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How to find and buy Florida beach real estate

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Coast to Coast, Clearwater Beach, FL

How to find and buy Florida beach real estate
“Is that property really for sale?”


If you’re searching online to buy a house or condo in Pinellas County, Florida, this article is written for you. Pinellas County is surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay on Florida’s West coast. It’s the home of Clearwater, St Petersburg, and the Gulf Beach towns, the best known of which are Clearwater Beach and St Pete Beach.

You’re searching any one of many real estate sites for a house or condo, maybe realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, or maybe a local Realtor’s own website. That perfect property catches your eye. You like the look, the price, the location. You want to know more. There’s a Realtor’s phone number or e-mail link. You reach out to the Realtor only to be told, “Sorry. That property has MLS status ‘Active with Contract’. It’s not available.” I only want to see property that is REALLY available!

“Whaaaaat?!?!? I’m looking at it online. How can it be unavailable?” We hear that question all the time.

The aggravation is due to MLS status ‘Active with Contract’ created by our Association of Realtors, the Pinellas Realtor Organization (PRO). so a property will remain online appearing to be available though it has a contract. Seems like a classic bait and switch, doesn’t it? We have asked PRO to discontinue 'Active with Contract' status only to be told that other agents like the status and don’t intend to discontinue it.

A little background: All those Internet portals displaying property for sale are picking up the database feed, known as IDX, from the Realtor Associations around the country. That’s how they get the information to display online. As the information changes, like price or status, the change is supposed to be made on those portals. Some update the information more frequently than others. Status is important because it reflects the property’s availability. ‘Active’ status means it’s available and would rightly be displayed as for sale. When the status changes to Contract Pending, Sold, Expired, or Withdrawn, the property normally is removed from the websites.

PRO is the only Realtor Association in the entire country utilizing the status Active with Contract, as near as I can tell. IDX doesn’t recognize it as being different than Active so displays it online as Active, appearing to you, the unwitting public, to be available leading to your disappointment, frustration, and disgust with seemingly false advertising.

What can you do to see only available properties?

  • Have us set up a search for you and show the properties meeting your criteria on a website specifically for you which will display only Active properties will be shown. You can tell us what you want in a descriptive e-mail, by sending us your wants & needs from our form, or by calling us.
  • Search from the only site we know that makes the distinction between Active and Active with Contract listings - Listingbook. Listingbook shows the true status of each property displayed with an icon indicating Active or Pending AB (meaning Contract Pending, Accepting Backups). We applaud Listingbook and that has earned our recommendation as the real estate search tool of choice. Listingbook also displays more property details than the IDX sites we have found, including price history, days on market, and links to the Pinellas County Property Appraiser’s site and the Pinellas County Tax Collector’s site.
  • See condos and houses for sale on or near the beach by the Gulf of Mexico. Here you'll see links to houses & condos for sale sorted by city name, Clearwater Beach, St Pete Beach, etc. Other links on the page have all beach towns grouped together and sorted by price range. Be aware: These links were created using IDX so 'Active with Contract' properties are included. If you want to be sure to see only available properties, use one of the 1st two options.

We’re here to make your home buying experience as painless as possible. Let us know if you’d like our help.


Posted by

Tom & Lisa Slaughter
Century 21 Coast to Coast, Clearwater Beach, Florida 33767
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Search MLS for Florida Gulf coast homes & condos for sale on the beach and near the beach in the St Petersburg / Clearwater area at www.beach-realtors.com.

We're Realtors specializing in waterfront houses & condos for sale in Pinellas County on Florida's Gulf beach.

Florida Gulf beach communities we serve:

Clearwater Beach, Belleair Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Redington Shores, North Redington Beach, Redington Beach, Madeira Beach, Treasure Island, St. Pete Beach, Pass-a-Grille, Isla del Sol, Tierra Verde, Island Estates

Mainland - Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Belleair, Belleair Bluffs, Seminole, Largo

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