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Howard Harris Real Estate Expert

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Prospective Buyers Did You Know Many Arizona “Active Listings” Already Have Offers

Feb 21

filed under: 2nd Home Buyers, Buying A Home, Real Estate

Listings showing activeHoward and I only do exclusive buyer representation, because of that we deal with a lot of prospective buyers. In the “new normal” market we find ourselves in I am finding buyers are getting confused or don’t understand things attached to a listing description like AWC-I or AWC-C. In the past, it was pretty clear that a listing that was titled “Active” in the MLS in simple terms meant this property is for sale. There was no consideration that there was any kind of signed offer in on the property, because if that was the case the listing would be identified in the MLS as “Pending” or UCB (under contract, accepting backup offers).  UCB by the way no longer exists. Last, if a listing was called out as being “Closed”, it meant “forget about it”, you’re too late, the seller was happy they sold their house, the buyer was happy they bought the house and I was happy because I earned a commission.

I do have a lot of buyers that ask me what AWC-I and AWC-C means.  so for those of you who don’t know here are their definitions.

Listings showing AWC-I and AWC-CAWC-IAWC-I – there is a signed contract on the property, however, this contingency provides the seller the ability to continue to market the property for back-up offers, possibly due to doubts of the buyer’s ability to obtain financing or more than likely its a distressed property, usually a short sale. Because of the length of time it takes to get a short sale done, many buyers lose patience with the process and walk away from the deal. With a backup offer, the party that put in the backup offer can now move into 1st postion, that is if they are still around.  If the backup offer is still in place then the seller did not lose all that time taking their property off the market for the first buyer who ended up walking.

AWC-C – there is a signed contract on the property, however, this contingency provides for the seller to continue to market their property as well. In this scenario the seller has accepted an offer that is contingent on the sale of the buyer’s property. Backup offers can be taken by the seller.

OK this is something I can explain to my buyers and it makes sense and together we move on with our property search.  What does not make sense is when my buyer gets on one of the public sites and sends me thirteen listings that they see as active. Now of course these sites usually have a lag time for a status changes, I get that. So when I put the listings into my ARMLS system, a few come up AWC-I, no surprises there. In this case there were four. The remaining nine listings came up “Active”.

Prior to this whole distressed property market mess that would have meant these nine properties were indeed “active” and have no current offers in on the properties .  Sorry to say that is no longer the case. Now listing agents via  multiple counter offer forms and  addendums from sellers or lenders are permitted to keep a property in “active status” even though an offer or offers exist on the property.

As a buyers agent I now need to hunt down the listing agents to confirm that there are no current offers in on any of these so called “active” listings. Trust me, this is no easy task as these listings are usually distressed properties listed with agents that often give specific instructions of how they want to be contacted and then there are the ones that don’t want to be contacted at all. Just email  your offer and then they may or may not let you know if there are other offers in on the property.

I would be lying if I said this was not a pain in my butt having to spend this time tracking down these agents to check the actual status of their listings. I don’t mind doing this for my client, they are great people and I feel they should know up front if there are any offers in on a property before they see it. This allows them to  make an informed decision if they still want to see the property.  What really bothers me is that I already know that I am going to have to tell my buyers that most of the listings have offers in on them. The phone calls, emails or texts revealed that of the remaining nine listings, seven have offers in on them. Of the thirteen original inquiries we are now down to what I consider to be two “really active” listings.

It would take way too much time for me to explain how this is permitted to take place or to even attempt to justify the existence of what I consider to be deceiving tactics to keep a property in “active status”.  Instead, I appeal to all prospective buyers out there not to believe  everything you are seeing on these public real estate sites. Get yourself a good buyers agent that will provide you with listings that are really for sale without any current offers. Contact TJ Harris for a pleasant buying experience and not a disappointing one.

Written by Howard Harris