Listing Status: What Does It Mean?

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Brown Realtors 475.155182

Frequently, I receive calls from people asking about property they find on various portals and
websites.  Many of those calls are from people who assume the property is For Sale just because it shows up on these sites.  Unfortunately, that is not always the case and many times potential buyers have spent a great deal of time checking finances, researching neighborhoods and schools, and getting their hopes up only to find the property is already under contract or even sold.  

An understanding of what different listing statuses mean can help alleiviate some of the confusion and wasted time.  In the Mid America Regional Information System MLS, we have 11 differnt listing statuses.  I've listed them below.  Usually, only the ACTIVE listing status will appear on public websites but all status categories will be available to your agent so if your agent.  


  1. ACTIVE:  This category is for properties that are offered for sale and have no accepted contract on them.
  2. CONTINGENT W/KICKOUT:  This indicates that the property has an accepted contract but there is some form of contingency in the contract such as the buyer needing to close on their current home before they can purchase this home.  The kickout means that the property owner can still show  the property to other buyers and can accept other offers from other buyers.   If the terms of another offer are more favorable to the buyer or it appears that the contingency will not be lifted the seller will notify the original buyer of his intent to "kick him out" of the contract and accept the 2nd offer.  The kickout clause gives the original buyer a time period to either lift the contingency or forfeit the proeprty to the other buyer.
  3. CONTINGENT NO KICKOUT:  This status is the same as above but there is not a kickout clause in the contract. The seller cannot accept any other offers because they cannot unilaterally terminate the contract with the buyer they are under contract with.  
  4. CONTINGENT SHORT SALE:  Proerties in this category are under contract but the sale is subject to lender approval.
  5. PENDING:  This category of property indicates the seller is under contract with a buyer and major contingencies have been cleared.  This status indicates financing has probably been approved, inspections have been cleared, and the contract has a high probability of closing.
  6. OPTION:  The Option status in our MLS indicates that a contract has been accepted but the inspections have not been cleared yet.  They buyer and seller are still negotiating any repairs that should be made in order to move forward with the contract.  Once the inspections are complete and any repairs agreed to, the property usually switches to PENDING status.

INACTIVE LISTING CATEGORIES:  These categories will likely not appear on public websites but your agent may use this terminology when discussing listings with you.

  1. TEMPORARILY OFF MARKET:  These are properties that have been pulled off the market with the intention of being active again in the very near future.  A reason for this might be some needed reairs to the home.
  2. WITHDRAWN:  These properties have been pulled from Active status prior to the expiration of the listing agreement with their brokerage.  The listing agreement is still active but the seller has decided to no longer market it for sale.  A common reason for this category is when an owner decides to lease the property rather than sell it.
  3. EXPIRED:  This is a property that was on the market for the full length of the listing agreement but did not sell.  The length of listing agreements vary widely from agent to agent and brokerage to brokerage.  
  4. SOLD:  No explanation needed here.  The full transaction is complete.
  5. CANCELLED:  This is different than a withdrawn listing in that this status actually indicates the listing agreement with a brokerage has been terminated.  The seller is free to list the property with another agency if so desired. 

So, before you get your hopes up of a property you find online, make sure to check the status to see if it's actually still available.   You'll be glad you did!

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Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Hi Doug... great explanation of your mls' status terms. They differ from one area to the next and the public often doesn't really understand all the nuances beyond active and sold.

Oct 02, 2016 04:33 AM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Good morning Doug.  This is excellent information for those within your MLS area.  Also, interesting to note the differences with my MLS system.

Oct 23, 2016 08:29 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

I hope you have enjoyed a very productive summer.

Have an outstanding September.

Sep 09, 2020 10:26 AM