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Home Sale Statuses & What They Mean

When a home is listed "for sale", it's just that, for sale, right? In reality, there are many terms that can be associated with a home for sale that can mean very different things about the status of the sale. While there can be many different terms going on "behind the scenes" that Real Estate Agents have access to, usually the actual statuses shown to the public are simply Active, Pending/Under Contract or Sold. This is why you as a buyer will really benefit from the expertise and MLS access of an Agent to help dig into the details of a home listed for sale.

Although the terms you will typically see associated with a home for sale are relatively straight forward, it's very likely that at some point your Real Estate Agent may mention one of the following terms.

home listing for sale

Listing Terms, Defined

Coming Soon

The term "coming soon" is often a tag used behind the scenes for Real Estate Agents to keep a pulse on any homes that they should put on their radar for potential buyers. However, that's not to say that you won't see this term associated with a home for sale, especially if your Real Estate Agent shares the home with you via email or social media.


Active is one of the most common terms used when a home is for sale, simply meaning that a home is actively listed for sale and ready for offers. There is always the chance that the sellers may have received an offer but nothing has been accepted yet, so feel free to make your own offer!

Active with Contract

In this situation the sellers have accepted an offer but for any number of reasons are still accepting back up offers in case the current offer falls through.

Under Contract

This essentially means that a seller has accepted an offer and the deal is moving forward but the sale has not been finalized yet.


The seller has accepted an offer and all contingencies have been met at this point. The sale is in escrow and the sale is moving towards closing. Although a finalized sale at this point is very likely, some sellers will still accept additional back up offers at this time just in case.

Pending, showing for backup

Similar to pending, but it's being made known that the seller is still allowing showings and back up offers.


A seller has accepted an offer and the home is technically under contract but the finalized sale is contingent based on any number of conditions being fulfilled, such as inspections or appraisals.

Pending, Inspection

This means that a seller has accepted an offer but it's contingent on the home passing an inspection plus all parties agreeing on any necessary negotiations. This timeframe is typically about 10 days at which time the status should change to pending. If not the status will return to active.

Pending, contingent with a right of first refusal

Sellers have accepted an offer on their home, however, the offer is dependent on the buyers selling their home first. So even though the home has an accepted offer, the home is still technically on the market and offers can be made.

home listing terminology

Back on market

This indicates that the pending sale of the home has fallen through and the home is actively back on the market. The sale could have fallen through due to the buyers, but there is always a chance that there was an issue from the seller's side (often the home itself) so make sure your Real Estate Agent does their homework on the sale that fell through before you proceed with an offer.


Closed means that the sale is final — the property is officially sold and off-market. This is essentially the only status that would completely prevent you from pursuing and/or making an offer on a home.


When a listing has expired this means that the seller's contract with their listing Agent has ended, typically after the home hasn't sold for an extended period of time. In most cases, the seller is still interested in selling.


Meaning, Temporarily Not Available for Showing the home is still actively listed for sale but showings will not be available for an undetermined period of time. This can be due to any number of reasons from sickness in the seller's family to last minute-renovations.

Temporarily off the market

The seller has taken the home off the market for the time being, without any real indication of when it will be put back on the market. However, it's very likely that it will return to the market. This is usually done when the house can't be shown for an extended period, such as when work must be done to the house.


This is when a home is taken off the market, without being sold first, with no intent of it returning to the market in the foreseeable future. The sellers may have become frustrated with the offers they were receiving, or simply changed their mind about moving altogether.

Although it would be awfully nice if a home on the market was simply listed "for sale" or "sold" it's usually not quite that straightforward. As you can see it's important to pay attention to the status so that you know when it's worth perusing a home or making an offer. If a home listing status is ever unclear don't be afraid to reach out to your Real Estate Agent for clarity. Happy househunting!

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