Rules Roundup – Strangers at Showings

These three things recently happened to a NorthstarMLS agent while showing homes, and the lessons learned.

Unknown Buyer Wanders In
When showing a home recently, the agent left the front door half open (the glass storm door was closed). He was showing the property to his clients when they heard a noise. An unknown buyer had entered – the individual had arrived before their agent arrived on location and walked right in. It was awkward getting the people out.

Not an Open House
At another recent showing, the agent led his client inside and the client proceeded through the house for glimpse of the backyard. The agent shut the door and was turning on the lights. The client came inside to tour the rest of the home, but had left the backdoor entrance unlocked.

While they were in the family room, three unknown people came in the room. It wasn’t clear who they were, so the showing agent asked all of them who their agent was. One of them said he was an agent, and said he “thought it was an Open House.”

Odd, but True
The agent had just entered the property with his clients and were taking off their shoes when a strange person opened the door behind them and asked if he could use the bathroom. The agent told the man “no” and he seemed surprised and disgruntled. The agent told the man this is a private showing and asked him to leave the premises.

The Bottom Line
When showing a property, always lock the door immediately after entering and inform your clients of the importance of doing the same. Bring the key and lock box cover (if any) inside with you. This could help resolve the problems above and others potentially more serious.

Remember to always arrange showings with the listing office before bringing clients out for showings, even if the property is vacant. If a mistake occurs and you accidentally enter a property without an appointment, contact the listing agent immediately to let them know what happened. Respecting privacy and security is an important professional responsibility.


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


Submit Your Own Rules Roundup Question or Topic! Do you have a question or topic that you would like to see featured as a Rules Roundup article? We’ll supply the answers. Just send your idea to tips@northstarmls.com. We will use one submission each month and the winner will receive a $30 Caribou Coffee gift card!


Rules Roundup On Demand Want to check out older Rules Roundup topics? Click here to view an archive of previous Rules Roundup entries.

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Rules Roundup – Unauthorized Access to Listing Property

The temps are rising, the snow is melting and we recently entered Daylight Saving Time. The spring real estate market is about to be in full swing! Whether you represent the buyer or the seller, showing requests tend to increase as the temps climb. Remember to always arrange showings with the listing office before bringing clients out for showings even if the property is vacant. If a mistake occurs and you accidentally enter a property without an appointment, contact the listing agent immediately to let them know what happened. Respecting privacy and security is an important professional responsibility.

Entering any listed property without prior authorization is considered a Serious Violation and can come with a fine of $1,000. Continued repeat violations by the same agent can result in doubling of the last fine amount. An additional $1,000 fine can be assessed by your Association for a lockbox rule violation.

A recent comment from a NorthstarMLS user of this happening
“I have had a lot of this happening on my listings lately, and the agents do not think it is an issue, and nor do some of their brokers. Not only is it a violation of MLS and COE, but it is illegal and creates a huge liability for the agent if they or their client were to get hurt, etc.” 

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

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.


Submit Your Own Rules Roundup Question or Topic! Do you have a question or topic that you would like to see featured as a Rules Roundup article? We’ll supply the answers. Just send your idea to tips@northstarmls.com. We will use one submission each month and the winner will receive a $30 Caribou Coffee gift card!


Rules Roundup On Demand Want to check out older Rules Roundup topics? Click here to view an archive of previous Rules Roundup entries.

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NorthstarMLS has added a new field to Add/Edit—Lockbox # (GLAR users only). It is located at the end of the “Listing” section.

If you are not a member of the Greater Lakes Association of Realtors, and you use Supra lockboxes, please ignore this new field.
are a Greater Lakes Association of Realtors member and use Sentrilock lockboxes, this field is for you.

When entering a new listing, please enter the Sentrilock Lockbox serial number that will be used on this listing. This will accomplish two things:

  • Allow Sentrilock to connect the lockbox serial number to the address and agent in the Sentrilock system.
  • Facilitate an important reporting and auditing process for your Association.

PLEASE NOTE: The lockbox number you enter will show only in Add/Edit. It will not appear on Matrix or any other NorthstarMLS system or data feed except:

  • A data feed direct to Sentrilock for connecting the lockbox.
  • Data to the Greater Lakes Association for reports.
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