What Do You Mean It’s Under Contract? The Listing Says “Active”

Realtorsaywhat?

That is the G rated version.

The working title was initially more along the lines of:

What the &^%$ Do You Mean the &^%$#&^ House Is Under &^%$^&# Contract? The &^%$#$@ Listing Says It Is &^%^&#%$ Active!

There is little more frustrating to the do-it-yourself consumer than outdated data. It’s hard enough to navigate unfamiliar territory with an accurate map, but it’s downright infuriating when that map is hopelessly obsolete. Like punching in the street address to the nearest Starbucks and being warned that there be dragons beyond the intersection of Hayden and Shea. A modern expedition requires modern cartography.

And yet, with the technological onslaught that has shifted the landscape of Real Estate practice, we still suffer from the “garbage in, garbage out” axiom that stifles growth in all human endeavors. All too often, an online home shopper comes across that perfect home that is everything he or she has ever wanted in a house … or rather, it would be if it were actually available.

Son of a &^%$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Before converting your Nissan Murano into a makeshift scud missile and driving it through the listing brokerage’s plate glass window, humor me for a moment.

Once a buyer and seller successfully negotiate a purchase contract here in Scottsdale, with all terms and conditions agreed to and ratified by each party, the listing agent has two choices: change the listing status to “Active With Contingency” or “Pending.” Whether the home remains visible to the consuming public depends on which selection is chosen.

If the home is updated to reflect “Active With Contingency” status, the home remains on the market while the transaction is shepherded through the escrow process. Whether the contract is subject to the buyer’s financing, inspection, ability to sell another property, etc, there are certain contingencies in place that must be satisfied prior to closing. During this time, the seller can market the home for backup offers if he or she so desires.  By essentially keeping the home in active status, but disclosing the presence of an existing contract, a seller does exactly that.

If the home is listed as “Pending” once an offer is accepted, it is removed from the market while the escrow is processed. In essence, the seller and listing agent are telling the Real Estate community to cease showing the home and that backup offers are not being solicited at this point.

With those two primary options serving as the choices for listing agents and their clients, you can imagine why many opt to go with the former. With the challenges buyers face in obtaining financing, in addition to typical inspection and appraisal concerns, some consider keeping the home available for possible backup offers the biggest no-brainer since all-you-can-eat ribs.

I actually prefer to utilize the “Pending” status as it shuts down the Days On Market accumulation that can stigmatize a property in the event that the transaction explodes, but that is another post altogether.

The truly baffling thing is that the public is not generally privy to the “With Contingency” part of “Active With Contingency” status. Take your pick amongst several possibilities and/or conspiracy theories as to why the listings displayed to consumers online will show up with no differentiation between the two entirely different categories, but the upshot is that you often stumble upon interesting properties that haven’t really been available for weeks, if not months. Just be aware that it’s no trickery being undertaken by the agent whose site search you are utilizing. While some industrious types might theoretically thrive on creating such confusion to create their own clarifying need, most of us are just as annoyed by the data disconnect as you are. We’d much rather the information that is disseminated be 100% correct and up to date than to field calls that lead to inevitably frustrated consumers. It’s simply a limitation of the information that is parsed out by the local MLS.

So there you go. Every home you come across online is available to purchase. Except those that aren’t.

On behalf of the industry, my apologies for rewarding your self-directed internet search for new construction in Scottsdale with a map of Pangaea.

Give me a call or shoot me an email if you want to request current availability on any and all “active” listings you come across online.

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About the author
Paul Slaybaugh is here to sell houses and chew bubble gum. He's all out of bubble gum. More About Me >>>

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