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Jan 10, 2024 PropStream

What Is MLS Status in Real Estate?

As a real estate professional, understanding what various MLS statuses mean is essential for making informed decisions and staying on top of market trends.

In this article, we’ll unpack what MLS status is, its impact on the real estate market, and how you can leverage it to make strategic property decisions.

Key Takeaways:

🔑 Understanding the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and its various statuses is crucial for real estate professionals to make informed decisions and stay updated on market trends.

🔑 Common MLS statuses include Active, Contingent, Pending, Closed, Expired, Canceled, and Withdrawn. Each status represents a different stage in the transaction.

🔑 MLS statuses play a pivotal role in property marketing and negotiation while offering insight into potential opportunities.


MLS vs. MLS Listing vs. MLS Status: Defined

A multiple listing service (MLS) is a system that allows real estate agents to list and find details about properties on the market. The MLS is only accessible to licensed brokers and real estate agents, who pay a fee to use the system.

An MLS listing lays out a property’s information in a standardized way. It includes details like square footage, number of rooms and bathrooms, location, construction type, and more.

It also shows the property’s MLS status and whether or not it’s for sale (e.g., where the property is in the closing process).

MLS Status Categories and What They Mean

Below are some of the most common MLS statuses and what they mean.

Active (A) The home is available for sale, and the seller is receiving offers.
Contingent (ACT) The seller has accepted an offer, but the contract contains contingencies. The seller may be open to receiving backup offers at this point.
Pending (P) The seller has accepted an offer. Usually, this means they aren’t accepting any other bids.
Closed (S) The sale has gone through, and the home belongs to its new owner.
Expired (E) The home didn’t sell before the listing contract expired. The property is no longer on the market.
Canceled (C) The property isn’t on the market anymore because the seller and the listing agent canceled the listing contract.
Withdrawn (W) The seller has taken the property off the market and isn’t accepting offers.


Related: Contingent vs. Pending in Real Estate: What’s the Difference?

Understanding these statuses can help agents, investors, and others determine where a property may be in the closing process. This allows them to potentially find new leads others have decided not to pursue because they don’t fully understand each MLS status.

For example, if a home is pending, a potential buyer or agent with MLS status knowledge understands the sale hasn’t gone through yet. While less savvy watchers may deem that property a lost cause, a more knowledgeable person in the real estate world might monitor the property to see if the contract falls through and the listing becomes active again.

How MLS Statuses Affect Property Marketing and Negotiation

MLS statuses can also greatly impact contract negotiations, sale prices, and how much exposure properties get.

For instance, active listings attract more buyers and bids, while contingent listings might bring more backup offers. Both statuses lend themselves to higher sale prices, depending on market conditions.

On the other hand, an expired listing can be a worthwhile MLS status for investors looking to negotiate a deal since the property was less attractive to buyers the first time it was listed (e.g., it may have been overpriced, the average buyer wasn’t up for performing the extensive renovations required, etc.). Since they faced difficulty selling, the seller may put the property back on the market later —most likely at a lower price.

For agents, expired listings can be excellent listing lead potential, as the previous agent may have let the seller down. This allows a new agent to step in and try new selling methods since the owner has already shown motivation to sell.

How MLS Statuses Reveal Market Trends

what is mls status in real estate

In addition to helping with lead generation, analyzing MLS statuses can shed light on how healthy a market is overall. For example, if there are fewer active listings than usual, inventory (homes available for sale) could be tight, leading to fewer sales. It could also indicate a seller’s market.

Researchers also pay attention to how many pending and closed listings a market has. When these numbers are high, it typically signals a fast-paced market with plenty of sales, while lower numbers generally point to a slower market.

For example, when pending listings dropped by 1.5% in October, experts cited limited housing inventory, high prices, and high mortgage rates as the culprits.

Lastly, a higher-than-normal number of expired listings could indicate pricing problems or few buyers due to economic conditions.

Having a thorough understanding of the current market conditions allows a real estate professional to adjust their business model accordingly to ensure they can consistently land new business, even if the market is less than ideal.

Whether You Have MLS Access or Not, PropStream Can Help You Find Leads With Specific MLS Statuses

In short, MLS statuses are an efficient way to determine where a property is at in the closing process. They can also help researchers uncover market trends and guide buyers, sellers, and real estate agents in marketing or negotiation strategies.

Using a tool like PropStream combined with the MLS is a strategic way to find quality real estate leads.

Even if you don’t have MLS access because you’re a wholesaler, flipper, landlord, etc., you can use PropStream’s advanced filtering capabilities to search by specific MLS statuses to find new leads.

Try PropStream free with our 7-day trial and enjoy 50 complimentary leads!


FAQs Regarding MLS Status

What does status on MLS mean?

The "status" on MLS listings indicates where the property is in the transaction process. Learn more about each status above.

What is MLS hold status?

Hold status indicates that a property has a valid listing contract in place. However, the property is not being shown via open houses.

Why would a home not be in MLS?

Homes that are not listed on the MLS are considered "off-market." They may be off-market because the owner is not currently trying to sell the property or because a property is for sale by owner (FSBO). 

What does MLS status "fail" mean?

If a listing has "failed," this means the homeowner was unable to sell a property. There are various reasons a property listing fails, including listing expiration, poor marketing, inaccurate pricing, etc.


Published by PropStream January 10, 2024