You are buying a home in Los Angeles and trying to stay on top of a fast-moving market. You see a home for sale and call your Los Angeles Realtor®. By the time they check into it for you it is already shows a status of ‘B” or maybe even “P”.
What does this mean? Assuming the agent is doing their job correctly, these are the various statuses:
“A” for “Active”. This is the status you should be concentrating on.
If you see a status of “U” or “Under Contract” the property has gone into escrow. Anything can happen until all contingencies are removed. These are generally the inspection, loan and appraisal contingencies, and also the buyer’s approval of all seller disclosures.
If you are really interested in the property and want to be considered for backup your agent will call and see if indeed the listing agent is looking for a backup offer. If there already is another accepted backup offer then you can ask to go into second position. That would mean two escrows would have to fall through or the first backup buyer might drop out putting you into first position.
The status “P” means “Pending”. Basically all contingencies have been removed and all that remains is the funding of the loan and the handing over of Title. Rarely is an escrow going to fall out in this position, but it does happen. Maybe there was a problem with the loan or something happened at the last minute with the buyer. You may see a property go into Pending status immediately. This would generally mean the buyer is all cash and has not contingencies whatsoever.
There are other statuses:
“H” for “Hold”. There are many reasons for putting a property on hold. Among them the seller may decide that they want to make repairs, or the property is not available for showing at this time. In a short sale situation you will often see this status when there are ongoing negotiations with the lender although the status should be “B”, since the purchase contract was signed by the seller.
“C” for “Canceled”. The listing was canceled for one reason or another. You may see it come back on the market with a different Realtor® or it may simply be a case of the seller changing his or her mind.
“X” for “Expired”. A standard lease listing is six months at the maximum, but they may be shorter. This just means that the home did not sell and the listing period has ended.
“W” for “Withdrawn”. The contract has not expired nor has it been canceled, but it has been taken off the market. Generally a cancellation will be issued or it will be left to expire.
And of course there is “S” for “Sold”. Hopefully you have not waited too long to chase this one.
Except for the Sold properties it will be worth your Realtor® keeping watch on a property you are interested in no matter what the status, but especially those marked “B”. All contingencies are time-sensitive and if not met then that property may come back on the market. Also the “H” status properties should be watched carefully. You want to be first in line to be the next successful buyer of the property you missed out on before.
What Can I Afford?
What are the Closing Costs?
How to Read an MLS Listing
What are the Different Listing Statuses?
Understanding the Purchase Agreement
What is Title Insurance?
How to Take Title
Should I Buy a House or a Condo?
What is Escrow?
Homes for Sale in Los Angeles
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