Home Sellers and The Semantics of a Cancelled vs Withdrawn Listing

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

Home Sellers and The Semantics of a Cancelled vs Withdrawn Listing

Symantics of Real Estate LingoReal estate lingo is enough to make your head spin if you don't understand the foreign language for which we speak.

Oftentimes when I see in the MLS that a listing has been "withdrawn"  (no explanation is given), just withdrawn, I wonder did the seller actually decide not to sell or are they just temporarily postponing the sell.

I know consumers may be reading this post and wondering what the heck I'm talking about so let me explain.

When a listing changes in the MLS from Active to Withdrawn, it simply means that the owner no longer wishes for the agent to market the property.  However, the listing agreement is still in effect and therefore, prevents the seller from engaging in a new agreement with another real estate agent.

When a listing changes in the MLS from Active to Cancelled, it means that the seller either no longer wants to sell the property or simply wants to terminate the agreement between the seller and the listing agent/broker.  I know it's confusing right?  

The problem is that sometimes when a seller tells an agent that they want to withdraw their listing, the seller really thinks that they are instructing the seller to cancel the listing.  

The other problem is that some agents may not make it clear to the seller that their is a difference between withdrawing a listing and cancelling it all together.  That is why upon the request by the seller, the agent should immediately query the seller as to what their real intent is:  withdraw or cancel since it's likely that the seller does not know the difference.

So sellers, when deciding to take your home off of the market, please use this information to make it clear to your agent the intent of your decision to remove your home from the market.


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John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

I often find myself thinking ... Slow down... speak in everyday language my clients have a deer in the headlight look.

Mar 06, 2013 11:35 PM #1
Deborah Byron Leffler BzyBee Real Estate Lady!
Keller Williams Realty Boise - Nampa, ID
Really good advice for Sellers....they certainly don't want to find themselves in a situation where they have to pay 2 Realtors because they don't speak the right language!!! Suggested
Mar 06, 2013 11:37 PM #2
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Charita, we can not assume average consumer understands our lingo! Our local MLS does not have the "Cancelled" criteria, it's either Expired or Withdrawn, there's also Temporary Off Market. Great advice for Sellers!

Mar 06, 2013 11:48 PM #3
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Charita.... when an agents wants to cancel a listing, it does not mean the listing agent needs to do that... the seller's intention may be to sell it on their own and avoid paying a commission even though the buyer surfaced during the listing period!!!  or the seller may have another deal with another agent and want to list with that agent.... not going to happen with me!!  the listing agent will withdraw the listing and the seller can ride out the listing period and lose precious time....or the seller can play fairly.

Mar 07, 2013 12:02 AM #4
Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Exactly John.  I have a habit of explaining things in an elementary kind of way.

Deborah now that could be quite a mess.  Thanks for the suggest.

Beth then I take it that your MLS's version of "withdrawn" would be the same as our "cancelled."

Barbara I just gave the short version or the technical versions of the terms.  Certainly there are many other "backdoor" reasons that could apply and just touched on one of them (which could lead to some serious consequences).

Mar 07, 2013 12:14 AM #5
Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216,www.JeremiahNewman.com - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

Hi Charita. We have these same concerns with Withdrawn vs Canceled too. Many times the seller wants to list with another agent, but that listing agreement must be Terminated with the present listing agent, and the status in our MLS needs to be changed to Canceled, in order for the New Agent to be allowed to re-enter that same property. Yes, I would say the General Public truly doesn't understand our Lingo.

Mar 07, 2013 01:32 AM #6
Jennifer Prestwich
Henderson, Thornton, Broomfield and Westminster - Henderson, CO
Madison & Co Properties

This is a good, simple explanation of the difference between "Canceled" and "Withdrawn", Charita.  Nicely done.  As RE professionals, we can get caught up in the Lingo and forget that our clients may be saying one thing but meaning another!

Mar 07, 2013 05:26 AM #7
Connie Harvey
Pilkerton Realtors - Brentwood, TN
Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate

Charita, that is very interesting. We don't have a "cancelled"status. If it's withdrawn it could mean any number of things, including that they chosen to cancel their contract with e listing aent.

Mar 07, 2013 05:58 AM #8
Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Jerry that's true. A good bit of the time, there is another agent in the background.  At other times, the seller may be frustrated with the process and the list could go one.  But one thing is for sure, no matter what the case, sellers need to understand what they are asking and what there options really are.

Mar 07, 2013 06:07 AM #9
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


Great explanation.  When we have withdrawn listings because we've LEASED (rented out) the house, we change the publix remarks to this, so other agents and folks will know.  Otherwise, sometimes in the last couple years folks decided the market price for their home and what they wanted to get just didn't match.

All the best, Michelle

Mar 07, 2013 10:15 AM #10
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

We have the same explanation our definitions.  A "withdrawn" listing is just withdrawn from being shown/marketed, listing contract still in place.  If the listing agent isn't explainig that to their clients, and they know, or should know what the difference is, shame on them if the client was to really CANCEL that listing . . . and trust me, the listing agents knows when a client wants to cancel.  Good topic!

Mar 07, 2013 10:22 AM #11
Elyse Berman, PA
Best Connections Realty, Inc. - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824 CRS, ABR, GRI,ePR

Charita,  You gave a good explanation.  Things can get confusing to the public because of our lingo.  In our MLS, we use Contingent as a status.  The problem comes is when MLS continues to show it as active on the search engines, yet it is contingent pending inspection, appraisal, etc.  There is definitely a contract on it.

Mar 07, 2013 11:04 AM #12
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Charita Cadenhead

Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)
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