on the smallest incident. Here is some showing etiquette to follow — along with some plain common sense, to help ensure a pleasant house hunting experience for everyone involved.

  • 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
  • If the showing gets canceled or postponed, let the listing office know immediately so the seller can be contacted
  • Be on time
  • 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
  • View the home together with your potential buyer — avoid letting them roam the home by themselves
  • Never allow buyers to enter a property unaccompanied
  • 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
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Agent-Only Supplements

Agent-Only Supplements allow you to mark any supplement you upload to a listing as intended for other NorthstarMLS subscribers only. Supplements you mark as “Agent-Only” will not be included in the “Customer” version of displays and emails. You may include appropriate contact information, company logos and third party names or contact information.

To mark an uploaded supplement as Agents Only, click the “Edit” link.

In the pop-up box, select Agents Only in the “Viewable by” drop-down. Click the “Update” button. Finally, click the “Save and Close” button.

If you want the supplement to be available to prospective buyers through Customer display emails, Select “All” in the Viewable by drop-down menu. Selecting “All” means the public remarks rules apply and no contact or marketing information should be included.

If you currently have any public supplements on your listings that contain branding or contact information, please edit these to mark them as Agent Only.

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NorthstarMLS rules are designed to ensure that every listing is current, complete, and accurate. Complying with the rules ensures a better system for all participants and their customers. Three commonly missed rules are:

1. Accurate Data: All information must be accurate and complete. Incorrect information may include designating a nonconforming bedroom as a regular bedroom, or an incorrect PID number or square footage.

2. Enter a listing or submit a Certification to Withhold within 2 business days:
You rely on timely access to listings to serve your buyers, and your sellers rely on you to make their property available as quickly as possible. Listings must be entered on the MLS within 2 business days. If your customer wants to withhold from the MLS, you must submit a Certification to Withhold Form to NorthstarMLS within 2 business days of the contract effective date.

3. Update listing status: If you’ve ever called to schedule a showing only to find that the property is pending, then you probably understand the importance of timely system updates. Enter any status change (cancellation, pending sale, closed sale, change in price, TNAS) as soon as possible but always within 2 business days. If there is a contingency on the sale and you want to continue showing the property, you may leave the listing in Active status, but the purchase agreement must be disclosed using the field titled “Contingency.”

Please contact the NorthstarMLS rules department with any questions at 651-251-3210 or help@northstarmls.com

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Public Remarks Fields

NorthstarMLS subscribers should feel comfortable sharing listing information with their clients, knowing they are not promoting another agent or service. The public remarks field is available on customer reports and to broker and agent websites. It’s important that this field not be used for advertising agents, builders or any third party.

The fields designated as public fields include: Public Remarks, Open House Remarks, Public Supplements, Virtual Tours and Driving Directions. The Public Remarks fields should be used to describe only the property, its vicinity, and any incentives provided by the seller to the buyer specifically related to the property.

Common mistakes include:

  • Do not add the listing agent’s name, contact info, or any agent, broker or third party promotional material (such as incentives to use a mortgage or title company).
  • Unbranded virtual tours are the only allowed web link in the virtual tour field. The tour must only describe the property for sale and its vicinity and cannot link out to another site.
  • You may list the name of the builder or brand names (for example “Acme Windows”) only to the extent that it describes the property. It is acceptable to add, “Built by Acme Homes,” but not to add, “Built by Acme Homes—premiere builder of quality homes.”
  • Open House information is restricted to the designated fields, not in public remarks.
  • Buyer incentives are acceptable when they are from the seller, relate specifically to the property, and would typically be allowed on the HUD statement. Acceptable: Seller will pay $3,000 closing costs or Price Reduced by $15,000. Unacceptable: Seller will give a free HDTV with Blu-ray player. Seller will give a trip to Hawaii. Seller will give a $500 Gift Card.
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Rules Roundup: Seller’s Contribution

The accurate reporting of sales concessions plays a big role in accurately determining the value of a property. It is important for CMAs and appraisals. The Seller Contribution field is required for sold listings and must be reported accurately. The sold price reflects the gross sales price, so the Seller Contribution field is necessary to avoid misrepresentations.

The National Association of REALTORS defines seller contributions as: points paid by seller on behalf of buyer, seller-paid buyer closing costs, cash or cash allowances not escrowed, down payment assistance, additions or alterations not considered deferred maintenance, and personal property not usual and customary to such transactions conveyed from seller to buyer having an agreed upon monetary value.

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Property Photo Required 

Property photos enhance the value of your listing to potential buyers, other agents and the abundance of websites that will display your listing. Photos are required for ALL listings except: Lots and Land, Under Construction, To Built/Floor Plan and Models. Ideally a photo will be added at the time of entry, but NorthstarMLS rules allow two business days in the event that is not possible. Photos are required regardless of the listing status (even if the listing is cancelled, goes pending, or the status is TNAS).

Reminders about your photos:

  • No text (regardless of message) allowed.
  • Do not copy photos from the listing of another participant without permission.
  • The photo may not be digitally altered so that it no longer accurately reflects the property.
  • The photo must be appropriate — nothing of obscene nature. Nothing that you wouldn’t post on your own professional real estate website.
  • No broker/agent/builder signs or promotion allowed.
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Listing Agreement

A List Agreement is the first step to entering a listing on the MLS. If you don’t have one, you should not enter the listing on NorthstarMLS. Entering a listing without a listing agreement is considered a serious violation with a fine of $1,000 for a first offense.

The listing agreement authorizes the listing broker to cooperate with and to compensate other brokers. NorthstarMLS does not dictate the form of the agreement, except that:

1. The listing agreement must adequately protect the interest of the public and the participants.
2. The listing agreement must not establish, directly or indirectly, a contractual relationship between NorthstarMLS and the client (buyer or seller).
3. The listing agreement must include the seller’s written authorization in order to submit the agreement to the MLS.

Contact the Rules Department with any questions at 651-251-3210.

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Have you ever wondered if you can embed a YouTube video in your NorthstarMLS listing? Unfortunately, this is not allowed. All video tours must be only of the property and cannot link out to any other websites (which YouTube does). The tour must also be free from any contact information, broker or agent branding, and third party promotions.

NorthstarMLS makes the tour available to nearly 4,000 NorthstarMLS agent and broker websites. Those other sites should feel confident that your tour won’t take their clients away from their site or direct them back to the listing agent or other entity.

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When can I enter a Comp Sold Listing?

If you represent the buyer in a transaction and the seller has not signed a listing contract with a NorthstarMLS participant, you may (with the buyer’s signature on an Input form) record the sale on NorthstarMLS as a Comp Sold. A Comp Sold is a property sold by an MLS participant when the property was never available for sale on NorthstarMLS. A Comp Sold will not have a listing agent as there was no listing contract under NorthstarMLS.

A Comp Sold cannot be entered as an actual listing and then changed to sold because it never has active status, so it should not show MLS Market Time.

Comp Sold listings do count towards broker market share, and will be available to other agents and appraisers for CMAs and appraisals. There are fewer required fields on a Comp Sold listing, but we encourage you to enter all fields as they are valuable for those CMAs and appraisals.

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