Active means Active. May I Express a STRONG Opinion in Atlanta? Part 1

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ...

Active means Active! Atlanta Homes ODAT RealtyMay I Please Express a STRONG Opinion in Atlanta? If a Listing says "ACTIVE" - it should be "ACTIVE". We need to be supportive of others in our profession. We ought to respect the time of others in our profession. What is the easiest way to do that?

Let's be sure every day that the status is correct in our Listings.  In addition to "ACTIVE", we have a plethora of status options available within Atlanta FMLS. 


Contingent - Due Diligence


Contingent - Kick-Out


Other Contingencies


Pending Sale




Pending Offer Approval


All of them tell the Buyer’s Agent the true status of the property. FMLS offers all these options to provide accurate information. Accurate information allows us to help one another with our jobs!


Wouldn't it be GREAT to get rid of the dreaded chore of calling every Listing you want to show to ask if it is truly ACTIVE or not before showing?

In a recent search with a First-Time Buyer, I blessed the 18 of 24 agents whose properties we selected to see were actually ACTIVE as stated. The other six fell into one or the other of these categories in the table above despite the fact that the Listing Agent still had ACTIVE in the data.

Yes, it does matter that the information be accurate.
Aside from the time lost, no one wants to drive to a home - with Clients - and be unable to get inside!

Case #1 - we arrive at a Listing whose Private Remarks stated the following: SUPRA Lockbox - Vacant - 24/7 access. Since I didn't see the lockbox in the front, I started around the back. While we were walking around to the back, the Client said, "Lynn, I think I just saw a curtain move and someone look out."

Now, I had printed out the FMLS Listing details that morning. Not even the night before ... Would this turn out to be one of those Vacant Homes that folks have moved into without permission?

The back door opens and a very large man says, "May I help you? I live here." He looked really friendly - thank goodness! I explained and apologized about the interruption. Remember, this was on the 11th of the month. The kind man said, "Yes, we leased this home last month and moved in on the 1st of this month. Do you want to see our lease?" No need, I assured him and apologized again as we left. 

Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty  Although at three other homes that same day we encountered incidents of inaccurate information (a- there was no key in the lockbox; b- the wrong code was in the Listing Info for contractor lockbox and c- the lockbox was jammed and wouldn't open), the already rented one was the worst situation.

Have a happy day -

Don't miss the END OF THE STORY in Part 2!

PS I am told that certain REO or Foreclosure holders "dictate" that the status stay Active. Complying with that "demand" does not preclude the Listing Agent from putting something in PRIVATE remarks to clarify the status. "Highest and best date has passed." or "Awaiting Lender response on five offers." or ????? L.


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Brad Weber
AA Realty - Eagan, MN
Good post. our data accuracy makes us more valuble. Our MLS went to a similar system of Active with a set of contingencies, including offer, home inspection, third party approval and a few more. It has really helped and I no longer feel compelled to call every single listing. However certain websites ignore the contingencies and show every home that is active with a contingency. My buyers are constantly questioning why I forgot to tell them about a home, even though that home already had an offer.
Oct 25, 2013 11:28 PM #62
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Dear Readers -

Thanks for visiting my post! I am very happy to have reached so many of my AR peers. It seems many people were at the same "boiling-over" point as mine!

I hope you read Part 2 for the end of the story!  I will answer everyone - either here or commenting on one of their posts - as soon as possible.

Have a happy day -

PS  A quick answer to KAREN CROWSON (#59).  CONKO - In the Atlanta market, a contract may be offered contingent on the sale of another home or any other detail on which both the Seller and Buyer come to agreement.

The "kick-out" comes into play when another offer intrigues the Seller. The Buyer then has an opportunity to "kick-out" the Contingency and proceed directly to the sale.  L.

Oct 25, 2013 11:39 PM #63
Theresa Akin

Right before I go out (within a couple hours) I call the agents or text to verify the status of the properties on the list for one of the very reasons you've listied. That includes foreclosures.  Many offices have assistants for the agents. Not all of the assistants get the information into the MLS right away or simply forget altogether, especially if it's almost 5:00 p.m. on a Friday. Not all assistants work the weekends.  I walked into home when the lockbox is still on the door after the house has been sold. The house was vacant on lockbox. MLS status was ACTIVE.  Agent got upset with me. I called board immediately. Then the agent really got mad at me. She figured it was I who turned it in. She didn't like the fact that she had to pay a $$ fine. I found out later it was her 3rd or 4th.

Oct 25, 2013 11:51 PM #64
Jim Harper
Atlanta Communities Real Estate - Marietta, GA

Lynn, I empathize with your issue, and experience the same challenges in the Marietta, GA market. In showing homes to buyer clients, I make it a point to email/call the listing agents prior to the tour - because I know what will happen if I don't. Not the most efficient way to work, of course.

Oct 25, 2013 11:57 PM #65
Marlis Landreth
Retired - Tucson, AZ
Retired Tucson Realtor

Lynn, we run into this ALL of the time. Like you, I tried to show one where the tenants had moved in 6 months earlier.  When I called the agent, he said, "I haven't had the time to change it in MLS."  Imagine, not one minute in 6 months - must be a  multi-millionaire agent.

Oct 26, 2013 01:58 AM #67
Woody Edwards
First Choice Realty, Inc - Chesterfield, VA
A Realtor® Who Answers His Phone!

It got so bad in our MLS, that the board hasn't started fining agents.  And the fines are more than a slap on the wrist!  We all make mistakes, and occasionally forget to make required changes, but get an email from the MLS threatening a $1,000 fine, definitely gets your attention!

