With all of the various things that someone could ask me about real estate, the question that I answer several times per week is "What does pending sale mean?" I guess when I look at it with fresh eyes, it might not seem obvious. So I thought I'd take the time to explain the terms that are used in the FMLS to indicate the sales status of a property in the Atlanta area.
- Active: This means that it is available to be shown and the sellers haven't negotiated a contract with anyone.
- Contingency Other: This means that the sellers have a signed contract with a buyer but they have at least one item that the contract is contingent on, usually financing or inspection. If those contingencies are met, the home will sell on the date specified. There's always a chance that something will go wrong with the contingency and in that case it will probably go back to Active status. Sometimes a seller will allow their home to be shown during this contingency period. Sometimes they don't want to be hassled by any additional showings at this time.
- Contingency with Kick-out:This means that they have a contingent contract(usually contingent on the buyer's home selling) on their home but the seller has retained the right to kick-out the buyer if another offer comes along that is more desirable to them. Usually the buyer has negotiated a 24 or 48 hour window where they can remove their contingency and still remain in the contract. Usually the seller is agreeable to having their home shown. They usually want another buyer to come along who can purchase their home without it being contingent on the sale of another home. If you are the other buyer, you won't know whether you have a deal until the kick-out period is over.
- Pending Sale: This usually means that there is a contract on the house and there are no contingencies outstanding. The buyer's financing is approved and the inspection has been done and repairs have been negotiated. All that's left is for the closing attorney to put together all of the closing documents for the buyer and seller. Usually very few transactions fall apart at this stage. There might be a few sellers who will still allow their home to be shown and take a back up offer just in case.
- Sold: This is just what it says. The money has changed hands and the buyer is now the owner. Sometimes it takes a few weeks for the MLS to change the status in the database. Sometimes it takes a few months for the sales information to be recorded at the county courthouse.
- Expired: This means that the home was listed for a certain length of time(usually 90 days) and has failed to sell. Many times the home will be re-listed, sometimes with a different agent and sometimes at a lower price. Some times these sellers are open to offers before they put their home on the market again.
- Withdrawn: This means that for some reason, the seller has taken their home off the market before the listing period has expired. Sometimes people change their minds. Many times something like a job transfer fails to materialize.
Until the home is sold, no one in their right mind will tell you what the negotiated price is. If the deal falls apart, the seller doesn't want any other potential buyer to know how low they were willing to go on their previous offer. That's usually the next question I get after I tell someone that the home is pending sale. Trust me, the listing agent will not tell me the price if I can them.