Do you use the Map Search feature in Matrix? Do you have clients who want a home within a specific commute time to their job? Good news! We’ve got the perfect tool for you. Use INRIX Drive Time in map search to find homes that are within a specified commute time to a client’s job. You can even overlap the spouse’s desired commute!

Buyers Find Commuting Costs Essential
Among recent buyers who found commuting costs very important, 66% said that convenience to their job was important when choosing a neighborhood, according to NAR’s 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

Watch the 2-minute video below to see how INRIX Drive Time works in Matrix!

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It’s a nice hot summer Saturday afternoon, but you’re hard at it – a full day showing your clients home to potential buyers. But 3PM has passed, and you’ve just had another scheduled showing bail on you with no warning. Annoying and unprofessional, right?

Last month, we posted this infographic that illustrates some showing etiquette tips. Home showings and open house etiquette is for the most part common sense. Having respect for sellers and the real estate agents involved in the process will go a long way to helping ensure an enjoyable house hunting experience for everyone involved.

The situations below were recently reported to the NorthstarMLS Rules and Regs Department:

  • Early is good in some cases – like showing up to a job interview. But early is not always good for home showings. While a lot of homes are vacant during the selling process, it’s not always the case. Many sellers still live in the home they are selling, so arriving to the showing at the time scheduled is very important. An early arrival at a showing could make for an uncomfortable situation for everyone.
  • The home smelled like gas, but it wasn’t reported to the home owner/seller’s agent until the next day. Always report suspicious smells like gas or any other activity that might seem out of the ordinary.
  • Five showings in one day were canceled and the showing agent did not receive any cancellation message from the buyer’s agent. Always contact the showing agent/listing agent if you can’t make the scheduled appointment! Things come up. Even if you need to cancel last minute, a phone call, text message or email is common courtesy and won’t leave your colleagues wasting valuable time.

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

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“TLC can help remove the fear that may be keeping them from purchasing a property.” That quote is from a story on Inman News (must have Inman Select membership to read article), who quoted Paul Sigurdson, a veteran agent with Counselor Realty.

“It can be a dream-shattering experience to find a home that suits your wants and needs, only to be told you won’t qualify after you’ve made an offer,” Paul added.

The Inman News story notes that by using True Lifestyle Cost (TLC), you can help your buyers “peek under the hood to see how QM rules work,” as Paul says, and help consumers discover if they qualify for more home than they thought, or don’t currently qualify, and help figure out a game plan for future loan approval.

Check out TLC today and see how you can help your buyers focus on properties that truly fit into their price range! When you’re in Matrix, click on “True Lifestyle Cost” on the External Links and try TLC today.

Want to learn more about True Lifestyle Costs (TLC)?
Click here to check out a library of articles, videos and tutorials to help you get started using TLC, or to learn more about this great new MLS tool.

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Tip of the Week – Eliminate Duplicate Feedback Forms

We recently posted a reminder of the importance of showing feedback. There was good discussion via social media/NorthstarMLS Blog that included a couple more suggestions. Check them out below. Remember — showing feedback doesn’t have to be a painful experience!

Listing photos & MLS # Displayed on BAS Feedback Requests
This past June we announced three BookAShowing enhancements – including the MLS number and primary photo that are now linked to the listing in Matrix. Click to open the Matrix property full display in a new tab/window. These links are available in BAS on the scheduling screen, showings calendar, feedback forms and feedback emails. The screen shot below shows the BAS feedback request with the MLS # and photo that are now clickable.

(Click the image to open a larger version of it)

Turn off Multiple Feedback Requests
Some brokerages have their own automated showing feedback forms, as does Centralized Showing Service (CSS). We often hear from Showing Agents that they are more likely to respond to your feedback form if you request it through just one system. If your brokerage has its own feedback form (or uses CSS), disable either the brokerage/CSS feedback form, or the BookAShowing feedback form (you may want to check with your broker to see if they have a preference/policy). To turn BAS feedback forms off or on, select Settings from the menu bar and then scroll down to the Feedback Defaults section. Contact your broker or CSS if you need help disabling their feedback forms.

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 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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TLC or True Lifestyle Cost, uses 31 variables, including commuting, parking, gas, car insurance, child-care costs and more to let you help buyers search for and compare homes based on their true total costs.

“TLC helps buyers narrow their search.” That’s how the Minneapolis Star-Tribune characterized TLC, an exciting core service from NorthstarMLS that is free to subscribers and can be applied to any listing in the NorthstarMLS system.

Login today and see how TLC can help you help your buyers search smarter!

Want to learn more about True Lifestyle Costs (TLC)?
Click here to check out a library of articles, videos and tutorials to help you get started using TLC, or to learn more about this great new MLS tool.

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Have a showing recently? Did you and your buyer client submit feedback following the showing? Hopefully you answered “yes” to both of those (if you’re a buyer’s agent). In 2015, NorthstarMLS users have a 75% feedback rate (YTD), but there is always room for improvement.

Leaving feedback on a listing may seem like a small thing, but it is not. Buyer feedback is essential. Listing agents/home sellers rely on the feedback of other professional realtors and their clients to position their listing(s) for a successful sale. Without it, home sellers won’t know what they are doing right and what could be improved upon.

Showing feedback doesn’t have to be a painful experience. If you’re using BookAShowing, a NorthstarMLS core service, for showing appointments/feedback, you can easily fill out one of the integrated feedback forms.

Showing Etiquette This infographic illustrates some showing etiquette tips that we’ve received from agents, along with some plain common sense to help ensure a pleasant house hunting experience for everyone involved.

Questions? Our rules & regs staff is here to help! If you have questions about NorthstarMLS rules and regs, contact us at or call 651-251-3210.

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TLC: A Whole New Way to Home Search

Have you tried adding a little TLC to your business? TLC, or True Lifestyle Cost, is a whole new way to home search. TLC is based on total homeownership costs. It goes way beyond a buyer’s home payment of PITI –principal, interest, taxes and insurance – to include energy bills, commuting expenses, maintenance costs, child care, and more – all those forgotten expense that become very real after one moves in.

Help your buyers discover a better way to search. Sign into you account and select TLC from the External Links. You’ll give you customers a better way to discover homes they truly can afford.

This brief overview video shows you how to get started. Give it a view and try TLC today!

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TrustFunds Makes Earnest Money Deposits a Snap for your Buyers!

Are you using TrustFunds with your buyers on the listings of participating brokers? Don’t miss out on this fast, secure and easy way to make earnest money deposits. Your clients will love you for it!

TrustFunds is available through NorthstarMLS to all agents representing buyers who have completed their personal profile. It is not a requirement that your broker be a member of TrustFunds for you to facilitate the electronic deposit of your buyer’s earnest money as long as the listing broker is a member of TrustFunds.

If a listing broker is a member of TrustFunds, the ‘TrustFunds Electronic Earnest Money Deposit’ link will appear on the detail page of the listing below the photo. In addition, you will see the TrustFunds icon next to the name of the listing broker in the Contact Information section of the listing.

To get started simply click on the ‘TrustFunds’ link in the External Links box on the Matrix home screen (or from the drop-down Home tab menu) and complete your profile.

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NorthstarMLS Podcast – Lynn Leegard of TrustFunds

As we recently announced, TrustFunds is now available through NorthstarMLS. TrustFunds is a secure and convenient web-based service that allows buyers to simply and securely make their earnest money payment online and easily verify the status at anytime. We had the opportunity to sit down with Lynn Leegard, co-founder of TrustFunds, for our first-ever episode of the NorthstarMLS Real Estate Podcast. Give it a listen!

Hit the Play botton below to listen to the NorthstarMLS Podcast

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