Single, married, looking — it’s pretty simple with humans. But when buyers search for properties on the internet, its hard to know which property is active, in contract, and whether the seller is open to having a back-up offer submitted. Well thankfully, in January 2012, the San Francisco Association of Realtors made some neat changes in the status definitions that are posted in the MLS (multiple listing service). I did my happy dance. Now my buyers and I can figure out where to spend our collective efforts when searching for that perfect home.
Here are the official definitions and a bit of my commentary
Active: No accepted offer (Quick, run like a bunny, let’s go for it!)
Act. Cont.-Short Sale: Accepted offer pending lender approval, additional offers being sought (If you’re the patient type, this could be an opportunity to still check out)
Act. Cont. – Rel. Clause: Accepted offer with a subject to sale seller release clause, additional offers being sought (Some other party is in contract but, who knows, their deal may fall apart especially because the short-sale process takes FOREVER! I could ask the listing agent how strong their primary offer is and whether it’s teetering off a cliff)
Act. Cont. – Show: Accepted offer with Buyer contingency provisions such as inspections, accepting back-up offers (In my experience 50% of the time those deals don’t make it and they go to the back-up offer. Go for it!)
Act. Cont. – Probate: Accepted offer, available to be overbid through the court confirmation process (This is a whole different beast. Need to find out how much the calculated overbid price must be to even compete)
Pending: The Seller has accepted an offer and is not soliciting additional offers (The primary offer has released all their contingencies so they’re nearly at the finish line of getting their deal done. Let’s not waste our time at that property).
Temp. Off Market: The listing contract is still valid, but the property is not being actively marketed and there is no accepted offer. Temp. Off Market listings will not be allowed to be relisted as new. (Hmmm, curious. It may be worth it for me to call the listing agent to find out the backstory. Perhaps a hidden opportunity!)
Withdrawn – Cancel: The listing agreement has been cancelled (Hmm, probably listed too high or something quirky about the property. Even so, if you’re really interested in the property I can do some sleuth background work and the seller might still be interested in your offer)
Withdrawn – Duplicate: Duplicate listing, property can be found as pending or sold in another category. (Some properties are marketed in multiple categories. For example a duplex might be listed in the multi-unit building section of the MLS for $1.2 million AND as two TICs at $600K per unit.)
Expired: The listing agreement has expired (I call this “Market Rejected” — very likely an overpriced property)
Sold: Escrow has closed (Either — “Yay, we got it! Too bad y’all!” or “Aww, shucks, the search goes on!”)