Real estate listing status: What do listing terms mean?

Updated May 7, 2024  |   Published May 1, 2023

House hunting can be confusing if you aren’t familiar with common real estate listing status terms. What does it mean when a property is listed as contingent? What about if it’s under contract? Does that mean the seller is still accepting offers? Does that mean the house is out of your reach?

MLS status and code

Home listings have a wide range of terms to define what step in the selling process they’re currently in. Realtors or real estate brokers will enter the listing status into a database called the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) which they use to connect homebuyers with properties for sale. You may see it referred to as a MLS status or MLS code.  A house won’t simply be “for sale” or “not for sale.” We’ll go over some of the most common listing statuses you will see while browsing homes, and whether or not you should let that status deter you from making an offer.


1. Active (A or ACT)

An active real estate listing status means the house is for sale and open for showings and offers. No offer has been accepted yet on a home listed as active. Feel free to offer however much you believe the house is worth.


2. Active with contract (AWC)

Active with contract means that an offer has been accepted but the seller is looking for backup offers in case the first one falls through. This status is most often seen on short sales which have the highest probability of falling through.


3. Pending 

A pending listing can mean the seller has just accepted an offer. Most of the time, the seller will still accept backup offers if a home is pending. A home can be “Pending, subject to lender approval” – which means that an offer was accepted, but the seller is waiting to make sure the buyer’s lender will agree to write a mortgage for that price.


4. Contingent (CTG)

A contingent home means that the seller has accepted an offer, but the buyer has put a contingency in place to ensure they can still back out of the deal if something comes up. For example: there can be an inspection contingency – meaning that if the buyer’s inspection reveals major repairs, they can either negotiate that the seller makes those repairs prior to the sale, negotiate a lower sale price, or they can back out of the deal and keep their deposit.

Contingent homes are in the very early stages of being sold and you may still be able to make an offer or keep an eye on the listing to see if that buyer backs out. Other contingencies that can be put into place are for title or appraisal.


5. Under contract/ Under agreement (UAG)

If a property is listed as under contract, it means that the seller has agreed upon a contract with the buyer but there are still conditions to be met by either party before they can close.

If the home inspection uncovered that a repair is needed and the seller agreed to make that repair before the sale closes, the house would be listed “under contract” while the seller completes the repair.


6. Deal pending (DP)

A deal pending status means the seller has accepted an offer and all contingencies and contract conditions have been met. The sale is just waiting to close. You could still inquire or try to offer on the house, but you might have to sweeten the deal in order for yours to be accepted at this point.


7. Back on market (BOM)

A back on market property means the listing is for sale again after being in the “pending” status. The home fell out of escrow, likely due to issues with the contract.


8. Temporarily off market (TOM)

Temporarily off market means that the seller has taken the listing down for an indefinite amount of time, typically because the house is being worked on or the house can’t be shown for whatever reason. A TOM house will return to the market at some point, so if you think it’s your dream home, don’t hesitate to inquire about it.


9. Closed (CL)

Properties listed with a closed status have been sold and are not available for showings or offers.


10. Expired (EXP)

Expired homes are no longer active due to the seller’s contract with their listing agent ending. This will happen if the home sits on the market for too long without selling. It does not mean that they won’t still accept offers or inquiries about the house.


The bottom line is, you can always put an offer on a house that you like. Your likelihood of the offer being accepted will depend on its listing status, and the closer the house is to being sold, the more you might have to offer up.