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.


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.


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.

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

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

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

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 for 8/18
Construction Types

Did you know that you can search for or exclude specific construction types? This is particularly helpful for finding new construction or opportunities to build from scratch. The Construction Type field is available on the Detail search, or you can add it to the General search.

Below are definitions for each value. Even if you don’t search on this field, it’s helpful to check it on listings for which your clients are interested. You don’t want to waste time trying to schedule a showing on a To-Be-Built!

  • Previously Owned: The residence is currently or was previously occupied as a dwelling.
  • Completed New Construction: The residence is ready for occupation but has not yet been occupied.
  • Under Construction/Spec Home: Construction on the residence has begun but is not yet completed.
  • To-Be-Built/Floor Plan: A drawing or blueprint of a residence that may be purchased and constructed.
  • Model: A residence constructed as part of a sales campaign to demonstrate design, structure and appearance of a development.

Thanks to Jenna Potter of Oak Realty (Annandale) for submitting her Tip of the Week on ‘new construction types’. Jenna will receive a $30 Caribou Coffee gift card for her 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 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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