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    Answers to your Listing Update Dilemmas

    Accuracy in status updates helps sellers, buyers and the TREND community at large, who are relying on the information available in MLS listings. Especially in a busy market, it helps buyers and their agents better understand what listings are currently available in their must-have neighborhood. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine a proper status, because of your seller’s instructions or unique circumstances surrounding a listing. Read on to learn more about proper status updates in the MLS.

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    There may be several reasons for not promptly updating a listing in the MLS, including: confusion about the rules, attempting to follow the wishes of the seller or just not making it a high priority.

    While this lapse of an update could just be a result of your busy schedule, imagine how frustrating it is for other members and their clients to find out the property they were interested in is actually under agreement but is still active in TREND. Imagine having to explain that to a client and having to deal with their disappointment. Not only could you lose their trust but you may also lose them as a client.

    So, in this Q&A, I will clarify a few status update issues that you may encounter from time to time.

    Question #1: “My seller just accepted an offer on a short sale and the Lender’s approval could take several months. Shouldn’t I wait until the lender has approved the sale before updating the listing?

    Answer: Once the seller accepts the purchase offer, a contract is formed and the offer is accepted with at least one unresolved contingency: the lender’s approval of the short sale, the listing must be updated in TREND within 72 hours.

    There seems to be a general misconception that the purchase offer does not become fully executed until the lender (or lien holder) has approved the short sale. But the lender is actually a third party to the transaction. Once the seller accepts the offer, the listing status must be updated.

    Often with a short sale, the seller wants to consider other offers in case the transaction falls through. In this scenario, the short sale would be assigned an ACT-O indicator.

    Note: listings in TREND which are designated as ACT-O are automatically converted to Pending status after 21 days. However, listings that are identified as short sales are automatically converted to Pending status after 60 days.

    Question #2: "I always use the Pending status if I only have inspections and mortgage contingencies to get through. Is this correct?"

    Answer: Ordinarily that may be the case, but not always. Home inspections, mortgage and appraisal contingencies are usually just formalities in the process, and usually lead to a sale. So it would make sense that the listing be set as a Pending status.

    However, the appropriate status is based on whether or not the seller wants to continue showing the property and consider additional offers. That is where “not always” comes into play.

    When updating your listing, the information in the agreement of sale determines the status of your listing. The MLS will prompt you to answer questions about the terms of the agreement of sale as to whether or not:
    • The buyer or the seller has the right to terminate the contract AND
    • The seller has instructed you to continue showings AND
    • The seller will accept a back-up offer

    Your answers to these questions will determine the appropriate status and if applicable, set the contingency indicator to either ACT-A, ACT-E, ACT-F, or ACT-O.

    If the seller does not wish to continue showing the property, the MLS will assign the Pending status to your listing.

    If the seller does specifically wish to continue showing the property, the MLS will assign your listing the appropriate contingency indicator. Of course, before you answer these questions in the MLS, you need to explain to your seller the legal risks associated with considering additional offers and continuing to market the property.

    Question #3: "I know that I should update the status of my listing since my seller has accepted an agreement but he/she has requested that I not update the listing until all contingencies have been met. What should I do?"

    Answer: You should update the listing within 72 hours of the acceptance of an offer.

    I understand that you want to represent the interests and fiduciary obligations of your clients. However, you need to do so within the guidelines of the industry. In this case there are the National Association of Realtor (NAR) guidelines and MLS guidelines by which you are also bound. It is your duty to explain to your client the reasons for updating the listing, and the risks of not updating it. In all cases, the listing broker is obligated to comply with TREND’s rules, as it is part of his/her membership agreement. If your seller requests that you take an action that is in conflict with TREND policy, the listing is no longer eligible for MLS entry and must be withdrawn.

    Do you have questions for Rose-Marie? Add them to the comments section below and they could be featured in an upcoming column.

    While these questions do not cover all of TREND’s available status options, they are among the most misunderstood and frequently reported status update issues. For the complete list of statuses and their definitions, click here.

    TREND continuously monitors listings, and contacts listing brokers and agents to address status update issues with them directly. We do issue fines for blatant and repeat violations. To report a status inaccuracy, please use the accuracy link or contact the Support Center at 800-330-9900.

    Rose-Marie Lucas • Policy Resource Specialist

    Rose-Marie joined TREND in May 2001 as coordinator for the Industry Relations Department. She is currently the Policy Resource Specialist, and is responsible for managing escalated compliance concerns and providing editorial contributions. Learn more about our editorial contributors...

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    1 - 4 of 4 Comments
    Kathryn B. Supko
    7/13/2018 2:53 PM

    I have a listing that has a contract but the buyer also is selling a home that she has a contract on- my seller asked for the house to stay active since the buyer is contingent on needing the processes from the sale of her home. What should the status be , Active- O or Active - E? Thank you

    Sue Jones
    1/19/2018 9:19 AM

    Please clarify the following :
    Once the contract is fully executed the listing status is to be changed
    - within 3 business days
    - are you stating it's 72 hours, regardless of weekends and or holidays.
    Thank you.

    1/18/2018 6:52 AM

    Hi Cynthia:

    Based on TREND’s Guidelines, listings subject to an agreement of sale, signed by the seller, must be updated in the MLS within 72 hours of the acceptance. The listing cannot remain in an ACTIVE status but must be updated to either ACTIVE with a CONTINGENCY or PENDING.

    • PENDING - If showings are no longer being permitted
    • ACTIVE with a Contingency (ACT A, ACT- E, ACT-F or ACT-O) if it is still possible to set appointments for showings,

    The appropriate status is based on whether or not the seller wants to continue showing the property and consider additional offers.

    Thanks for the question.

    Rose-Marie Lucas

    Cynthia Bishop
    1/15/2018 1:46 PM

    A colleague and I were actually debating if it was okay to keep the listing as active if your seller has accepted an offer but it has a home sale contingency with the option for seller to keep marketing. I said I would keep it active but make a call to the showing agent to keep them informed that there is an accepted offer with a home sale contingency and the seller is looking for an offer that will have no home sale contingency. If the contracted buyer did get his home under contract, then I would be changing it to pending. If you don't do it this way, the buyers agents will not show your home thinking it is under contract and just waiting for inspections to be done. What is the correct way to do this?

    1 - 4 of 4 Comments
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