But it says it’s “Active”!?!

Posted on 05/28/2009. Filed under: Getting Ready to Buy? | Tags: , , |


There seems to be some confusion about what certain terms mean on the Multiple Listing Services that confuse the public.  Actually, they even confuse real estate agents at times!  These are the terms used to show the status of the listing.  I am going to try and explain those terms as well as I can, but secretly, I get confused at times too.

I don’t think “Active” needs an explanation but here goes – the property is for sale!  No ifs, ands or buts – go look at it and buy it!  But the customer wants to look at one marked “Active Contingent”.  Now what happens?  This property has an offer but there might be a contingency that the buyer needs to fulfill first.  The two most common are financing or selling the house they presently own.  If the contingency does not get fulfilled, then the property is “Active” again (well, it’s supposed to be).

Now let’s add more words and make it more complicated…another property is “Active contingent short sale”.  More words must mean more things to worry about!  Actually, this phrase was brought about with the rise of short sales.  Short sales usually have time constraints since you are dealing with 2 agents, a seller, a buyer, sometimes 1 or more attorneys and the big huge unknown entity called “the financial institution” (yikes).  There are more forms and many more signatures needed to have an offer go to contract.  This phrase warns prospective buyers that there is another offer on the table and it could be awhile before an answer is reached.  Some banks will take a back-up offer in case the first buyer pulls out of the deal because of the time constrains.  To sum up, “Active contingent short sale” means pray for patience and divine intervention.

“Pending” is a little friendlier.  This term means an offer has been accepted and a contract now exists between a seller and a buyer.  The hope of everyone involved is that the term “Sold” is on the horizon.  These are two of my favorite terms with “Sold” bringing many smiles and shouts of hurray!

I hope this helped a little bit in understanding what all these scary terms mean!  The next step will be working towards everyone using them uniformly, but that’s a whole other blog – so don’t get me started or it will really get scary here!



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2 Responses to “But it says it’s “Active”!?!”

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Suzanne’s comment is also correct. And as far as the ‘active-contingent short sale’ status. That SHOULD mean that there is a CONTRACT between a buyer & seller but that everyone is still waiting on final bank approval from the seller’s lender. Too often agents are not changing these statuses correctly.

In the FGC MLS the term Active Contingent is to be used as follows:
Section 1.6b. – The status Active Contingent may only be used if Buyer #1 contract provides a kick out clause such as First Right of Refusal.
This is how it appears in the Fort Myers MLS rules. Any other use of the field is a violation of those rules.

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