MLS data is always evolving and being updated. Inaccurate listing data can quickly deflate potential buyers’ perceptions of your clients’ home. NorthstarMLS safeguards market information so you can do your job confidently.

When you login to the MLS, you can be assured that you’re seeing the latest, most accurate information about a property. The rules we operate by, the decisions we make, the regulations we enforce: all are created through the input and guidance of agents and brokers, and from subscriber Associations.

Below is a summary of 2017 statistics pulled from the NorthstarMLS Rules & Regs Customer Service report.

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Rules Roundup
Measuring Video

Incorrect or incomplete data remains one of the top violations reported to the NorthstarMLS Rules and Regs Department each year. In fact, last quarter there were over 2,300 total notices on listings with incorrect or incomplete data – such as measurement of the finished square footage, foundation size or room dimensions.

Accurate measurements are critical to fellow agents, potential buyers, CMA’s, appraisals, etc. To help demonstrate how to measure a single family home, we went out on
site to watch Zoe Liston
— local appraiser, agent and MLS Instructor, as she explains the measuring process to collect the total square footage of a listed property.

Watch our Measuring Video with Zoe Liston now!

(Click the link to watch the video – duration is just over 10 minutes)

Stay tuned for more measuring videos this summer, including a prerecorded classroom/webinar session that will cover frequently asked measuring questions.

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Rules Roundup
2014 Q1 Rules and Regs Summary

Are your listings up-to-date and accurate? This infographic highlights the top 5 most common data errors and other issues reported by our rules & regs staff during the first quarter. Questions? Our rules & regs staff is here to help! Contact us at or 651-251-3210.

(Click here to see larger version)

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 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
What Constitutes a Legal Bedroom in the MLS?

Does it depend on a particular city? Does there have to be a closet to make it a legal bedroom? Must there be at least an egress window in it? What is the minimum square footage that a room can have to be considered a bedroom?

Because real estate is locally regulated, the legal definition of a bedroom varies across locales.  Here are a few things to consider before determining, for example, if your listing is a 3-bedroom, or actually a 2-bedroom with a large walk-in closet.

Up to Code is Key
NorthstarMLS rules state that the bedroom must be up to code (local or municipality?). That can mean different things in different places — a bedroom might be grandfathered in from an old code. However, if a bedroom is up to code but it’s not what most would consider a bedroom, the listing agent should state that. For example: “4th bedroom does not have a closet” or “basement bedroom has low ceiling height”. If the bedroom doesn’t meet code, then of course it shouldn’t be listed.

Selling or Renting?
If it’s a rental, check the rental license and follow the guidelines pertaining to it. If the property is for sale, NorthstarMLS rules require you to go by the tax record or laws of the local municipality.

Basement Dwelling
Basement bedrooms always require an egress window. That’s the law, so there is no flexibility there.

Contact the NorthstarMLS Rules & Regs Department at 651-251-3210.

Thanks to Jenna Potter from Oaks Realty LLP (Annandale, Minn.) for submitting her question – ‘what constitutes a legal bedroom’. She’ll be receiving a $30 Caribou Coffee gift card! Submit your own question at for a chance to win next month.

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Not all Showing Agents Have BookAShowing

Perhaps you’ve come across this scenario: You’re a NorthstarMLS subscribed agent or office staff, and an agent from another MLS calls to schedule a showing for one of your listings. Because you use BookAShowing exclusively, you tell the caller they have to use BookAShowing if they want an appointment.

But before you dismiss this agent and their potential buyer, please keep in mind that not all MLS’s have the BookAShowing application available. NorthstarMLS participates in the state-wide SASI data share. This means that your listings are seen by agents at most of the MLS’s in greater Minnesota. They view the listings in their own MLS and do not have access to the BAS links and buttons we have in NorthstarMLS. Therefore, the only way these agents and their clients can get in to see your listings is if you or your office staff helps make the appointment for them.

We appreciate your understanding and patience in responding to these inquiries in a helpful manner. Everyone’s cooperation ensures that the statewide data sharing can continue and you have the widest pool of potential buyers for your clients’ listings.

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Listing Agreement

A List Agreement is the first step to entering a listing on the MLS. If you don’t have one, you should not enter the listing on NorthstarMLS. Entering a listing without a listing agreement is considered a serious violation with a fine of $1,000 for a first offense.

The listing agreement authorizes the listing broker to cooperate with and to compensate other brokers. NorthstarMLS does not dictate the form of the agreement, except that:

1. The listing agreement must adequately protect the interest of the public and the participants.
2. The listing agreement must not establish, directly or indirectly, a contractual relationship between NorthstarMLS and the client (buyer or seller).
3. The listing agreement must include the seller’s written authorization in order to submit the agreement to the MLS.

Contact the Rules Department with any questions at 651-251-3210.

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Have you ever wondered if you can embed a YouTube video in your NorthstarMLS listing? Unfortunately, this is not allowed. All video tours must be only of the property and cannot link out to any other websites (which YouTube does). The tour must also be free from any contact information, broker or agent branding, and third party promotions.

NorthstarMLS makes the tour available to nearly 4,000 NorthstarMLS agent and broker websites. Those other sites should feel confident that your tour won’t take their clients away from their site or direct them back to the listing agent or other entity.

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When can I enter a Comp Sold Listing?

If you represent the buyer in a transaction and the seller has not signed a listing contract with a NorthstarMLS participant, you may (with the buyer’s signature on an Input form) record the sale on NorthstarMLS as a Comp Sold. A Comp Sold is a property sold by an MLS participant when the property was never available for sale on NorthstarMLS. A Comp Sold will not have a listing agent as there was no listing contract under NorthstarMLS.

A Comp Sold cannot be entered as an actual listing and then changed to sold because it never has active status, so it should not show MLS Market Time.

Comp Sold listings do count towards broker market share, and will be available to other agents and appraisers for CMAs and appraisals. There are fewer required fields on a Comp Sold listing, but we encourage you to enter all fields as they are valuable for those CMAs and appraisals.

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What Is a Withhold and Why Would I Use It?

We all know the best way to display a listing is to post it on the MLS. But what if your seller has signed a listing contract and decides it’s time to do an overhaul on the property before listing it on the MLS? For example, the seller decides a new roof is in order, or a new deck in the backyard would add style, new carpet in the basement is needed or any other improvement project a homeowner might consider.

As an agent, you just need to have the seller sign the Certification to Withhold Property Listing form from NorthstarMLS. Rules require Brokers and Agents to enter the listing into the MLS within two business days of the contract’s effective date. If you’re sending NorthstarMLS the signed withhold form, it allows you to postpone entry on the MLS until the project is completed. Then, once the listing is ready to be published, the List Date field can be populated with the date the listing is entered because the withhold form was filed with NorthstarMLS.

If you have any questions about MLS rules, please contact the NorthstarMLS Rules Department at 651-251-3210.

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