Maximize your Massachusetts Home Search- Active Statuses

Over the years I have found much confusion about the availability of homes for sale when doing a Massachusetts Home Search.  When you are thinking of buying a home many buyers will just start cruising the internet looking for a website where they can do a Massachusetts Home Search.  There are certainly plenty to choose from.

Where the confusion lies for many buyers is the actual status of a home that is for sale.  The status is whether it is for sale, sold, withdrwan from the market.etc…  Today we are just going to talk about the Active Status in the Massachusetts Home Search.  These are dictated by the Massachusetts Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  Unfortunately there is more then one “active status” when performing home search.

What do you mean Active Status in Massachusetts Home Search?

Statuses are broken down into two categories in the Massachusetts MLS.  Active, meaning the home is available for sale and off market, meaning the home is not for sale.  Again today we are only going to talk about active statuses in the Massachusetts Home Search.  So we say “active” meaning they are technically for sale.  And I say technically because not all active listing are truly available for buyers.

There is nothing worse to get your hopes up about a house and then find out it really isn’t available for sale.  I will go through the active statuses you will run into and explain how it effects your home search.

Variation of an Active Status in a Home Search

The first four are relatively uncomplicated and should readily be available to accept offers and cooperate with showings.  The sellers will be anxious to get an offer on their home.

New– The new status means the home is new to the market and has been newly listed in the past four days.  After four days it will just go to an active status if an offer is not accepted in that time period.  These are great homes for you to look at and most likely where your next house will come from.

Active- These are homes that are no longer considered new to the market but are actively being marketed and accepting offers.  These are good homes to target.

BOM or Back on Market- These are homes that were previously taken of the market but put back on the market.  Homes will stay in the BOM status for four days and then just convert to active.  There are a couple of reasons it can come back on the market.  The most common is there was an accepted offer and the deal fell apart do to a myriad of reasons.  Those reason can include a home inspection or financing.  Also it could be a home that came off the market temporarily due to personal reasons and then put back on.  If you notice this status, make sure your agent ask why it came back on.  There may be home inspection issues that should be disclosed.

Price Change- A home will be marked as price change for four days then convert to active.  The status is pretty self explanatory and they are homes that have had a price change in the past four days.

The last two can get complicated.  They are both statuses that are considered “active” but there are accepted offers on the property.  Seller motivation tends to be low and quite frankly in many circumstances it is a waste of time for buyers to spend any time on these homes especially if there is plenty of active inventory out there.

Contingent- This is a home that has an accepted offer on it pending on something occurring at some date in the future.  What can those contingencies be?  Home inspection, mortgage commitment or lien holder approval are the ones you will typically see.  When you see this status the chances of getting this home are relatively low.  Most of these will close with that offer that has tied it up with a contingency.  You will most likely find that homes marked as contingent will have low motivation from the sellers to show the home.  You will also not be able to “bump” the offer on the table.  You will only be able to negotiate a back up offer in case the first offer does not clear it’s contingency.  I usually tell buyers just starting there search not to waste time on these homes it will generally leas to excitement but go no where.

Kick-out Clause-  The kick-out status is a bit complicated.  It is a contingent status where there is a condition in the contract where if the seller receives another offer the buyer with the current offer has a certain period of time (typically 24-48 hours) to remove the contingency or the seller is free to accept the new offer.  This status is typically used for a house to sell contingency.  A seller will accept an offer with the stipulation that the buyer has until a certain time period to put a current house under agreement.  As a home buyer I would certainly encourage looking at these.

The last status is actually an off market status but a lot of national aggregate sites will show these like Zillow and Trulia.

Pending or Under Agreement-  A status where an offer has been accepted and is heading to closing.  Unfortunately this is a home that will not be available to purchase.

Where do you find the Status when searching for a home?

Active Status in a home searchFinding the status can be a tough one.  Where the data shows up can be different for each and every site.  I encourage my buyers not to bounce around from website to website.  Find one or two websites where you like the home search and learn how to use it.  Some of them can be very powerful tools to help you find your next home if you take the time to properly use them.  To the right is where it shows up in the home search on this blog but again it varies from site to site.  On my Massachusetts Home Search you have the ability to toggle some of these statuses on or off which will greatly maximize your home search.

If there is one tip I can leave you that will help save you a ton of aggravation:

**** TIP 1  Most online home searches feed from the same sources.  There generally are no homes for sale that are not listed on ALL of the websites.

Yep…. there are no secret homes for sale that are listed on only one site.  Learn to effectively learn to use the tool you have rather then crossing your fingers and hoping to find that one home that no one else knows about!   I can’t tell you how many times a get a call from a client because they found a house on Trulia that they cant find on my home search.  There are two reasons why this can happen.  First is Trulia will show data on houses that aren’t for sale.

Second is the criteria.  The client will insist that they will not look at any home below one acre.  So I have their criteria set for one acre and over.  Then I go looking and find out the house they found is a quarter acre.  This leads me to home search tip #2:

****TIP 2 Do not be so restrictive on your search criteria that you might be missing homes slightly to the left or right of what you are looking for.  If you do you may miss great opportunities.

Happy House Hunting!!


This article has been provided by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Group One Real Estate.  Kevin has the experience to maximize your next home purchase.  If you have any questions or what a trusted advisor in your upcoming purchase call Kevin at 978-360-0422.

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