NorthstarMLS has a new field in its listings database: DNR Lake Class.

The Lake Class applies to properties in Minnesota and is determined by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.  When you enter a Minnesota lake property into NorthstarMLS, the Lake Class field is automatically populated from the DNR database.  We have also back-filled this field for existing listings.
You will find the DNR Lake Class field in the Waterfront search for all property types and cross property.  You can also add it to other searches using the “Add/Remove” link at the bottom of any search screen.  On displays, DNR Lake Class is in the Lake/Waterfront Information section (and will soon be added to the PDF reports). Here is how the Minnesota DNR defines its lake classes:

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT lakes usually have less than 150 total acres, less than 60 acres per mile of shoreline, and less than three dwellings per mile of shoreline. They may have some winter kill of fish; may have shallow, swampy shoreline; and are less than 15 feet deep.

RECREATIONAL DEVELOPMENT lakes usually have between 60 and 225 acres of water per mile of shoreline, between 3 and 25 dwellings per mile of shoreline, and are more than 15 feet deep.
GENERAL DEVELOPMENT lakes usually have more than 225 acres of water per mile of shoreline and 25 dwellings per mile of shoreline, and are more than 15 feet deep.
NOT APPLICABLE lakes have not been assigned a DNR Classification.
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Resend Auto Email Activation

Whenever you start a new Auto Email for someone, the first email includes a link to activate that search. If you have a client who did not enable their Auto Email, you can have a new initial email sent to them. Go to the My Matrix screen, and then Auto Emails. Click on the name of the Auto Email, and then on Settings tab (in red below).

Halfway down the page, select the “Disable” option, and click “Save” at the bottom. Then go back into the Settings, and re-enable the search. A new initial email will then go out to the recipient shortly there after.

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Survey Results: NorthstarMLS Help Desk

Had a question or concern with the NorthstarMLS system last year? Hopefully you contacted the NorthstarMLS Help Desk. Perhaps you were one of the 89 % that rated the overall service quality of the NorthstarMLS help desk as “excellent” in our recent Service Quality Index (SQI) survey.

The help desk consists of five technicians who answer an average of nearly 700 calls and emails weekly. “The help desk staff was excited and proud of the survey results,” said Michael Bisping, Director of Customer Service. “We strive to make every customer experience exemplary.” Calls range from easily resolved issues such as a forgotten password, to more complicated issues such as security software that blocks NorthstarMLS from working properly on a laptop.

Survey results revealed that 22% of respondents communicate with the help desk at least 1-4 per month. We hope that this is a sign that our customers are more and more confident and comfortable in using our service and its many features.

42% of Survey Respondents Submitted Written Comments
The SQI Survey allowed recipients to submit written comments. Here are a few that relate to the NorthstarMLS Help Desk.

• “I think the service and quality are excellent. Help desk is outstanding.”
• “Help desk has always been friendly and HELPFUL! (I’ve used many help desks that are nowhere near your caliber!) Thanks!”
• “Overall, I find MLS very user friendly and the help desk is always very helpful.”

Not all written comments were as favorable, but these are far and away most representative of how the 89% of respondents felt.

If you need assistance, the NorthstarMLS Help Desk is available 8-5 PM (Monday-Friday) at 651-251-5456 (or toll free 1-877-251-5455). We’re also available by email You can also check the NorthstarMLS “Tip of the Week” page, which is updated on Monday’s with quick tips on commonly asked questions concerning functionality of the entire NorthstarMLS system. Are you on Facebook? The “Tips of the Week” page can also be accessed through the NorthstarMLS Facebook page.

We will be breaking down the rest of the survey results throughout the course of the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

A Look at the 2012 NorthstarMLS SQI Survey Results
• This Infographic visually summarizes the 2012 NorthstarMLS SQI Survey Results
• In SQI survey, the most common written comments, both positive and critical, were regarding MLS system change. Check out what some customers said regarding MLS System Functionality and Change.

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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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Survey Results: System Functionality/Change

It was Jim Rohn (Entrepreneur & author) who uttered, “Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” In our recent Service Quality Index (SQI) survey, the most common written comments, both positive and critical, were regarding MLS system changes. Change can be positive, but also disruptive. We’re never going to change anything that isn’t intended to ultimately improve the lives of our customers. Even though sometimes, the MLS system changes can feel unnecessary, or too much, too often.