Oct 26, 2013 02:36 AM #68
Pete Xavier
Investments to Luxury - Pacific Palisades, CA
Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide
Mainly the improper property descriptions cost me some wasted time, this is a good reminder to call before showing.
Oct 26, 2013 03:24 AM #69
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info
Your association needs to have a backbone and some teeth. If there is no penalty for agents to keep their data accurate then why would they bother. There are so many lazy agents. We have to police ourselves and have nobody to blame but ourselves if this kind of thing goes on. Somebody must take charge and implement rules.
Oct 26, 2013 03:46 AM #70
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Laziness on the part of the agent - or lack of communication between the owner and the agent? One or the other, that's for sure. 

Oct 26, 2013 04:03 AM #71
Karen Steed
Tallapoosa, Bremen, Waco, Buchanan, Temple, Carrollton - Tallapoosa, GA
Associate Broker Haralson Realty

This is a problem in all mls groups.  Some agents will not mark a listing as under contract or pending, because they want multiple offers, or because they are afraid something will happen to the contract, or they are waiting on the appraisal, etc.

It is very frustrating for buyers, and buyer's agents.


Oct 26, 2013 05:40 AM #72
Jim Miner
Miner Noh & Associates - Phoenix, AZ
Loan Modfication & Short Sale Specialist

And the word "Active" really had several definitions in the world of short sales and REOs.


Oct 26, 2013 06:12 AM #73
Sonya Mays, MBA
Midwest Executive Realty - Milwaukee, WI
Broker/Owner, Greater Milwaukee

Lynn, congrats on the featured article, great post! Maybe this will help raise the bar in the Realtor community. I'm finding this lack of MLS accuracy not only with REO agents, but also non-REO agents and institutional/government entities with MLS listing access. Our MLS will impose daily fines for not reporting/updating MLS status within 24-48 hours.  Some agents still don't care, don't have the time, or maybe just too independently wealthy. Perhaps if we continue to raise the bar, and educate ourselves, we can overcome these challenges to create long-term solutions! 

Oct 26, 2013 11:17 AM #74
Alyse "Aly" Sands
Village Real Estate Services - Nashville, TN

These are terrible.  How irresponsible!  

My worst was the time that my buyers HAD to go see an Active listing 45 minutes from me on a Sunday afternoon.  I called the agency and they gave me showing instructions.  I went to the property and couldn't get in.  I called the agent and he did not answer.  I left messages.  My buyers brought both sets of parents because they just knew this was the home for them.  We waited an hour.  No answer.  Finally, we left.  Let's say that I took 3 hours out of the middle of my Sunday.

On Monday by noon the listing agent had still not returned my call so I called him again.  This time he answered.  "I got a contract on that house and I don't work on Sundays."  This guy neglected to mark the listing as having a contract and I had to sacrifice my Sunday because he refused to check messages.  Not to mention that the buyer was highly disappointed and agitated.  This had to be the least considerate agent I have ever worked with.

Oct 27, 2013 07:52 AM #75
Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker
iXL Real Estate-Wiregrasss\ - Enterprise, AL
email: / cell: 334-494-7846

Yep, had a Buyer Client drive for over 45 minutes to my town, where he got in my car and we drove another 30 minutes to get to a house. No sign & no lockbox....hmmmm. I called the Agent on the printed MLS sheet from a few hours prior and "oh I JUST got back from the Closing a couple of hours ago". When I asked her why she didn't put PENDING at least, she responded, laughingly, " it was a Cash sale and I didn't have the time to change the mls". But she did have time to drive the 20 -30 minutes to the house to get the lockbox & sign, and then back, PLUS it had been 2 hours since the Closing. But not 5 minutes to click a box in the computer....!

Oct 27, 2013 11:37 AM #76
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Dear Readers -

Thanks so much for all your comments!
Please see PART 2 for the "exciting" end of the story!

1.  Call before you go - majority reply - even tho' a waste of time.2.  Report the violators.
3.  50/50 - Many STATUS options a benefit/a bad idea

Inconsiderate agents are spread all over across the country!

Have a happy day -

Oct 27, 2013 01:11 PM #77
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

The biggest excuse I get is it is listed as active while they are waiting on contract signatures.  They should make a code for that too.  We could call it Active _ But don't Bother.

Oct 28, 2013 03:19 AM #78
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Lynn, we agree.  This is a pet peeve of our office.  Just lazy agents

Oct 28, 2013 06:31 AM #79
Adele Tamburo
Weichert, Realtors - Point Pleasant Beach, NJ
Making Home Ownership A Reality!

Lynn good morning, I agree with you on this. My MLS does not allow nor require a change in status from active to DABO until after attorney review, we do not have an attorney review status either. The entire length of time you are in review it shows active so my buyers are constantly calling to say it still shows active. I think it can be very confusing. I am a memeber of 4 MLS' here in New Jersey, three have the attorney review status which is wonderful but my main MLS does not. 

We do not have a lockbox system is place either, we must call the listing office and book appointments and pick up keys. Hello 19th Century!

There should be a unviersal system in my opinion, it would make life so much easier!!!


Good luck,

Adele Tamburo

Oct 28, 2013 09:48 PM #80
Marnie Matarese
Showing you the best of Sarasota!

Lynn, no need to answer my comment but I just want you to know how totally in agreement with you.  I now call each and every agent prior to showing a property because updating the listings seems to be a thing of the past with many of them.

Oct 29, 2013 10:50 AM #81
Morgan Mason
The Outer Banks Real Estate Company LLC - Southern Shores, NC
Outer Banks Beach Houses for Sale

Lynn, thanks for the topic.  I agree with your premise that we need to keep the MLS information current daily!  There are so many other things that can go wrong when the property is improperly labeled, the remarks are confusing, etc.  While we are a small area here on the Outer Banks, I encounter these issues monthly.  Thanks again!

Nov 18, 2013 08:51 AM #82
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Lynn B. Friedman

Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers
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