Become an Online Home Shopping Pro! [Real Estate Insider]

When searching for a home, you may stumble upon some terms that you've never seen before. This could complicate the process and make it more difficult to find a home you can tour. 

  • Active
  • Active Under Contract
  • Pending
  • Closed
  • Hold
  • Withdrawn
  • Expired

Why would someone list a home that is already under contract? Can we still tour a house if it's pending or active under contract? When will the realtor stop marketing a property? These are great questions that our checklist of standard listing terms can answer. 

Homes you CAN tour:

This first section is terms that you might see on a listing website or hear your realtor mention that mean you can tour the home. Keep in mind, if you can tour the house that doesn't guarantee that you can make an offer. 

Active

If a house is listed as active, you have the green light. The home is hot and ready to sell. Other categories have stipulations or red tape that restricts touring, but if a home is active, ask the agent for a tour ASAP. 

The key difference between active and active under contract is that you can be sure they have not accepted an agreement yet. This means the door is wide open for you to make the first offer. This is great news!

Active Under Contract

Active under contract means they have accepted an offer from a buyer, but they have chosen to continue to market their home in case a better offer comes through before closing. If you go to tour a home that's active under contract and like it, you can still make an offer. 

Make sure you have your realtor clarify which listing category the home is in before you commit to touring. There's nothing wrong with touring a home that's active under contract. Just because a home is under a contract does not mean they have closed the deal. There are still many hoops to jump through that could jeopardize the status. 

It's important to know if there is already an offer on the table to manage your expectations. It would be disappointing if you really like a home and find out that it's already under contract. Make sure you clarify whether there is already an offer on the table, so you know what to expect. 

Homes NOT currently open to tour:

Some houses may be listed even if they're not currently available for tours. Beneath is a list of terms you may see on a listing site, but you still can't tour them. 

Pending

A listing that is pending means the seller has accepted a contract and asked their realtor to stop marketing their home. The property is between the active and closed stages. This means there are still many hoops to jump through. In other words, the contract can be withdrawn during many different stages of the process and begin marketing again. 

Keep an eye on properties that are pending to see if something happens during the buying process that causes the buyer or seller to withdraw from their part of the contract. You may be able to tour the home later if this happens. 

As long as a home is listed as pending, there will be no new tours. However, it has not been closed, and a lot can happen. 

Closed

The property has been sold/leased, and the legal transaction is complete. If a home is listed as closed, this means all of the stipulations of the contract have been fulfilled, and the seller has transferred ownership to the buyer. For obvious reasons, a home listed as closed is no longer available to tour.  

Hold

A house listed under "hold" means the agent has paused marketing this house for various reasons. If you come across a home that is under "hold," you can still ask the realtor about why the home is being held and go from there.

This may be a case where the seller needs to get work done on the home based on a previous inspection and will resume touring once the work is complete. Any combination of events could lead to a house being put on hold, so keep a close eye on the property and check-in regularly if you're interested. 

Withdrawn

A withdrawn property has been removed from the listing by the realtor for some reason and has not yet expired. Typically, a broker will keep a property that has been withdrawn listed until it reaches the expired status, which is explained in the next section.

Why would a broker want to keep a withdrawn property listed if it's no longer for sale? Different brokers have their own philosophy, but one reason could be to make their inventory look more robust or attract interest. If it's a nice home, it could attract interest to that brokerage, and they can show you a different home that is actually for sale. 

Expired

As the name suggests, an expired home has exceeded the term agreed-upon to market that home. In other words, it has surpassed the listing term that the realtor can advertise the home. 

Make sure to take a close look at the listing status before reaching out to the selling agent for a tour. There are a few stages where you can actually tour a home and several that have restrictions. Remember, just because a home is posted to the listing site does not mean it is open for tours. 

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