We are happy to announce that preliminary 2016 tax amounts and preliminary 2015 market values are now available in Realist and on Matrix tax reports (linked from the PID number in Matrix displays) for the following Minnesota counties: Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington
These preliminary figures are from the counties’ Proposed Tax Statements. Our Realist vendor still receives final tax and valuation amounts starting in April and publishes them as soon as they can process the files. But with preliminary amounts now available through NorthstarMLS, you have the most up-to-date information now without having to go to the County websites.

Please keep these important factors in mind when using the preliminary figures:

  • Though preliminary figures often go through as final, they are subject to change.
  • Because proposed tax statements do not include special assessments, we do not have preliminary assessments data. You still need to wait for the final tax data to be available before you can know this year’s special assessments.
  • When entering a new listing into NorthstarMLS, the preliminary tax amount will not auto-populate. We are looking into making it possible. In the meantime, you may manually enter the preliminary tax amount in the listing. However, when the final tax figures are available, please check to see if it changed and needs to be corrected.

We hope to add preliminary taxes and valuations for more counties next year. If you have questions, contact our Help Desk at 651-251-5456 (1-877-251-5455) or help@northstarmls.com.

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It’s tax season, a good time for a refresher on Minnesota’s often misunderstood property tax system. The MN Department of Revenue offers a couple of good fact sheets on its Website:

Wisconsin also has a variety of resources on its Property Tax site.

Also, check out our Realist FAQ’s, particularly pages 3 and 4 for information on assessment year and last market sale.

Remember you can click the PID number on most Realist tax reports (accessed by clicking the PID number or TX icon on Matrix reports) to open the tax record for that property on the County website. Counties usually publish updated taxes and property values on their own websites before they send them to publishers such as Realist.

Realist starts receiving tax data from MN and WI counties anytime after April. We will keep you posted as updates are available.
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Ready for a faster Realist? Version 1.11 of Realist Tax is scheduled to be implemented on the evening of Monday, Jan. 27, and will be available on Tuesday, Jan. 28. This release focuses on improvements related to the load speed when opening Realist Tax, a NorthstarMLS core service. Due to the maintenance, Realist will be unavailable for several hours on the evening of Monday, Jan. 27.

The new version of Realist includes several new features, including:

  • Faster load speed performance when opening Realist Tax
  • Enhanced property selector navigator
  • Improved modify feature
  • Enhanced photo support and workflow

For more details on these enhancements, view the Realist 1.11 Release Notes.

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We are pleased to announce that updated tax information for 2013 has been updated and implemented to the Realist Tax system for ALL our 38 core counties in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Tax records are now accessible in the MLS by clicking on the PID number for the property and will direct you to the tax information on the County website. 

Here’s how:

• In Matrix, click the PID number on any full display (or black TX icon on any smaller display) to open the Tax Report.
• On the Tax Report, click the PID number to open the county web page for the specific property.
• Click the hyperlinked PID number in the “Tax Information” section. The public record for that property on the County Website will open in a new browser window/tab for almost all Minnesota counties, as well as Pierce and St. Croix counties in Wisconsin.

*Note: Links for Chisago, Lake of the Woods, St. Louis and Sibley counties in Minnesota, and Polk county in Wisconsin, take you to the main Property Information Page for those counties. Currently, they don’t support direct links.

This mechanism makes it possible to confirm tax and assessed value information quickly. Thanks for your patience.

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We are pleased to announce two reports available through quick links on most NorthstarMLS listings.

Realtors Property Resource (RPR):  Whenever you want a detailed RPR report for a specific address, it’s just a click away.  You will find the link below the main photo on the Property Full Display (between the BookAShowing and Infosparks links).  This is what it looks like:

A great resource for you and your clients, the RPR Report includes property details, maps, statistics, valuation model, nearby schools, tax information, property history, and much more.
If you have never used RPR before, you may need to set up your account first.  RPR is an NAR member benefit available exclusively to REALTORS®. Learn more about it on their Website.

Realist Short Format:  Clicking the PID number on any listing opens the detailed Realist public records report.  Now you also have the option of a shorter version, linked next to the PID number.

