Gearing up for the spring market? That likely means more showings and open houses.

The video below offers showing etiquette tips that we’ve received from agents, along with some plain common sense, to help ensure a pleasant house hunting experience. Give it a view if you have two minutes – you might get a chuckle!

Don’t forget to use ShowingTime to manage your showings & open houses. It’s a NorthstarMLS core service and part of your MLS subscription.

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

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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 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 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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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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Planning to book a showing? It’s important to remember these two key criteria:

  • Access to a property MUST be arranged and approved by the Listing Broker.
  • The buyer’s agent must be present at the time of the showing, even if the property is vacant.

ONLY when specific authority prior to the showing has been given by the Listing Broker may anyone else conduct the showing. If you’ve allowed access to an unauthorized person by mistake, be sure that you contact the Listing Agent immediately to let him/her know what has happened. This will reduce the chances the violation will be reported to NorthstarMLS (section 4.1) and hopefully avoid a $1,000 fine.

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

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