“There are new agents entering this business every day that want and need the tools of today and tomorrow – to look after the buyers and sellers of today and tomorrow,” said NorthstarMLS President and CEO, John Mosey, in a recent interview. “We can’t be comfortable with status quo that was designed for yesterday.”

Changes in the coming months include additional functionality in Instanet Lite to make it easier to create quick start groups (forms templates) and improvements to the NorthstarMLS mobile app, including access to the latest Realist tax data.

42% of Survey Respondents Add Written Comments
The SQI Survey allowed recipients to submit written comments. Here are a few that relate to MLS system change.

Positive Comments:
• “I find NorthstarMLS very easy to use, even after the upgrades occur.”
• “Always impressed how the MLS continues to be ‘new and improved’.”
• “I use the NorthstarMLS service more often than the other MLS system(s) I subscribe to. …seems easier than the other systems. I recommend the Northstar system to everyone.”

Critical Comments:
• “There have been a lot of changes this year. Can be a bit of a challenge to keep up.”
• “Too many changes in format. Nothing stays the same. As in all other aspects of life.”
• “Very rapid changes frustrate me often! Would prefer changes be aimed, if can, towards fall/winter time and not in my Spring/Summer market.”

We will be breaking down survey results throughout the course of the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

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Locate Addresses in Map Search

Have a specific address that you’re searching for while doing a map search? When you’re conducting your map search in Matrix, click on “Jump to” (top right of map) and you’ll see a list of several options drop down. Since you already know your desired address, select the “Address…” option at the top of the list (circled in red below).

Once you’ve clicked on “Address…” a new search option will pop up in the middle of your map search screen (as seen below in screenshot). Now you can enter the information of the address that you’re searching for. Click “Locate” once you’ve entered the address information and your search results will be displayed.

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NorthstarMLS recently conducted its seventh annual Service Quality Index Survey. The survey garnered overall subscriber feedback. Recipients were selected on a completely random basis. The results we received this year, and in the past, are invaluable to us. They help us understand what we can do better to serve you and remain one of the most well respected MLS’s in the country. We will be breaking down survey results throughout the course of the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

This Infographic visually summarizes the 2012 NorthstarMLS SQI Survey Results. Click on the image below for a larger view.

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Adding Additional Search Fields: Terms (seller will accept)

Have you ever wanted to add a new field to your search that lets you search for properties that are FHA, DVA or Contract for Deed? When you’re in Matrix, click the “Search” tab to get to the Single-Family/Multi-Family screen. Then select the type — General, Detail or Address. At the bottom left of the page, you will see “Additional Fields” with the option to Add or Remove them. Click on the “Add/Remove” to view a list of “Available Fields.” (Note: You will not see the option to remove a field unless you have already added a new field.)

Now you’re on the “Frequently Used Fields” page (shown above). You have the option to choose from a large alphabetized list of fields, including: Terms (seller will accept). Highlight the “Terms” field and click the “Add” button to move it to “Selected Fields.” Once you’ve added the proper field, click “Back.”

You are now able to scroll through the Terms field, where you will find several different options.

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Not all Showing Agents Have BookAShowing

Perhaps you’ve come across this scenario: You’re a NorthstarMLS subscribed agent or office staff, and an agent from another MLS calls to schedule a showing for one of your listings. Because you use BookAShowing exclusively, you tell the caller they have to use BookAShowing if they want an appointment.

But before you dismiss this agent and their potential buyer, please keep in mind that not all MLS’s have the BookAShowing application available. NorthstarMLS participates in the state-wide SASI data share. This means that your listings are seen by agents at most of the MLS’s in greater Minnesota. They view the listings in their own MLS and do not have access to the BAS links and buttons we have in NorthstarMLS. Therefore, the only way these agents and their clients can get in to see your listings is if you or your office staff helps make the appointment for them.

We appreciate your understanding and patience in responding to these inquiries in a helpful manner. Everyone’s cooperation ensures that the statewide data sharing can continue and you have the widest pool of potential buyers for your clients’ listings.

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