Is That Home Really for Sale?

Ever found a San Francisco house online, inquired about a viewing, and received a response to the effect of “the house is no longer being shown because…” For as long as I’ve been an agent, homes in San Francisco listed for sale in the MLS have had six basic statuses: Active, Act. Cont., Pending, Sold, Expired, or Withdrawn. Public websites that receive data from the San Francisco MLS (in one way, shape or other, including aggregators, syndicators, etc.) display homes that are listed as Active or Act. Cont. (an abbreviation for Active Contingent).

San Francisco Public MLS Search

However, homes listed as Act. Cont. are often not as available as they might seem… In an effort to clear up the confusion, the San Francisco Association of Realtors has updated the list of available statuses in the MLS, and these new statuses will go live shortly after the new year arrives. January 4, 2012 to be precise.

The big changes are additions to the Act. Cont. status in San Francisco that further clarify property availability. These new additions are:

Act. Cont. – Short Sale: Accepted offer pending lender approval, additional offers being sought

Act. Cont. – Rel. Clause: Accepted offer with a subject to sale seller release clause, additional offers being sought

Act. Cont. – Show: Accepted offer with Buyer contingency provisions such as inspections, accepting back-up offers

Act. Cont. – Probate: Accepted offer, available to be overbid through the court confirmation process

Now the question becomes whether or not San Francisco real estate agents will use these statuses to accurately reflect their property status. For example, let’s say I represent a seller who has accepted an offer subject to property inspections. If my seller is interested in continuing to show the property and is willing to accept a back-up offer, the correct status in 2012 will be “Act. Cont – Show”.

However, what if my seller doesn’t want to show the property anymore? The correct choice would be to mark the listing as “Pending” – however, because this means the listing disappears from public view on the internet, most listing agents have historically marked it as “Act. Cont.” and just explained when they get a phone call or email inquiry about the property that while the contingencies haven’t yet been lifted, the property isn’t currently being shown. Which perhaps suggests that the status update we really needed to introduce is “Act. Cont. – I’ll Get Back to you if Things Don’t Work Out“.



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