Have you worked with a client that is in the market for a greener, more sustainable home? You’re probably not alone if you answered “YES.”

Over half of REALTORS® recently surveyed in the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) REALTORS® and Sustainability report say consumers have an interest in sustainability as it pertains to real estate – homes that have features intended to conserve natural resources (for example: solar panels). NorthstarMLS Matrix has energy efficiency fields, such as Green Certification and HERS Score, and several energy-efficient features that might appeal to your “green” buyer.

NAR recently surveyed its members pertaining to sustainability issues facing their industry. Here are some key findings:

  • Forty-three percent of respondents report their MLS has green data fields.
  • Seventy-one percent said that energy efficiency promotion in listings was very or somewhat valuable.
  • Fifty-six percent of respondents find clients are at least somewhat interested in sustainability.
  • Sixty-one percent of respondents are comfortable answering clients’ questions about home performance.
  • Eighty percent said that solar panels are available in their market. Forty-two percentsaid solar panels increased the perceived property value.
  • Twenty-seven percent of agents and brokers were involved with 1 to 5 propertiesthat had green features in the last 12 months.

You can read the full REALTORS® and Sustainability report from NAR here.

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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.


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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Just announced, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has made HERS a national standard governing home energy ratings of new and existing homes. In 2013, more than 218,000 homes were labeled with the HERS Index score, representing about 50% of all new home sales across the nation. (Read the full announcement.)

NorthstarMLS added HERS Score (along with a Green Certification indicator) last June. More information here and here.

The HERS Index is easy to understand. Here is a quick guide.

If you represent a property with a HERS score, be sure to enter that score on the listing in NorthstarMLS (and attach the report as a supplement)!

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Effective June 6, NorthstarMLS adds two new data fields: Green Certification and HERS Score.

Green Certification: A simple “Yes/No” field to identify whether the property has been green/energy efficient certified by one of the following: MN Green Path, Energy Star, LEED-H, NAHB Green, MN GreenStar, Green Communities or WI Green Built Home. If selecting “Yes,” documentation of the certification must be attached to the listing as a supplement. Certification must apply to the entire home, not just a remodeled portion or appliances within the home.

HERS Score: Field for entering a HERS score of energy efficiency. Score must be established by a third party RESNET Rater and documentation attached to the listing as a supplement. HERS score must apply to the entire home, not just a remodeled portion.

NorthstarMLS is pleased to add these fields in order to better communicate the value of energy efficiency as a matter of consumer interest.  We are also pleased to announce a closer working relationship with the Builders Association of the Twin Cities. Read our joint press release about the new fields. We look forward to continuing this relationship to make MLS improvements that benefit agents, appraisers, builders, and everyone’s clients.
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