Active, Under Agreement, Pending…How do they Translate?

It’s getting to be that time of year again, where we see listings going under agreement.  Our favorite time of year!  As a reminder, your obligation as a member of the MLS is to report any status change to the system within 2-business days of a fully signed purchase and sale agreement.  But, just how are you doing that?  Well, it all depends on where in the process the transaction rests.

Purchase & Sale with mortgage, insurance, inspection contingencies still outstanding:

In the MLS you should add a contingency to your listing.  This allows you to leave the listing in an active status, but puts a flag on the property so fellow users of the MLS will be aware that an offer exists.  The listing will continue to show in active searches performed by users of the MLS.  It also updates online dissemination sites (think, Zillow, etc) so that consumers are aware and you are in compliance with truth in advertising requirements.  A listing with a contingency flag will look like the following in the MLS and on Zillow and

Purchase and Sale agreement after all contract contingencies have been met:

In the MLS you must change the status of the listing to PENDING.  The listing will no longer show in active searches performed by users of the MLS, and the listing will update online to show as follows:

Purchase and Sale agreement with a home sale contingency:

This is the only exception to the rule of changing the status in the MLS.  Last year, the MLS Board of Directors unanimously voted that under this circumstance, you can leave the listing as active without adding a contingency flag to it.  The requirement is to add a home sale contingency remark in the REALTOR-TO-REALTOR remarks field in Flexmls so fellow user of the MLS will be aware that such a contingency exists on the property.  The listing will continue to show as active online:

Please also keep in mind that your obligation to update the status of your listing is not solely a MLS issue.  As a REALTOR you have agreed to uphold the standards of the Code of Ethics, which includes Article 12REALTORS shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations…  Standard of Practice 12-10 goes on to explain:  REALTORS’ obligations to present a true picture in their advertising and representations to the public includes Internet content, images…

Additionally, MA license law 254 CMR 3.00 – 9 Advertising, states:  A broker shall not advertise in any way that is false or misleading.

While it is often the argument that one is working in the best interest of their seller(s) by continuing to market a property as active, please remember that your obligation to your seller does not extend to the point of violations of either the code of ethics or of license law.

Staff at the Board Office are always happy to walk you through the proper way to change your listing status to reflect the current situation you are under.  Please contact us if you need assistance.  Happy Selling!