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Contingent, Pending, Under Contract, Active, New, Back on the Market – What does it all mean?!


I always joke and say real estate has its own language. Just like the English language, when you say hello to someone, you may say hey, hi, or hello, and even though they are different, they all mean the same thing… well, status changes on real estate sometimes do as well.


Let's start with understanding that every property for sale in real estate no matter if its land, a house, condo, town home, etc is known to be “on the market” or "off the market" and there are different status names that tell us a story about that particular property and where it stands.


Let's first discuss status names that are used to let the market know these properties are

"on market" and ready for offers.


  • When a house is first placed on the market and for 3 days following, it will show as NEW, this is to let buyers and their agents know that it is brand new to the market, this NEW status brings a little more attention and it means it is for sale and ready for offers. Another term you may see real estate agents use for a new listing is “JUST LISTED”.


  • BACK ON THE MARKET – This status is letting the market of buyers and their agents know that at one point the property was under contract, but something happened, and that agreement was terminated and now it’s available again and is for sale and ready for offers.


  • BACK ON THE MARKET – This status is letting the market of buyers and their agents know that at one point the property was under contract, but something happened, and that agreement was terminated and now its available again. This also means it is for sale and ready for offers.


  • CONTINGENT – this status is a little different in that while it is still “on the market” because it has not sold, but is technically under contract – this is telling buyers and buyers agents that the seller has accepted an offer from a buyer who in most cases has another house to sell. Now, If that buyers home does not sell by the time in their agreement, this property could very well come back on the market. In most cases if a property is contingent, the home will not be available to view as the seller is technically under contract with another buyer, however you can always have your agent get the details on how much time is left in the contingency, this way it could be one to have your agent keep their eye on and potentially submit a back up offer if in the event the current contract falls through.


  • CONTINGENT WITH KICK OUT – Similar to the CONTINGENT status, this lets the buyers and buyers’ agents know that the seller has accepted an offer from a buyer who has a house to sell. However, this Kick Out Clause brings a little different meaning in that the house is still being shown to other buyers.


Let’s say Bob is selling his house and Jane wants to place an offer, but Jane has to sell her house in order to get financing to buy Bobs house so with her offer she submits a contingency with it to give her time to sell her house. Bob agrees to accept Jane's offer and goes Under Contract with Jane. The only difference in this is Bob and Jane also agree to a Kick Out Clause to protect Bob. The kick out clause means Bob can still show his property to other interested buyers, and if another buyer decides to place an offer that Bob likes, Bob then gives Jane a certain number of days (usually 3 days) to remove the contingency and buy his house and if she does not, Bob can terminate the agreement with Jane and accept the new buyers offer.


If you are a buyer and you yourself do not have a house to sell, I would suggest looking at the property and if you like it submit an offer just as you would any other home on the market, as most of the time your offer will be more beneficial to the seller and very well may work out in your favor.


Now let’s discuss status names that are used to let the market know these properties are "off market" and are not currently accepting offers.


  • UNDER CONTRACT – this is the most common, this means the seller has accepted an offer from a buyer and they have started the contingencies in the agreement. Don’t discount under contract properties, if you see one you like, keep your eye on it – there is a 33% chance the contract could fall apart, and that property come back on the market. If you want to confirm your next in line if something should happen with that contract, talk with your agent about the possibility of placing a back-up offer.


  • PENDING – this is seen a lot on other property searches not connect to the MLS. This means the same thing as Under Contract.


  • PENDING OFFER APPROVAL – This is a popular status in the sellers’ market we are in today. When a hot property comes on the market, it may receive many multiple offers from different buyers. The listing agent may call for “highest and best” offers by a certain date, and then take all of the offers to the seller and help them select the best offer to go with. Many times, in this situation, they may also accept the second-best offer as a “back up offer” in the event the first offer falls apart.


  • EXPIRED – When a seller places their home on the market with an agent, there is a predetermined amount of time the seller will give the agent to sell their home. The average time is about 6 months, but if for some reason the house does not sell during this time, the listing will expire, and the property is removed from the market. There are many reasons why a property can expire, the seller could not have liked or accepted any of the offers that came in, the property could have had a contract at one point but the inspection results were not in the buyers favor, but most common – the agent listed the property higher than what the market was willing to pay. Either way, if you see an expired property, re-check the address there is a chance the property has been relisted back on the market potentially with a different agent or if you think you like the property, have your agent contact the seller to see if they may be willing to sell again.


  • WITHDRAWN – Similar to an expired listing, if the seller signed a 6-month agreement with an agent to sell their home, but something happened before that 6-month time frame and they decided not to sell. This could be for many reasons, a family emergency, issue with the house they are needing to address, or maybe they couldn’t find a house they liked to buy. In either case, the property is not on the market however just as with the expired status, you can re-check the address there is a chance the property has been relisted back on the market.


Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this helped you answer all of your questions about the different status names in the real estate market. My goal is to help you achieve all of your goals in life & in real estate. Be sure to check out my other blogs and resources to help you, or please share this content with someone if you think it could help them. Until the next one, stay blessed!

Melissa English is a Real Estate Agent and Investor in the North Georgia market with hundreds of closed transactions and nearly a decade of experience in real estate. She is also the founder of GeorgiaKey.com - a real estate investing company that specializes in purchasing property offering quick closings in as-is condition.

 

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