What to Know About MLS Listing Statuses

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Executive Realty 91362

Navigating the complex labyrinth of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) can be daunting, especially when deciphering its various status meanings. Yet having this understanding is crucial for buyers and sellers aiming to make informed decisions and maximize opportunities.

With a perpetually evolving real estate market, there has never been a more critical time to master these intricacies. This comprehensive guide will demystify MLS status meanings, providing lucrative insights and making your journey through the real estate landscape smoother than ever.

Get ready to command the matrix that drives the backbone of American real estate - let's conquer MLS together!

In the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), several status definitions indicate the current state of a property listing. These include active, pending, contingent, sold, experienced, withdrawn, and Canceled.

Each status has significance and implications for buyers, sellers, and real estate professionals. Industry professionals must understand these status meanings to accurately interpret and communicate the current state of a property listing to their clients.

From many years of experience as a Realtor, I know many consumers don't understand the MLS listing codes and can be confused by their meanings. Maximum Real Estate Exposure is an excellent resource for breaking down the meaning of the abbreviations and MLS statuses.

The Role of Status in the Multiple Listing Service

In the ever-evolving world of real estate, accurate and up-to-date information is crucial for both buyers and sellers. This is where the status of a property listing plays a vital role in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

The MLS is a comprehensive database real estate professionals use to share and collaborate on property listings. It uses a set of status definitions to indicate the current state of a listing, providing valuable information to all parties involved.

The status of a property listing serves as a communication tool, conveying essential details about its availability and progress in the sales process.

By understanding these statuses, real estate professionals can accurately interpret and communicate the current state of a listing to their clients.

Whether it's identifying properties that are actively available for sale, tracking pending transactions, or knowing when a property has been successfully sold, each status provides unique insights into the life cycle of a listing.

For example, an "Active" status indicates that a property is currently available for sale and being marketed. Buyers can view these listings and schedule showings to evaluate potential purchases.

On the other hand, a "Pending" status signifies that the seller has accepted an offer but hasn't yet closed. While technically still active, properties in this status aren't available for showings as they are in the final stages before the transaction is completed.

Understanding the different statuses in the MLS allows real estate professionals to effectively guide their clients through each stage of the buying or selling process.

Now that we recognize the importance of status in the MLS let's delve deeper into understanding what each status conveys and its implications for buyers, sellers, and real estate professionals.

Interesting Statistics

  • According to the National Association of Realtors, almost 90% of sellers list their homes on MLS, making it an essential tool for understanding property statuses.
  • A 2023 survey revealed that approximately 80% of properties listed as Active on MLS sell within the first month of listing, highlighting the importance of being familiar with status definitions.
  • In the same year, data showed that around 8% of all listings on MLS reached an Expired status, indicating that these properties did not sell within the initial listing agreement period.

Understanding Different Statuses

In the MLS, properties can assume several distinct statuses based on their current state in the sales process. These statuses include active, pending, contingent, sold, experienced, withdrawn, and Canceled. Each status carries its meaning and implications for all parties involved.


"Active" status is the most common and indicates that a property is currently available for sale. Buyers can view the listing and schedule showings to explore potential purchase opportunities. Real estate professionals are actively marketing properties in this status.


The "Contingent" status means an accepted offer on the property. However, certain conditions or contingencies must be met before the sale can proceed. These conditions could include inspections, financing approvals, or other contractual obligations.

There are several contingencies that real estate buyers and sellers need to know.


When a seller accepts an offer on a property, it enters the "Pending" status. The sale hasn't yet closed, but the property is no longer available for showings. It signifies that the transaction is in progress and approaching completion.

It is essential to note there is a difference between pending vs. under contract. Many buyers will ask if you can buy a home contingent or pending. Read out resources to find out more.


The "Sold" status indicates that the property has been successfully sold and the transaction has closed. Once a property reaches this status, it is no longer available for sale.

Other statuses in the MLS include "Expired," "Withdrawn," and "Cancelled."


An "Expired" status implies that the seller's and agent's listing agreement has expired without a successful sale. The property is no longer actively marketed.


On the other hand, a "Withdrawn" status means that the seller has decided to temporarily or permanently remove the listing from the market. It is no longer actively marketed but could potentially come back at a later date.


Finally, a "Canceled" status indicates that the seller's and agent's listing agreement has been terminated before expiration.

Understanding these different statuses provides valuable insights into each property's current state and helps real estate professionals guide their clients through the complex buying or selling process effectively.

Breaking Down Each Status Meaning

In the fast-paced world of real estate, staying on top of property listings' statuses is crucial for real estate professionals. The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) utilizes a set of status definitions to outline the current state of a property listing.

Understanding these status meanings is vital for accurately interpreting and communicating the state of a property to clients. Let's break down each status meaning so you can confidently navigate the MLS.

Active Status

The Active status is perhaps the most common in the MLS and indicates that a property is currently available for sale. When a listing is marked as Active, it is open for showings, and potential buyers can submit offers. This status implies that the property is actively marketing and seeking interested parties.

For example, suppose you are assisting a client searching for a new home in a particular neighborhood. Regularly checking the MLS for listings with an Active status lets you stay informed about available properties and helps your client find their dream home.

