There is a common misconception that MLS’s make money off of broker/agent listings by selling them to third party companies. NorthstarMLS does not and never has sold agent listings to Zillow, Trulia or any other company. Period.

Any listings appearing on these sites that are sent by NorthstarMLS is done so at the direction of the broker of the firms to which the agents/NorthstarMLS subscribers belong.

Our role is a convenience for the broker in that listings they submit to the MLS are accurate, complete and up-to-date. This means that when Zillow or similar sites get NorthstarMLS feeds, they are getting almost “up to the minute” additions and changes that the broker (or their agent) do not have to re-enter and maintain. Also, we were able to negotiate fair display and other terms that individual brokers might not be able to get on their own.

NorthstarMLS recently announced its involvement in the National Broker Public Portal initiative (BPP), which was founded by brokers all over the country along with MLS’s to create a consumer home search experience provided by real estate professionals, as opposed to media companies like Zillow and Realtor.com.

The BPP selected Homesnap as its technology provider and the Homesnap product is available today to more than 500,000 agents across the country through their MLS. NorthstarMLS is in that group.

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Important Information for those of you manually entering your listings on Zillow.com

The Zillow Group announced that it will no longer accept manually entered listings on Zillow.com or Trulia.com from brokers and agents effective May 1, 2017. If you want your listings to appear on these sites after May 1st, you must use either a broker data feed (if your broker has set up its own with Zillow Group) or the NorthstarMLS Zillow Group data feed.

Zillow will continue to accept manual entry of listings from homeowners directly (FSBO), and pre-market “Coming Soon” listings.

For more information on the NorthstarMLS data feed, please see:

  • Our original announcement from 2015 describing the favorable terms we negotiated and how your broker can opt in;
  • A video showing brokers how to opt in to the NorthstarMLS data feed;
  • An important reminder that your listings will not go to Zillow through the NorthstarMLS data feed if you have selected “No” for allowing auto valuation display (page 3 of the SFR listing input form).

Your listings will not automatically go out to Zillow through the NorthstarMLS data feed unless your broker chooses to particpate using the opt-in tool. If you do not know whether your brokerage participates, ask your broker or contact our Help Desk at help@northstarmls.com or Zillow Group at LA@zillowgroup.com.

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If your brokerage participates in the optional NorthstarMLS data feed to Zillow and Trulia, your listings may still not make it to the sites. That is very likely because, on the Listing Input Form, you selected “No” for the field “Allow Auto Valuation Display?” (page 3, field #322, SFR).

On all Zillow and Trulia listings, they display a Zestimate, their proprietary auto-valuation. Zillow Group does not allow an option to display a listing without it. Therefore, if you selected “No” to allowing Auto Valuation, NorthstarMLS must exclude it from the Zillow Group data feed.

If it’s important to your seller that their listing appear on both Zillow and Trulia, review the Auto Valuation Display option with them. If they agree to change the response to “Yes,” change it on the listing in Add/Edit, and then it will automatically be included in the Zillow Group feed in their next data refresh. If the Allow Auto Valuation Display selection is switched from No to Yes before 6am PST, the listing addition will be reflected in that day’s data refresh at 6am PST – if afterwards, it will be reflected the next morning at 6am.


If you are unfamiliar with the NorthstarMLS data feed to Zillow Group, click here for last year’s announcement outlining the very favorable terms we negotiated, and how it works. If you do not know whether your brokerage participates, ask your broker or contact our Help Desk at help@northstarmls.com or Zillow Group at LA@zillowgroup.com.

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Purchasing a home is likely the biggest investment a consumer will ever make in their lifetime. Yet, a recent Zillow survey found that potential homebuyers spend more time researching a car purchase (11 hours) and the same amount of time researching vacations (8 hours) as their home loan.

If you’re an agent working with a potential buyer, show them how quick and easy it is for them to check their down payment assistance eligibility and search for local programs in their area. A NorthstarMLS core service like Down Payment Resource is a great way to help your buying clients find down payment assistant programs that could help lower the price of their mortgage.

Giving buyers access to important information about down payment programs and loan solutions that can help them save on the cost of their home loan.

June DPR Stats for NorthstarMLS
From June 1, 2016 to June 30, 2016, 3,475 clients of NorthstarMLS agents clicked on the DPR icon of an eligible listing through the NorthstarMLS Client Portal (like in the screen shown below). Anytime there is a DPR icon, it means that the property may be eligible for a down payment program.

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Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff sold home for much less than Zestimate

If you’re an agent, you’ve probably worked with a buyer or seller that has found the “Zestimate” on Zillow of the property they’re selling or interested in buying. It can work as a good conversation starter with the client. But until they realize the Zestimate isn’t as accurate as they thought, it can quickly make a disgruntled client.

Earlier this year, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff sold his Seattle home for $1.05, 40 percent less than the Zestimate of $1.75 million shown on its property detail page a day later. Zillow readily acknowledges that Zestimates can be inaccurate, but consumers can still take them at face value, causing headaches for agents.

The next time your clients handcuff themselves to the Zestimate they’ve seen on Zillow, have them take a look at this recent Inman News article. It should give them second thoughts.

Click here to read the Inman article

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NorthstarMLS recently negotiated favorable terms for a broker-optional listings data feed to Zillow.com.  The decision of whether or not to take advantage of that data feed and send their listings to Zillow.com (or any other third party website) lies solely with the Listing Broker. NorthstarMLS does not endorse Zillow—we merely provide this as a service for brokers who want it.

We emailed details of the optional Zillow data feed to brokers last week along with a tool where they can easily turn their data feed off or on (separately for Active and Pending/Sold listings).  This tool is available to them in the “External Links” box on the Matrix home screen.

If you have concerns about your listings going or not going to Zillow.com (or other third party websites), contact your broker to discuss.  The choice to send its listings to these sites will always be with the broker, not NorthstarMLS.

Why did we negotiate an optional data feed for brokers with Zillow? Having a data feed through NorthstarMLS allows brokers to have its listings updated with Zillow automatically and on better terms than they may have been able to get on their own.

These terms are:

  • Search results will display based on property characteristics, not on paid placement;
  • The listing agent’s name, phone number and brokerage will be displayed with the listing.  Consumers must be able to contact the listing agent/office via email, telephone or both without charge to the listing office, agent or consumer;
  • No consumer comments/blogging will be displayed with the listing;
  • Agents will not be reviewed by consumers on Zillow unless the agent opts in through Zillow Profiles;
  • The listing data will not be altered;
  • Zillow may not charge NorthstarMLS subscribers any fee to display more of the listing data.

Even if the broker has opted into the Zillow syndication feed, the Allow Auto Valuation Field (AVM) selection must be ‘Yes’.  If the homeowner directed that AVMs are not allowed on the property on the Internet Display Options form, NorthstarMLS does not send the listing to Zillow — Zillow includes an AVM.

If you have any questions regarding the Zillow data feed, contact our Help Desk at help@northstarmls.com or 651-251-5456 (1-877-251-5455 toll free), M-F 8:00-5:00.

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Say this to your next buyer: “Would you like to see something that Zillow can’t do?”
How’s that for a powerful conversation starter?

Only Realtors using NorthstarMLS have access to TLC or True Lifestyle Cost – an exciting core service from NorthstarMLS.

Watch the one-minute video below for more details on how TLC can help your real estate business!

Discover TLC: Sign into Matrix and click on “True Lifestyle Cost” in the External Links today.


Want to learn more about True Lifestyle Costs (TLC)?
Click here to check out a library of articles, videos and tutorials to help you get started using TLC, or to learn more about this great new MLS tool.

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