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  • Writer's pictureRachel Barrasso

Decoding the MLS



It's no secret that many buyers are looking online before looking at homes in person. Even though my job kind of requires it, I really enjoy browsing photos of homes and could do it for hours! So what happens when one listing stops you in your tracks - love at first sight! But, on the listing, you see the words "Under Contract". What do these things mean? Can you still get the house? I will take you through all of these terms and let you know what they mean so you can ease your home shopping anxiety!


As a side note, when agents input information into our MLS, that information goes out to thousands of websites across the internet. Other brokerage websites, Zillow, Realtor, etc. These websites sometimes use terms different than what we originally put into our MLS, so I will do my best to let you know what these mean as well!


Coming Soon: This is a relatively new option for our MLS. These are listings that are not actually on the market yet but will be soon. Whether or not they are available to be shown will be on a case by case basis. Sometimes the agent puts it into the MLS under Coming Soon to build excitement about the property while they do their professional photos and staging. It can also help buyers to plan ahead so they can be ready to go see it the very first day it becomes officially available.


Active: This house is on the market! They do not have a signed contract with a buyer yet (although they may or may not have offers). These are typically the only homes a Realtor will show you when putting together a tour for you (although maybe not - more on that soon!). It is always a good idea to verify with the agent that homes are actually still "Active" when you go through them as sometimes once a contract is signed, the agent will wait until the buyer deposits the earnest money to switch the status.


Active Contingent: This is a house that has a contract signed between the seller and a buyer. Before it can close, at least one contingency must be fulfilled. I wrote a separate post about this, check it out! This could be that the buyer needs financing, they want to do an inspection, or an appraisal is going to be done. It can also mean that the buyer has a house to sell but not always. I have seen other websites say "Under Contract" when they mean "Active Contingent". If you really have your heart set on this house, have your agent talk to the listing agent to see how far along the transaction is. You can usually submit a backup offer, just in case this one falls through.


Cancellation Provision: It's typically pretty difficult for a seller to cancel on a buyer if they get a better offer, but if your dream home has a Cancellation Provision then you are in luck! This means that the buyer and seller have agreed that the seller may be able to cancel the contract under certain circumstances. Have your agent find out the details if you're interested in a house like this!


Pending: I'm sorry to say, this is one house you may have to move on from. Pending is when there are no more contingencies to fill and the parties are just waiting to close. Not all hope is lost, however, because extenuating circumstances do happen! Keep your eye on this one but don't get your hopes up.


Closed: You'll probably have to wait until the next time around for this one. This sale is done! You may be in luck if an investor purchased the home in order to flip it. If you loved the home because of the neighborhood it's in, or the style, etc. tell your agent! They may be able to find you something that has all those things you love but is in a more favorable status, like "Coming Soon".


Well there you have it! You can now browse the internet for hours with this increased real estate knowledge. You can thank me later :) Happy house hunting!

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