What Does Active Option Contract Mean?

When looking at homes for sale online have you ever seen a listing say "Active Option" or "Kick Out"? There are a number of different MLS statuses and not all of them are very clear. MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service and it is the database that Real Estate Agents use. Here in North Texas we use the MLS North Texas Real Estate Information Services. Different MLS' will have different statuses and even the same status might have different definitions. Since we are members of NTREIS, we will be discussing those status definitions. 

Coming Soon (CS)

Coming soon is the newest status. A CS status is for properties that aren't ready to be marketed publicly. During this status the home is not allowed to be shown, now are agents allowed to post the listing online. The idea behind this is to level the playing field and not allow some consumers to get a leg up on others. In the past, some agents would spend a week or two trying to find a buyer so that they didn't have to share the commission with another agent. NAR's Clear Cooperation policy was put in place in order to keep that from happening. Personally I am not a fan of this policy because I feel that ultimately the seller should be one to dictate when and how the property is marketed instead of a national trade association, but ultimately as REALTORS we must abide by the associations rules. 

Active (A)

Active properties are properties that are actively available for sale. These listings are syndicated to all the big websites and smaller ones. They do not have a buyer just yet. Not much to say about this one. One thing to note is that NTREIS allows agents up to 72 hours before updating the MLS so a home under contract might still show as active if the agent hasn't update it yet. 

Active Option Contract (AOC)

This is where people start to get confused. They see "Active" and think the home is still available. But it is not. This is typically the first status the property goes into when it goes under contract. During AOC the buyer has an option to terminate the contract if they aren't happy or they change their mind. This is usually the time period that inspections are being done. While the home is under contract, most contracts that fall through do so during this time frame. Check out our article on the Option Period.

Active Contingent (AC)

Here is another confusing status. As with AOC, Active Contingent starts with Active which makes people think it is still available. But the term Contingent refers to the fact that the contract has contingencies that allow the buyer to cancel. Typically this will be the financing contingency but it could also be for other contingencies such as the HOA. 

Active Kick Out (AKO)

Here we go with another Active status. Thankfully this is the last one. AKO is used when there is a contingency for the sale of other property by buyer. Basically the buyer is selling their current home and that has to happen before they can buy this home. In that case, they will have a certain number of days to complete the sale of their existing home. During that time frame another buyer could come along and make an offer. The first buyer then has to decide to waive the contingency or let the new buyer kick out their contract and go find another house. If they decide to waive the contingency then they will be required to put down additional earnest money. 

Pending (P)

When a home is pending all the contingencies should be cleared. At this point they are just waiting for closing day. While it isn't impossible for a contract to terminate during this time frame, it isn't all that likely. 

Closed (C)

This is self explanatory. The house is no longer for sale because the buyer bought it. 

Hold (H)

This used to be referred to as Temporarily Off the Market but now is just Hold. It means that for whatever reason they have ceased marketing the property for a short period of time. Could be doing some repairs or clearing up an issue with the title or something else. I have also seen it used during the holidays when they don't want to deal with showings. 

Expired (X)

This means the listing contract has expired. When a REALTOR takes a listing it is for a set amount of time. 6 months or a year is pretty common. When that date passes it automatically changes to Expired.

Cancelled (K)

This is when the listing agreement has been cancelled before the listing expired. Could be the sellers changed their mind or they were unhappy with their agent. They might still want to sell or they might not. If they do, they are free to list with a different agent.

Withdrawn (W)

A Withdrawn listing is almost the same as a cancelled listing. The only difference is the listing agreement has not been cancelled. Essentially the seller is still in agreement with their agent but the home is no longer listed. They might expect to be paid if the seller wants to list with a new agent or they might feel entitled to another shot at listing the home. Either way, the seller is not free to list with a different agent.

In Conclusion

It is our hope that this clears up a lot of confusion around listing statuses. Now you will hopefully understand better when your agents explains why a property is no longer available. If you have any further questions or would like to learn more about buying or selling a home please contact us

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