Is “Active with Contract” really for sale?
I had a buyer searching homes on the Realtor.com and they sent me a list of homes to view. I thought “Great!, saves me time”. When I pulled up the homes, all were “Active with Contract” (AWC) Status.
What the buyer did not realize about these homes, is they are ALL under contract. Yes, it is confusing. Properties listed as “Active with Contract” in Orlando means the property already has a fully executed contract. So technically, these properties cannot be purchased. Why in the world then, would these properties be pasted all over the internet showing they are FOR SALE?
Can you really buy Active with Contract?
Well years ago, when the Orlando Market was flooded with Bank Foreclosures and Short sales there was a need to show a property with a contract because many of these properties did not meet the “normal” contractual commitments seen in a traditional sale. For example, on a foreclosure, it could take a bank a week to fully sign the buyers contract, and the property was still showing active.
So there was a need for temporary status of “Active with Contract” to show that there already is a contract being worked on. The property can stay on the market until all the paperwork is signed in case the buyer changes their mind while waiting on the bank to sign. It was also common for buyers to back out of short sale contracts way before the bank will respond with answer. So Active with Contract would come in handy for those uncommitted buyers. Plus, only few short sales actually close because it’s a complicated transaction and many nuances to work through.
What is Active with Contract?
Active with Contract means the property has a contract but still Active on the market. With written authorization, the seller would consider back up offers if one of the following contingencies are below. Below is the definition and procedures a listing agent must follow when executing AWC.
PER MLS; Section 14: Active with Contract. Listings may be placed in “Active with Contract” status if one or more of the contingencies below are met.
Definition: The status of Active with Contract indicates that there is a contract with contingencies and the owner will consider back-up offers. The listing broker must obtain written authorization from the owner to place a listing in the Active with Contract status. Once all contingencies have been met, the listing status must be changed to “Pending” within two calendar days excluding weekends and Federally recognized holidays.
Listings may be placed in “Active with Contract” status if one or more of the contingencies below are met: Contingencies mean that there are conditions that need to be met before there is a closing on the property. Here are some contingencies:
- Kick-out Clause
- Back-ups Requested
- 1st Right of Refusal
- Pending 3rd Party Approval
- Other Contract Contingencies
- REO Waiting for Signatures
The words “Under contract taking backups” must be added as the first words in the Public Remarks. An Active with Contract listing will be treated as an “Active” listing for export purposes only (example: Realtor.com and IDX websites) except if REO Waiting Signatures is selected as a contingency. The penalty for non-compliance is outlined in the General Fine Schedule (See Article 11/Section 4B). (Updated 3/2013)
Challenge for Buyers
- Difficulty in seeing the property. Because there is an existing bonafide contract, listings agents and sellers are no longer motivated to show the property. Case in point: I tried to show an AWC. The listing agent responds saying “its under contract”. I explained that her listing shows AWC and taking back up offers. She said that she would call back…and never called back despite my numerous trys. Both seller and listing agents do not want to be inconvenienced showing a home that already is under contract.
- Active with Contract used for All listings. Active with Contract are being used for traditional listings that do not have any short sale or bank foreclosures nuisances. When contingencies on the contract are all met, the status is required to be switched to Pending Status. Most of the time, the status is not updated. I just saw one the other day with AWC three days before closing. I am quite sure all the contingencies are completed by that time.
- Sorting out properties that are really for sale. With all the AWC properties clogging up the internet, it’s difficult for a buyer to know if it’s really for sale to buy now. The best suggestion is to have your buyers agent send you properties directly from the MLS where you get properties where sellers are motivated to take an offer. Just ask us to customize a list for you.
- Lower closure rate. Short sales have a very low close rate of less than 20%. Putting a backup offer on any property and hoping to close on it, is like trying to win the lottery. It is unlikely the first contract will not close. If the first contract fails, the property will simply come back on the market. It will be back on the market as Active which means that it is available for purchase. The buyers best strategy is to eliminate AWC and watch the market closely for new properties hitting the market and be first person to submit an offer. Your buyer’s agent can send you daily properties directly to your inbox.
Other Property Status you should know.
Active (ACT): Property is on the market and available for sale.
Pending (PNC). This means the property is under contract and no back up offers being taken.
Temporarily off Market (TOM). This property is temporarily off market and cannot be shown. It will be changed to Active status when the property is ready again for viewings.
Buyers Broker of Florida will always help buyers understand the behind the scenes information. We are committed to representing the home buyers best interest. Contact us for your home buying options and home search here.