Putting The “P” “U” in “A”ctive listings on MLS®

    We are attempting to clarify the difference between “pending”, “under contract”, and “active” listings on MLS® and why?

    For all those who need clarification REALTOR® and clients alike we are going to breakdown the “breakdown” in the recent MLS® status change of properties listed.

    Recently the CREB® (Calgary Real Estate Board) has changed the way a seller is allowed to post changes to their active listings either to “P” “U” or “A” (with choices).

    These choices are pending, under contract, or active and all have specific consequences on how the property is to be marketed. It is great for the listing party but for obvious reasons the general public that hasn’t sold a property in the last 6 months has no idea what is going on.

    Why did this change happen?

    The million dollar question, why all the fuss about letting the professionals and buyers out there know if a property is under contract or not?

    The answer is, sellers felt disadvantaged by the fact that when their homes went “P” pending or conditionally sold they were pulled off the public REALTOR.ca and everyday folks, the buyers, were not able to see them anymore.  This in turn prevented them from being shown as often or receiving backup offers. If the original offering party (the buyer) did NOT waive conditions, the property would go back on the market and be seen poorly because of the XX days on market.

    Okay now that’s been clarified, we are moving on to the current state of things, the “P –U in real estate”, as I like to metaphorically call it.

    What do they mean to the public?

    The “P” is pending. A pending status means the listed property is conditionally sold (under contract) and is pulled off the public MLS® and is shown to REALTOR® as “P”.

    The “U” is under contract. Under contract means the listed property is Conditionally sold, BUT is still publicly seen on the MLS® system.

    Or…”A” for active. Now here is where it gets tricky, listing or selling clients have now been given the option to leave their properties as “A” or active on both public and private MLS® systems.

    There are not one, or two, or three discreet sub options, but four for the active (“A”) listing category.  They vary from let people know if the property is sold when they book a showing right through to say, “the seller has instructed me not to answer that question”.  Which in my humble or not so humble opinion is a farce because once you are aware of this little phrase you know that the property is C/S , so why all the cryptic behavior.

    We are helping people buy and sell houses here not a game of “fill in the blank”.

    What’s the point?

    The point that is being made is that in already confusing process these new statuses are making it all the more so.

    The real estate professionals look like they are being negligent, unprofessional or uneducated in the booking of showings or offering (buying) process on properties, which in actuality it has been turned into a guessing game.

    For example, a buyer can happily locate three properties listed as “active” (A) on the market and when the buyers real estate professional goes to book them all three listing REALTOR® may hit them with the magic doomsday phrase “the seller has instructed me not to answer that question.”

    What is a buyer to do in a crazy market where three letters can P.U. your day?

    • Be patient  -Your buying REALTOR® is working hard for you, but can’t help if the properties have been conditionally sold for 2 weeks or 1 day.
    •  Don’t get attached – A property you see on the market may not be available for purchase. Wait until your REALTOR® lets you know that it is still  available before you go and “sell the furniture”.
    • Get ready to write back-up offers – Although less than 10% (I am roughly estimating) of conditionally sold properties come back on the market it can’t hurt if you are first in line. There are pros and cons to everything though so speak to your REALTOR® if you need clarification to writing a backup offer and how it works.


    I would like to personally thank the decision makers behind the status changes for overlooking the fallout of this decision and to encourage them to switch over to the Egyptian Hieroglyphics in future, so at least it will be clear to a handful of people on earth.

    Trackback from your site.

    Leave a Reply