Call it what you will—jargon, shorthand, lingo—but every industry has its own language, a collection of terms that are essential to understand if you hope to play ball. And the real estate business is no different. In fact, there are probably more terms in the housing biz than just about anything short of neurosurgery. That’s why when you read a real estate listing, you may end up scratching your head over a whole bunch of puzzling terms. Allow us to clear things up, by explaining what these things really mean in plain old English.
This means that a property is currently on the market and available for sale. It may have received offers, but none have yet been accepted, which means that the opportunity is wide open for you to make a proposal.
The property is sold and no longer available.
Active with contract (AWC)
This means that even though there’s an accepted offer on the home, the seller is looking for backup offers in case the primary buyer falls through. While any seller can entertain backup offers as a precautionary measure as long as this is made clear in the contract, this term most often crops up with short sales, since they can often fall through, and it can be helpful if a second buyer is waiting in the wings.
Under contract (UC)
The seller has an agreed-upon contract with the potential buyer. That doesn’t mean that it’s a done deal by any means, however (more on that next).
A contingent status means that the seller has accepted an offer and the home is under contract.
But the sale is subject to, or conditioned upon, certain criteria being met by the buyer and/or seller before the deal can close. Examples of contingencies are home inspections, attorney review, the buyer’s financing, appraisal, and title search, among other reasons.
These contingencies fall away as tasks are completed, says Melanie Atkinson, a Realtor® with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate in Tampa, FL. Sometimes a property will continue to be shown when it is contingent, and the seller may entertain a backup offer. So if the home in question is your dream home, it may be worth offering up a deal that the seller can’t refuse.
Deal pending (DP)
This means the seller has an accepted offer and an executed contract, and all the contingencies have been met, so the home is pending sale. This is the escrow period, when both buyer and seller are working toward a closing. The status will show as pending until the closing. Even though a sale is highly likely, some pending properties may still accept backups. If your offer is accepted as a backup, you’re in line to go under contract if the first sale falls through.
Pending, showing for backup
This means the property’s owners are actively taking backup offers in case the first one falls through.
Pending, subject to lender approval
The seller has an accepted offer but is waiting to see if the buyer’s bank will agree to it, says Realtor Dawn Rivera with Realty World-Viking Realty in Fremont, CA. If not, it could end up back on the market, so go ahead and inquire if you’re interested.
Back on market (BOM)
A property that has come back on the market after a pending sale. This means that the home fell out of escrow, perhaps due to contract issues, says Tania Matthews, an agent with Keller Williams Classic III Realty in Central Florida.
The property listing with the agent has expired and is no longer active, usually because it didn’t sell, says Matthews. That could mean the seller is still open to accepting an offer, so it’s worth touching base if your curiosity is piqued.
Temporarily off the market (TOM)
The owner has removed the property from the listings for an undetermined period, usually because work is being done on the house or because the home cannot be shown. It should return to active soon enough, so it’s certainly worth piping up if you’re smitten.
A property was withdrawn from the realty market. This might be for a variety of reasons: The sellers may have decided they want to stay put, or they may just not have received any offers they liked. So if you adore what you see in the listing, it certainly can’t hurt to inquire.