However, it is essential to note that just because a property is listed as Active doesn't guarantee its availability. It's always wise to check with the listing agent or verify with the MLS for any updates or changes.

In some cases, properties may already have pending offers or contingencies, but they remain classified as Active until those conditions are met.

Now that we have explored what Active status signifies let's venture into other crucial meanings within the MLS. You will understand how they impact the buying and selling process.

Think of property statuses in the MLS like traffic lights - each color indicating a different phase of availability or activity. Green represents Active, signaling go ahead and explore; yellow indicates Pending or Contingent, where caution must be exercised due to potential roadblocks; and red denotes Sold or Expired, signifying that the destination has been reached or that it's time to reevaluate the journey.

Real estate professionals can navigate their clients toward successful transactions by understanding these status meanings.

Pending Status

In the world of real estate, the Pending status holds significant meaning. When a property has a Pending status in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), it indicates that a seller has accepted an offer from a buyer. However, the sale has not yet been finalized and closed.

This status signals that the property is no longer available for showings, as negotiations and inspections are underway. The goal of getting the property under contract has been achieved.

For instance, imagine you are representing a potential buyer interested in purchasing a home listed as Pending. In this scenario, informing your client that the property has already received an accepted offer and is undergoing various checks and finalizations is essential.

While it's still technically active in the MLS until the sale closes, it would be wise to explore other available options unless certain circumstances arise.

Understanding the implications of the Pending status enables real estate professionals to manage client expectations effectively and provide accurate information. It sets the stage for discussing contingency plans or exploring alternative properties.

The Process of Status Changes

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) utilizes a set of status definitions to indicate the current state of a property listing. These statuses include active, pending, contingent, sold, experienced, withdrawn, and Canceled. Each status entails specific meanings and implications for buyers, sellers, and real estate professionals.

When a listing moves from one status to another, it signifies essential milestones throughout the sales process. For instance:

  1. Active to Pending: This transition occurs when a seller accepts an offer on their property.
  2. Pending to Contingent: When a sale agreement is contingent upon specific conditions or contingencies being met, such as home inspections or financing requirements.
  3. Contingent to Sold: The property transitions to Sold status once all contingencies have been met successfully.
  4. Active to Expired: If a property listing does not sell within the agreed-upon time frame specified in the listing agreement, it will transition to Expired status. There are many reasons why a home is not competitive in the local housing market.
  5. Active to Withdrawn: A seller may temporarily or permanently remove their listing from the market, resulting in a transition to the Withdrawn status. Sometimes, a seller will market their home as-is and realize this is a mistake. They will make some improvements and return to the market.
  6. Active to Cancelled: If a listing agreement is terminated before its expiration date, typically due to unforeseen circumstances, the property will be marked as Cancelled.

Understanding these status changes allows real estate professionals to keep clients informed about the current state of their listings. It allows them to make educated decisions throughout the buying and selling process.

Why Comprehending MLS Statuses Matters

Understanding the various statuses in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is essential for effective communication and decision-making. The status of a property listing provides crucial information about its availability, the current stage of the sale process, and potential implications for buyers and sellers.

By comprehending MLS statuses, you can confidently navigate the market. You will also avoid misunderstandings or missed opportunities.

Imagine a buyer who is excitedly searching for their dream home. They find a listing that seems perfect in every way, only to discover that it is already under contract. Without understanding the different MLS statuses and their meanings, this buyer could experience disappointment and frustration.

On the other hand, by being knowledgeable about statuses like Active, Pending, or Sold, you can proactively manage client expectations and streamline their search process.

Moreover, keeping track of MLS statuses lets you stay updated with market trends and identify potential opportunities. For example, if properties consistently shift from contingent to active status in a particular neighborhood, it could indicate a high demand or competitive market condition.

This knowledge empowers you to advise your clients on appropriate pricing strategies or act swiftly when desirable listings become available.


Posted by

With three decades of experience, Bill Gassett is an authority in the real estate sector. Bill writes informative articles for numerous prestigious real estate sites to help buyers, sellers, and fellow real estate agents. His work has been featured on RIS Media, the National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, Realty Biz News, Credit Sesame, and his own authority resource, Maximum Real Estate Exposure. Reach out to Bill Gassett for his real estate, mortgage, and financial expertise.

Comments (3)

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

Hello Bill... an excellent overview of MLS statuses... but they do differ from one MLS to another. For example, my MLS in Charlotte has not contingent status or pending status. We have a status "under contract-show" which means home is still in due diligence period and "under contract-no show" which means home is through due diligence period and waiting to close. By the same token, we have many sellers who ask to be put into the under contract-no show status right away because they do not want to entertain more showings once a contract is signed.

Nov 28, 2023 07:38 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Bill - MLS definitions vary by jurisdiction.   That said, within an area there can be leeway, sway and quite a few interpretations.   It's no wonder that confusion exists. 

Nov 28, 2023 09:59 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good evening Bill,

Great way to define the differences but they do vary state to state which causes confusion, especially when one is moving to another state! 

Nov 28, 2023 04:15 PM