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Real Estate MLS Listing Status

You may be starting to dive into your searching now, or even if you have been searching on your own for quite some time you might have questions on what the different listing status of properties listed on the Multiple Listing Service or MLS mean. I can help with that!

What we want to look for is ACTIVE. These are properties that are still available. Your HōM Group buyers agent most likely already provided you with some recommended search tools to use when searching for properties. And the reason they are recommended is because the information presented on them is the most current. The best tools use what is called an IDX service which means they are connected directly to the listing sources, or in our case the Northstar MLS, our local MLS. Some marketing websites like Zillow or Trulia sometimes present outdated information.

MLS Listing Status
MLS Listing Status

MLS or Multiple Listing Service Listing Status

Let me share some of the different property status and their definitions that you may run into on the various Multiple Listing Services (MLS) around the country and world.

Office Exclusive

A property referred to as an Office Exclusive is actually not on the MLS at all. This is a property that is under contract with an agent and can be marketed to clients and other agents on a one on one basis or within your immediate brokerage. The price of this property could be different than the actual list price if/when it does go Coming Soon or eventually Active on the MLS. An office exclusive property can still allow showings and entertain offers.

Coming Soon

A Coming Soon listing status indicates the property is being prepared for sale but is not ready for showing. Listings in Coming Soon status may not be shown until the listing is in Active status. Market Time does not accrue while in this status. This is usually selected when sellers either want to do some work on the property before listing active or simply want to create a “buzz” to build anticipation for a big opening weekend.


When listed as Active on the MLS the property is available for showing appointments and the seller is accepting offers. No agreement of sale (with or without contingencies) is currently in effect. Market Time is accumulated in this status. Active means the home is For Sale, awaiting offers.

Highest and Best

The term Highest and Best isn’t a listing status, but is a term you should become familiar with in this sellers market. When a seller calls for “Highest and Best” they are usually asking for all interested parties to submit their best offer by a certain deadline. Usually any buyers who have already submitted an offer are given an opportunity to improve their offer at this time as well. In effort of fairness this deadline is firm, after which the seller will review all offers and make a decision.

Active – Contingent

Active – Contingent is the status that raises the most questions. If you see a property you are interested in with the Active Contingent status you should reach out to your agent to get more information. There are a couple different sub-status in this category; 1) Active – Contingent Upon Inspection & 2) Active – Contingent Upon the Sale of Another Property.

Active – Contingent Upon Inspection – indicates the property has accepted an offer. They still may allow showings for the purpose of receiving back up offers, however as soon as the inspection period is over the they will decide if the property goes back to Active if they buyer backs out, or moves to Pending status. (definition below)
Active – Contingent Upon Sale of Another Home – indicates the sellers have accepted an offer but need to sell another property in order for the transaction to move forward and qualify for financing. This is an opening for another buyer to swoop in and submit an offer in the case they can submit an offer that is not contingent upon the sale of another property. If the seller accepts your new offer they would perform what is called “calling their contingency” which typically gives the original buyers 48 hours to prove they can perform the same terms of their original offer without the sale of another property. I can explain this further if you still have questions.

Temporarily Not Available for Showing or TNAS

When a property is given the listing status of Temporarily Not Available for Showing that usually means the seller has signed the listing agreement, but the property is not available for showing appointments. Market Time is paused in this status. However, if an offer is accepted with a contingency, you must reflect that in the Contingency field. Examples: If a home is under construction for remodeling or painting. Or if a seller is gone for an extended period over the holidays, TNAS should be set for the listing.


Listings of property in which an agreement of sale is in effect or under contract, but the settlement has not yet taken place, and the MLS participant has been instructed by the Seller to no longer set appointments for showings. Market Time is paused in this status.


Listings of property where a successful closing has taken place and title has transferred from seller to buyer or where possession of a property has transferred from a lessor to a lessee. 

Comp Sold

If a property was not listed on NorthstarMLS and you represent the buyer in a transaction, you may (with the buyer’s written permission) record the sale on NorthstarMLS as a Comp Sold. A Comp Sold is a property sold by an MLS participant when the property was not available for sale on NorthstarMLS. A Comp Sold will never have a listing agent as there was no listing contract under NorthstarMLS. A Comp Sold never has Active status on NorthstarMLS, so it does not accumulate MLS Market Time. It cannot be entered as an actual listing and then changed to sold. Doing so would create Market Time and incorrectly list the buyer’s agent as the seller’s representative. Example: A home that was not listed on MLS sold in the same neighborhood as the listing you’re comparing to. The buyer’s representative entered it as a comp sold listing so it could be used as a comparable.


Listings of property where the listing contract between the Participant and the seller has been terminated before the agreed upon expiration date in the contract. Market Time is not accumulated in this status. Example: The listing contract between the seller and the broker has been terminated.


Listings of property where the listing contract has passed its contractually agreed upon expiration date and the Participant has not secured permission from the seller on or before that expiration date to extend the term of the listing for an additional period of time. Market Time is not accumulated in this status. Example: The listing agreement is no longer in effect. Don’t forget! Listings must be updated within 24 hours of any change in status.

I realize that is a lot to remember so feel free to reach out to ask questions at any time! Send me an email! The important thing to remember is you only need to be concerned with looking at properties that are available for sale or listed as Coming Soon, Active or sometimes Active Contingent.

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Nicoli Holm

Nicoli has a unique blend of real estate knowledge having grown up in the Minneapolis metro area, and currently owning real estate in outstate Minnesota, urban condo and multiple investment properties. He is eager to help you with any of the above!

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