Looking at houses for sale online is tough. Beyond the variety of properties to consider, there is also the listing status. It can be difficult to know which homes are available to view and buy when you’re ready to find your next home.

Real estate lingo isn’t meant to be confusing. There are many pieces of buying and selling a property that need to be broken down so that each party knows their responsibilities and options.

Here’s a look at the stages of selling a property and what terms you can expect to see when you’re looking online for your next home:

Coming Soon

Listings that are coming soon are not yet listed on the MLS. These properties typically have a listing agreement with a realtor and are being prepared for sale. During the coming soon time period, the real estate agent is usually busy working on the staging, photography, and preparing the marketing for the property to officially hit the market.

You can inquire about a coming soon property if you find one that meets your criteria however, you likely won’t find too much information about it online. Depending on how you learn about it, either contact the real estate agent or the homeowner to find out who their representative is. If you already have a real estate agent, they will help you with this part as it can be tough to navigate.

For Sale

The property is officially listed for sale on the MLS. When a real estate listing goes public, it is officially ready for showings and offers. Book a time to view the property with your real estate agent or attend an open house of the property and if it’s what you’re looking for, this is a great time to place an offer.

Homes listed for sale in Central Florida are active on the real estate market and typically do not have an accepted offer, though the seller may be in negotiations with a buyer. It is up to the seller to accept or counter any offer they receive on the property as no buyer has a stake in the property.

Confirm with your real estate agent that the seller has not accepted any offers on their property, especially in a hot market where sales move quickly. Some MLS feeds can take up to 24 hours to update online, but your real estate agent will have the most up to date information available to them.


When a seller accepts a contract that has contingencies or conditions, the property is considered pending. A buyer has a stake in the property and there is a timeline for contingencies to be fulfilled. Two of the most common contingencies are home inspection and financing. Depending on the contingency, the buyer or seller may still be able to walk away from the contract. For example, if a buyer places a home inspection contingency in their offer and something is wrong with the property, they have an escape clause to walk away from the purchase without suffering any loss.

Depending on which site you use to browse homes for sale on the MLS, listings in this category will either be tagged as contingent, pending, or under contract. They mean the same thing. A buyer has a stake in the property with an accepted offers that requires conditions to be met in order to be firm.

Pending offers mean a seller has accepted an offer and it is in writing. Contingency periods begin. Some sellers will request for backup offers on a home. If this is the case, you may place a written backup offer on a home and wait out the contingency period of the offer that is in place. Should anything happen to the first offer, your offer moves into first position.

Your real estate agent will advise you on the status of a contingent property and how you can proceed when making a backup offer.


All contingencies have been met and ownership has officially transferred to the new buyer. Keys are exchanged relieving the responsibilities of the former owner. The final sale price of the home is published and your real estate agent can tell you what the property actually sold for.

Back on Market

Uh oh! When a property is back on the market, it means that a firm offer fell apart. This can happen for a number of reasons and it is best to have a detailed conversation with your real estate agent about a home that is back on the market.

You want to make sure that nothing is wrong with the home that caused the deal to fall apart. The most common reason that firm sales don’t make it to the closing table is financing. To avoid this happening to you: if you’re buying, make sure you have a preapproval for more than the amount you’re paying for the property and if you’re selling, make sure the buyer whose offer you accept has a preapproval in hand.

The most important thing to keep in mind when buying your next home is the importance of communication with your realtor. They have the insider knowledge to protect you throughout your purchase and make sure you’re making well-informed decisions. Real estate terminology can get complicated, but we’re here to make it easy for you and explain every step of the buying and selling process.

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