Starting Tuesday, February 18, NorthstarMLS has new data fields and new options under existing fields. These are to accommodate popular requests from current subscribers, and to accommodate potential future MLS mergers.

Please take a few moments to check out our detailed list of MLS field changes.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Property Sub Type: A new field where you can identify special kinds of properties beyond the Style field, such as Patio Homes, Cabins, etc. 
  • Internet Options: A new field to indicate the type of Internet connections available (Cable, DSL, Fiber Optic, Satellite).
  • Parking Characteristics: Added values to indicate when there are multiple garages, a shared garage/stall or an electric vehicle charging station.
  • Appliances: Water Heater options added for Gas, Electric, Oil and Wood.

Check out all the changes in our comprehensive list.

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The final piece of our Add/Edit system (listing input and search) is coming the week of November 5. Included with that release will be new data fields and new options under existing fields. Many of these are to accommodate our SEMR MLS merger and improve our own system. Please take a few moments to check out our detailed list of MLS field changes. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Additional Square Footage fields: Total Above Ground, Total Main Floor, Total Below Ground and Total Square Footage fields. Each of these fields combine both finished and unfinished square footage to reflect the full potential of the home.
  • Commercial Leases: NorthstarMLS will accept For Lease properties in the Commercial/Mixed Use property type.
  • Rental Licenses: You can indicate whether the property you are selling has a license to be rented and if so, what type. This has become increasingly important in greater Minnesota, especially resort areas and the communities around Mayo.
  • More Amenities: Options to identify more amenities, such as Broadband availability, Cable, Master Bedroom Walk-In Closet, Wet Bar, Kitchen Center Island, Water Filtration System and more.
  • Farm Details: We are adding 35 new fields to the Farm property type to better describe the information buyers need to know. We are also accepting Farm Land without a house to be entered into the Farm property type.
  • Coming Soon Status: Unrelated to the SEMR merger, this new status will be available November 14 and allow you to expose listings on the MLS in advance of being ready to go on market and be shown. Watch for more details in the next week!
Don’t forget to check out all the changes in our comprehensive list.
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Tip of the Week – Garage Stall Dimensions

What size is that garage? Of the current 30,000+ Active Single-Family homes listed on the NorthstarMLS system, only 9.3% of them disclose the Garage Dimensions.

Last summer we added several commonly requested data fields to the MLS – including Garage Dimensions. While it is an optional field, most buyers want to know information about a property’s garage.

A spacious garage is very desirable – promote it by giving the dimensions. Even if the garage can only hold a MINI Cooper, lawnmower and a snow shovel – buyers usually want to know what sort of garage space they’ll get with the home they are interested in. If you have a listing(s) with omitted garage dimensions, update it. Better to give that information upfront to save time for everyone. Buyers and their agents will appreciate it!

You will find Garage Dimension field in Add/Edit under the “Structure” section of the listing (above the Garage Stall # field) – as seen in the screen shot below.


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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Tip of the Week
Garage Stall # Field

Did you know there is an MLS data field for garage stall number, for when there is a designated numbered parking space in the garage (more common in condos)? In addition to Garage Dimensions and Garage Stalls, the Garage Stall Number can be included when using Add/Edit to input your listing. The Garage Stall Number should be inputted in the “Structure” section of Add/Edit, in the “Garage Stall ID#” field.

Once it has been entered, the Garage Stall # will be displayed in your listing, as seen in the screen shot below:


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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NorthstarMLS has added several commonly requested data fields to the MLS.

Contingency: We have added two new options within the Contingency field—With Bump Clause and Without Bump Clause. These two options are available only for listings located in the State of Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin Realtors Association, a bump clause essentially permits a seller who has found another buyer with a better offer to “bump” the first buyer out of the transaction if the first buyer cannot meet the requirements stated in the offer. For information about bump clauses, see pages 19-20 of this document on the WRA website.

Co-Selling Agent and Office: You may now indicate a co-selling agent and office on a sale. The List Office may enter these when the property is set to Pending status. These fields are optional.

Garage Dimensions: Previously you had to enter the Garage as an “Extra Room” if you wanted to indicate the dimensions. Now it has its own field. Start with the front of the garage and measure clockwise around. This field is optional.

PID #2 and PID #3: When you have a listing with more than one PID number, you can now enter up to three of them in their own fields. For example a land listing with more than one PID or a condo with a separate PID for its garage stall.

These fields are available now in the Add/Edit system. They are also available in Matrix for search and on the NorthstarMLS listing input forms in Matrix. They will be available on the Matrix displays and reports by the end of the day (Wednesday).

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We are adding options to existing fields on NorthstarMLS.  Below is a list.  These changes will be available in Add/Edit starting Wednesday morning, August 15. They will be available in Matrix search/displays and on the listing input forms in Instanet Thursday morning, August 16. (The changes will not be reflected in WEBForms because of the upcoming discontinuation of that application on October 1.)

  • Lake/Waterfront: Organized all Lake/Waterfront fields under a new Lake/Waterfront section.
  • Lake Bottom: Added Excellent Sand. Separated “Weeds/Reeds” into two separate options. Definitions: “Sand” is a sand bottom (not soft and mucky) and may have weeds or reeds in addition to the sand.  “Excellent Sand” is a top of the line pristine beach with few or no weeds.
  • Outbuildings: Moved Outbuildings out of the Farm section and into the general Optional Property Information section. Added Boat House, Bunk House and Guest House. Changed “Pole Barn” to “Pole Building”.
  • Association Fee Includes: added Dock and Beach Access
  • Exterior: added Log Siding
  • Basement: added Partial Finished, Drainage System, and Insulating Concrete Forms
  • Zoning:  added Lot and Shoreline
  • Sewer: added Mound, Holding Tanks and Tank with Drainage Field
  • Water: added 4-Inch Submersible, Drilled and Sand Point
  • Fireplace Characteristics: added Brick, Stone, Freestanding and 2-sided
  • Road Frontage: added Township.
  • Amenities-Shared: added Dock and Beach
  • Farm Type: added Tree
  • Topography: added High Ground
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The new fields announced last week (see March 12 News item in the News box), are now available on NorthstarMLS Matrix and Add/Edit.

