What’s New at NorthstarMLS?

We have a few new developments at NorthstarMLS and want to make sure you are aware.

  • The Public and Agent Remarks fields have been doubled from 500 to 1,000 characters max. More room to describe the property! Instanet (Transaction Desk) Forms have been updated.
     
  • Instanet (Transaction Desk) Forms: You no longer need to manually “Auto Populate” information from your Property Details Page to your forms. That now happens automatically through their “Rapid Population” process. As a result, the manual “Auto Populate” function has been removed.
     
  • All supplements are automatically removed from listings after eight days off market for all off market statuses. This reduces agent liability on future listings for not disclosing all previous supplements over the history of the property.
     
  • Exciting News! CoreLogic and Homesnap Join Forces on Integration to Matrix! You already have access to the Homesnap Pro mobile app (and Broker Public Portal) as a NorthstarMLS Core Service. We are very excited about the potential of Homesnap Pro being integrated into Matrix, allowing you to bring more Matrix functionality with you on the road. Although this is still at the “just announced” stage, we will keep you posted of any major developments.
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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 – 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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As announced yesterday, NorthstarMLS is taking actions to strengthen listing photo and data copyrights.  As described in that announcement, part of that process (when new listings are entered) is to record whether a NorthstarMLS subscriber took the photos and wrote the Agent/Public/Financial Remarks.

Below are some answers to frequently asked questions.

Do I have to respond to this prompt for each individual photo? You will respond to the prompt for each separate upload. So if you upload them one at a time, you will be prompted for each one. But if you upload multiple photos together, you only have to answer the prompt once for the whole group upload.

What if a subscriber took some but not all of the photos? Upload the photos the subscriber took and did not take separately. That way you can answer correctly for each batch.

I need to get the photos/listing uploaded and cannot determine who took the photos or wrote the Agent/Public/Financial Remarks. What do I do? Go ahead and upload the listing and/or photos. Answer “No” to the copyright prompt. If you later find out the answer is actually “Yes,” you can change to Yes for the Public/Agent/Financial Remarks simply by going back in and changing the dedicated Yes/No field next to the Agent/Public/Financial Remarks fields. For photos, the only way to change it is to delete the initial photos, and then upload them again.

I am being prompted to indicate who wrote the Public/Agent/Financial Remarks, but not who took the photos. Why? If your broker selected “Option 2” in the new NorthstarMLS Participation Agreement (no group copyright protection), then you will never be prompted to indicate who took the photos. But more likely, your broker has not yet completed their new Participation Agreement (they have until July 31st). Once they complete the Agreement (and if they select Option 1), then you will start being prompted.

If my photos do not have the copyright watermark, does that mean other NorthstarMLS agents/offices can take and use them on their own listings? No. Although we cannot enforce the copyright against theft outside the MLS, NorthstarMLS rules still prohibit using another agent’s work without permission.

Are you going to incorporate this into the listing input forms? For Agent/Public/Financial Remarks, yes we will add a checkbox to the forms for the agent to indicate whether a subscriber wrote the Remarks. We will work with Instanet on it this week and get it published as soon as possible. Photos are not practical to handle through the listing input form. When the agent sends you the photos, they should indicate whether or not they or another NorthstarMLS subscriber took them.

Who can I contact if I have more questions? Email our Help Desk at help@northstarmls.com or call them at 651-251-5456 (toll free at 1-877-251-5455).
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Public & Agent Remarks

Of these two examples, which set of Agent/Public remarks would you prefer to see in a MLS listing?

Agent Remarks: Located in a quiet, quality neighborhood. Relax on the sheltered patio or get in your pontoon and enjoy that entire 3,400 acre chain of lakes. Curl up in front of the enormous rock fireplace in the family room. Many updates, including new roof and siding in ‘09.

Public Remarks: Located in a quiet, quality neighborhood. Relax on the sheltered patio or get in your pontoon and enjoy that entire 3,400 acre chain of lakes. Curl up in front of the enormous rock fireplace in the family room. Many updates, including new roof and siding in ‘09.

OR
Agent Remarks: Condo Covenants and restrictions apply. 48 hour notice needed for a showing. April 15, 2013 is deadline all offers received by 3PM will be submitted to bank.
Public Remarks: Located in a quiet, quality neighborhood. Relax on the sheltered patio or get in your pontoon and enjoy that entire 3,400 acre chain of lakes. Curl up in front of the enormous rock fireplace in the family room. Many updates, including new roof and siding in ‘09.

Most would choose the second set of remarks. Simply copying information from Public Remarks over into the Agent Remarks field is redundant and wastes space on your reports and on the listing. Use Agent Remarks for details you want to communicate to other agents. Keep Agent Remarks for all of your listings updated, especially if they are date specific. This will save yourself and other NorthstarMLS users a lot of time and frustration.

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/idea you would like to share with other NorthstarMLS users. Send your questions, tips or ideas to tips@northstarmls.com. We will use one submission each month and the winner will receive a $30 Caribou Coffee gift card!

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