What Does It Mean When A Property Shows Its Status As Backup?

Real Estate Agent with The Homefinding Center CA BRE #01344132

Backup status confuses most home buyers and many untrained agents.

The status of "Backup" was created as a way to let the public know that while the home is still under contract by another buyer, they have reason to believe that the current escrow may fall through for any number of reasons.  This allows a backup offer to be submitted subject to the current escrow being cancelled.  The backup buyer is kind of like a relief pitcher in baseball, there just to take over in the case the starting pitcher (original buyer) can't complete the game as planned.

While the paragraph above was fairly accurate several years ago, it is far from the truth now.

Buyers everywhere must be aware of the false Backup status in today's market.  This phenomenon is created by a shortcoming with local MLS systems whereas the MLS removes all internet advertising for those sales placed in "Pending" status.  An example of this might be a home listed as "Active" receives an acceptable offer... the listing agent then changes the status to Pending to indicate to the public that the home is under contract and scheduled to close soon.  Once the MLS sees the change to Pending status, they remove the listing from the live feed that is released to all the partner (syndicate) websites.  This means no more calls to the listing agent from interested buyers (which many agents must have to survive). 

As a workaround (and here's where the Backup status comes in), the listing agent, rather than placing the home as pending status, will place the home in Backup status (the MLS allows homes in Backup status to remain on the live feed which goes out to the internet) which allows buyer calls to keep coming in.  The listing agent then simply tells the buyer that the home is in escrow, "but I've got a few more available just like it".

If you're a buyer and you see a home listed as Backup, ask questions first, write offers only after receiving confirmation that the sale is actually in distress!

A great agent can really help you to navigate through this complex transaction.

Good luck out there!

Cameron Novak, Corona Real Estate Agent
Cameron Novak

Corona Short Sale Agent & Corona Real Estate Agent
The Homefinding Center
Serving Corona, California and Surrounding Areas

Homes for sale in Corona, California

Photos and content © Copyright 2011 by Cameron Novak.

Here are some of my previous articles:
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Call The #1 Corona Short Sale Agent Team Today - It's FREE
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How much should I offer for the house I want to buy? Not to worry...
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Here are some helpful Corona, California website links:

This is a post to educate buyers about the status of Backup.


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Victor Zuniga
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Properties - San Diego, CA

I've never heard of backup status here in San Diego. short sales here in San Diego will move from active to contingent then to pending once written approval is given from the bank. Interesting.

Feb 11, 2011 03:37 PM #1
Cameron Novak
The Homefinding Center - Corona, CA
Featured Corona Real Estate Agent Team

Hey Vic - thanks for stopping by... too bad all the MLS systems can't get it straight and on the same page.  That and it would be great if they would stop selling our listings to companies that post them and then try to sell us what should be our own leads.

Hi Lauren - thanks for stopping by.  It's not just Realtor.com... the listing falls off all sydicated sites (30+ well ranked PR5+ sites).  Just a guess, but I'd say you probably don't have a PR ranking over 3 on any of your sites or pages.  It's very difficult for a small company/site to generate PR4 or higher.

By PR, I mean Google PageRank.

How are you doing in following your business plan for 2011?  You can do it!

Feb 11, 2011 06:46 PM #3
Mark Loewenberg
KW of the Palm Beaches - Palm Beach Gardens, FL
KW 561-214-0370

good point to make that this is the case.. a lot of my sellers want back up offers as they do not trust the existing contract..

Mar 03, 2017 04:30 PM #6
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