Here are the highlights you need to know.

  • If you have any Active listings where you have entered a Lake/Waterfront Name, please take a moment to check them.  If the Lake/Waterfront Name is missing or incorrect, go to the Add/Edit system and make the correction.  You will find that the Lake/Waterfront Name is now a drop-down list containing all the Lake/Waterfront Names for the County you’ve selected. We are in the process of doing an automatic conversion. We are close to complete on all Active listings. Off market listings will be completed over the next few weeks.  However, we still recommend you check your Active listings as it is impossible to convert with 100% reliability from the old free-form text field.
  • If you have any saved searches or auto-emails that use Lake/Waterfront Name as a search criterion, you need to revise them with the new Lake/Waterfront Name field.  Please see our separate Matrix News announcement with instructions.
  • Although the new Lake/Waterfront fields are now all available for search in Matrix, please keep in mind that they are new and they are optional, and therefore will be sparsely populated for some time.  If you search on them, you will likely miss out on a lot of listings. We recommend that you refer to them simply as extra information on displays/reports for listings where they are filled in.
  • The NorthstarMLS Listing Input forms in Instanet and WEBForms will contain the new fields later in the day Thursday.
  • Agent and Customer Displays contain the new data fields.  PDF Reports do not but will be updated soon.

If you have questions or need help, please contact our Help Desk at 651-251-5456 (or toll free at 1-877-251-5455) during business hours M-F, 8:00-5:00.

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Starting Thursday, March 15, there will be new data fields added to all property types.  Most of these are to accommodate our April 1 expansion into central Minnesota with the Greater Lakes Association members joining NorthstarMLS.

Yearly/Seasonal:  Indicate whether the property can be used year-round or whether it can only be used partial year seasonally. When creating a new listing, this field will automatically default to “Yearly.”

For Rent MLS Number:  If you have a for sale listing that is also available for rent, enter the MLS number of the for rent listing.  It will appear as a link on the for sale listing so that you can easily click back and forth between the two.

Lake/Waterfront Fields

As we expand our presence in greater Minnesota, more detailed information about lake/waterfront properties is becoming increasingly important.

Lake/Waterfront Name:  This is currently a free-form text entry field.  We are changing this to a standard pick list.  When entering a new listing, after selecting County, you will be able to select from a list of all bodies of water in that county that are recognized by the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  This will also improve searches as all lake names will now have standard spellings.  No more wildcard searches trying to account for all the different spellings, misspellings and abbreviations!

All of the following new fields are optional:

Waterfront Footage:  The length of waterfront frontage (in feet) included with the property.

DNR Lake ID#:  NorthstarMLS will auto-fill this field based on the Lake Name you select.  This number will be useful for you to have for getting more information about a lake on the DNR Website.

Lake Acres:  The total number of acres of the Lake.  NorthstarMLS will auto-fill this field from the DNR database for the Lake Name you select.

Lake Depth:  The maximum depth of the lake (in feet).  NorthstarMLS will auto-fill this field from the DNR database for the Lake Name you select.

Lake Chain Name:  This is currently available for the Greater Lakes area only.  Additional lake chains around the state will be added later.  We define a lake chain as a group of two or more lakes that are connected by navigable waterway(s).

Lake Chain Acreage: The total combined acreage of all lakes in the chain.

Road Between the Waterfront and Home?  If a road runs between the waterfront and the home, select Yes, otherwise No.

Elevation Highpoint to Waterfront Slope:  The description of the slope from the highest point of land to the waterfront.  Options are gradual, level and steep.

Elevation Highpoint to Waterfront Feet:  The amount of vertical feet from the highest point of land to the waterfront.  Options are 0-4, 4-10, 10-15, 15-26, 26-40 and 40+.

Lake Bottom:  Describe the lake bottom.  Options are gravel, hard, rocky, sand, soft, undeveloped, weeds/reeds and wetland.  If applicable, you can select more than one option.

Waterfront View:  Describe the view from the property.  Options are bay, city lights, golf course, harbor, lake, panoramic, river, north, south, east, west and see remarks.  You can select more than one option.

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Starting Wednesday night, February 29, there will be new options in several MLS data fields:

Contingency:  There will be a new selection for “Subject to Statutory Rescission.”  This refers to the right of a person to have a set amount of time to review Association documents before they are committed to purchasing a unit.

Air Conditioning:  New option for Geothermal.

Heating:  New options for Geothermal, Boiler, Dual Fuel/Off Peak, Fireplace, Wood Stove, Outdoor Furnace and None.

Bath Description:  Replacing “Upper Level Bath” with Upper Level Full Bath, Upper Level 3/4 Bath and Upper Level 1/2 Bath. New option for Jack & Jill.

Fencing:  New option for Invisible.

Lake/Waterfront:  New options for Association Access and Shared.  Changing Creek to Creek/Stream.

Existing Financing, Terms Seller Will Accept and Financing Terms of Sale:  New option for Rural Development.

Restrictions/Covenants:  New option for Rental Restrictions May Apply.

Although you can start using these options on your listings after February 29, please note that these changes will not be reflected on the Listing Input forms in Instanet or WEBForms until March 15.  On that date we will also add additional new fields to be announced soon.

These changes are the result of both agent feedback through our AAC and Help Desk, and the upcoming addition of Greater Lakes Association listings.

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