What do Active – Backup – and Pending Statuses mean in Real Estate

    Various Statuses in real estateWhen we speak with our buyers and sellers about real estate terminology – three of the four statuses always come up as to what they “really” mean.

    These are Pending Status – Back Up and Active!

    I will give you what they are supposed to mean and what most “seasoned” realtors manipulate them to mean.

    I thought I would also throw in some of the other statuses, as they exist in the MLS, which could be reason you might see a listing one moment and then watch it disappear the very next moment.


    These are the listings that are for sale now. There has been no “executed” contract having been signed off between the buyer and the seller. It could be there were offers received and those offers could have been countered.

    However the necessary “Execution” has not happened. Execution is when all parties have signed off on all the offers and counter offers and where the seller has signed the “confirmation of acceptance”.

    Agent View – Some agents, keep their listings as active, even when an executed contract exists, although it’s a violation of the Board of Realtors Rules. They do so in order to generate additional leads that can be applied to different real estate listings.  Shame on them!

    Pending Sale (under contract)

    These are homes, condos and townhomes that should not be showing up on the proverbial “real estate search engine” Radar. They should have been removed due to their pending status, meaning the seller does not want any additional showings, viewings, or offers written on the home they are selling. They are confident the buyer is going to make it all the way to the finish line and buy their home.

    Agent View – Some Realtor put a home in this position even though the buyer is not as solid as they could be. They just don’t want to be bothered with any additional inquiries from other agents. This is a bad move for the real estate seller and shows they may have hired poorly!

    Backup Offer (under contract) (now active under contract)

    The official update regarding this sale status is back up is now known as “Active Under Contract”.

    This status is supposed to mean that the seller wants additional viewings, showings and additional offers to be written even though they are in contract with a buyer. (they want offers to be written to be held in backup position, just in case)

    Agent View – Some use this status because they realize they show up as active on some of the real estate syndication websites. They use this to their advantage to generate leads!

    Closed Sale

    Of course – this is when a sale is completed. It’s finished and the property has been transferred into the new owner’s name, confirmation of recording has been received.

    Agent View – Some of the real estate syndication websites manipulate this status so it appears the closed listings are still on the market, active and for sale. For Shame!


    When a listing does not sell within the contractual time frame, it expires if not renewed.

    Agent View – If the listing agent does not strip out the seller’s phone number, or if an aggressive agent has hired a service that monitors the MLS, then those sellers of the “expired listings” will be called ad nauseum by bunches of realtors, all with the same pitch… “Are you ready to hire the right agent?”


    This one means that the listing was cancelled before the contractual expiration date. It’s free and Clear and is okay to be re-listed by another Realtor.

    Relisted as long as the “original contract” has nothing about “if relisted within a certain amount of time”, then the previous listing agent is owed a commission.

    Agent viewShady agents build “crap” like this into their listing contracts. Ask upfront, when signing those contracts, if you cancel, what is the agent’s recourse!

    Hold do not Show

    Something happened. Maybe there were way too many offers and the agent is overwhelmed – (however, this reason is not part of the rules when ascribing a real estate listing to this status!)

    There could have been a falling out between the seller and the listing agent.

    It also maybe the case the seller needs to stand down on showings due to a family issue or emergency.

    Agent View – It’s like chumming the water. Maybe the seller is getting ready to cancel with their original listing agent. They are poised and ready!


    Contract is still standing. However, the seller has decided to remove their home from being on the market for sale.

    Agent View – They pig mark these listings to prepare for a cancellation!

    Thanks for reading the information about the various statutes within the Multiple Listing Service.


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