This morning I had a phone conversation with someone that is actively searching to buy a lake home in the Alexandria area and a number of good questions were posed to me. One was about the difference between ‘pending’ and ‘contingent’. It is a question I am asked often so in case you aren’t quite clear, here is a quick tutorial about the real estate listings you see on my Alexmn.com.
Listings found in searches on Alexmn.com are available for showings but it doesn’t mean they are available to buy. Clear as mud, right? The key is to look for words after the list price. If a seller accepts an offer with a contingency for inspection, the listing brokerage will change the status to “Active – Inspection” in the MLS (MLS is an acronym for Multiple Listing Service and in this article I am specifically referring to the MLS for the Alexandria area, Northstar MLS). How that listing will appear on Alexmn.com is with (INSPECTION) after the list price. Buyers can still schedule showings with the hope that the buyer with the Purchase Agreement will cancel the contract before the inspection contingency period expires. If the seller doesn’t want showings during the inspection period or if the Purchase Agreement stipulates the property can’t continue to be offered for sale during the contingency period, then the status is changed to TNAS (temporarily not available for showings) in the MLS and the listing won’t be visible on Alexmn.com or other sites. After the inspection contingency is removed the status in the MLS will likely be changed to ‘Pending’. Pending listings won’t appear on Alexmn.com.
Why I wrote “will likely be changed” is there is a status option that gets handled differently within our MLS. It is “Active – Financing”. (FINANCING) after the list price is what will be seen on Alexmn.com. Some sellers and their brokerages will set this status if the only remaining contingency is financing. Some will change the status to ‘Pending’ in the MLS. If the status in “Active – Financing’, the listing still appears on all web-sites displaying listings from our MLS. It also means showing appointments have to be accepted but most qualified buyers aren’t going to look in person when there is a Purchase Agreement accepted with a financing or inspection contingency as the probability of the sale closing is high. If after the list price you see (SALE OF ANOTHER PROPERTY) and are interested in the lake property you should definitely schedule a showing. It means the seller has accepted a Purchase Agreement that is contingent on the sale of a property the buyer owns and there is the possibility of having your offer accepted. The Purchase Agreements with Inspection Contingencies and/or Financing Contingencies aren’t possible to be bumped as long as the buyer performs on what is in the agreement even if another buyer were to present an offer with a better price and terms after the accepted Purchase Agreement.
Another status option to look for is (COMING SOON). This is a great option for sellers of lake homes. It can be used up to 21 days prior to the the ‘Active’ date. Our MLS has strict rules that showings or even previews by agents aren’t allowed until the listing is active. The repercussions are severe if the rules aren’t followed. Once entered into the MLS with a status of “Coming Soon” the listing will appear on all real estate web-site such as Alexmn.com and Zillow. It is a great option for lake home sellers as the majority of lake home buyers aren’t likely in or close to Alexandria so it gives them time to plan their visit and obtain a pre-approval letter from a lender if they want to finance their lake home purchase. It is good for sellers to maximize exposure and good for buyers as it gives them time to plan a visit and have a shot. Once the status is ‘Coming Soon’ in the MLS, showings can be booked for the ‘Active’ date and beyond. You won’t see on Alexmn.com what date the listing status will be ‘Active’ but as a member of the MLS the information is available to me. If you see a ‘Coming Soon’ listing send me a message and I’ll let you know.