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SQI Survey Results: Public Records/Tax

Beginning with our first Service Quality survey in 2006, we asked the question: “How important is Public Records Tax data to your business?” When 98% of respondents said that tax data was either “extremely” or “very important,” we were both surprised and pleased.

“For a long time prior to incorporating this question in the survey, we had been aware of weaknesses in our tax product,” said NorthstarMLS President & CEO, John Mosey. “In 2004, we bought our tax provider and took on the responsibility for improving the quality and usefulness of the data as a core function of the company. The 2006 survey certainly validated our reasons for having bought PLAT System Services, but also told us that we had a ways to go before it ‘measured up.’ On a positive note, each year since we began measuring customer satisfaction ratings of accuracy, completeness and functionality of tax information, it has been better than the year before.”

Early last year, NorthstarMLS launched the Realist system, a public records database that integrates with NorthstarMLS Matrix listings data to provide in-depth property and ownership data, market information, maps with detailed property information layers, as well as market trends. These vastly superior features and capabilities that Realist delivers can help agents become more effective and more valuable to their clients.

This year’s survey results revealed that 65% of respondents rated the tax data function — in terms of accuracy, completeness and functionality — between a 4 or 5 rating of “very good” to “excellent.” Tax ratings have improved each year since our first survey. Factor in the “Satisfactory” or 3-Rating, and 86% of respondents say our tax data is meeting their business needs. We hope that this is a sign that our customers are more and more confident and comfortable in using our tax information to help their businesses and that our investments in this area are paying dividends where they count.

New Updates for 2013

Annual tax updates came later than usual in 2012 because of a Realist system change. We expect updates to be back on track for 2013.

“Realist went through some growing pains last year that were exacerbated by changes they made to their technology architecture during 2012. They tell me that the worst of their conversion trauma is behind them and that they will be back performing at the level that has made them the premier provider of property data in the country, as 2013 unfolds, said Mosey. “That means that you will have updated tax data at a much improved pace this year. It is my hope that their improved performance on the data collection and updating from the counties, combined with all of the other features and capabilities Realist delivers will result in a continuation of our trajectory of improved Service Quality survey results when we ask, ‘How are we doing on tax?’”

42% of Survey Respondents Add Written Comments
The SQI Survey allowed recipients to submit written comments. Here are a few that relate to MLS public records and tax information:

• “I am pleased with the improvement – I use Realist daily.”
• “I really appreciate the new features of Realist — extremely helpful.”
• “I love this (Realist) feature!”

For help using Realist, we offer these resources:
• Click the “Help” tab at the top left of the Realist screen
• Watch brief tutorials on the Realist YouTube Channel
• Check out our Realist FAQ document
• Our announcement about tax year vs assessment year

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Changing “Regions” in Realist Tax

Want to change the region for your search in Realist Tax? Click the Realist Tax tab in Matrix to open the app. In the upper left corner, you’ll see a link that says “Change Region.” Always go here first and select the desired counties for your search. You are able to select up to 8 counties at a time, and it will always remember your last selection.

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Please note the following Matrix system changes:

  1. The “Tax” tab has been removed. All searches for the most current tax data should be done through the “Realist Tax” tab.  If you still want to do the old tax searches on the old tax data, you will find them by hovering over the “Search” tab and selecting “Tax (old data)” at the bottom of the list.
  2. When viewing a full listing display, click the PID number for the Realist Tax report.  This contains the most recent and complete information.  The “Prior Format” link has been removed because it was older data.  It will eventually be replaced by a Realist short format report.
  3. Tax data has been removed from the Property and Customer “Comprehensive” reports because it was outdated.  The vendor is working through some technical problems, but tax data will eventually be restored to the Comprehensive reports with updated Realist tax data.
  4. Links to the old tax data on customer portal displays have been removed.  Realist tax data will not be available through the customer portal yet, but we are working with the vendor on a special consumer display.
Updated tax data for 2012 assessments and 2013 taxes will start being delivered from the counties in the coming months.  We will post updates here as they become available in Realist.
For help using Realist:
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