Understanding MLS status codes and abbreviations

MLS Listing Status - Paul Gu | Blog
The Multiple listing services (MLS) contain vast data on available real estate listings. But decoding all the codes and shorthand can be confusing, especially for first-time homebuyers unfamiliar with industry terminology. Learning key MLS status abbreviations and definitions helps you better analyze and compare listings when searching online.

Active Statuses

Active – The standard status for listings available for sale. Active properties can be shown and are on the market. But active does not guarantee availability. The home could be under contract with contingencies still pending. Always confirm true availability with the listing agent.

Active Under Contract – The sellers accepted an offer, but the deal has contingencies that could still fall through before closing. Typically the home remains available to be shown and backup offers may be accepted if the current contract fails.  

Conditional – The listing has a sales contract and major contingencies that likely preclude backups. Usually denotes a contract requiring the sale of the buyer’s current home or securing financing. The existing contract takes priority over new offers.  The property sale hinges on certain contingencies being met according to the sales contract.

Kickout Clause – A conditional offer has been accepted with a kick-out clause in place. This allows the sellers to entertain backup offers and potentially “kick out” the current contract if a better offer surfaces before contingencies lift. 

Pending Sale– The sellers accepted an offer the MLS real estate listing agent is in escrow awaiting the close typically off-limits to showings unless the sale falls through. 

Pending – continue to Show – The home is under contract but because contingencies remain, the sellers permit continued showings in case the current deal falls through. Agents may discourage new offers until the existing contract clears contingencies.

Exempt – The sellers elected not to list the home on the MLS, but agents still show and sell the exempt property as a pocket listing. Exempt status limits marketing exposure for privacy or other reasons.

Off-Market Statuses

Withdrawn – The sellers took the property off the market celing the listing agreement. It is no longer publicly marketed or available to buy through an agent. Owners who wish to list again must create a new MLS listing.


Expired – The listing contract ran its term and automatically expired without being renewed. The home is effectively off-market. Sellers choosing to sell again must relist the property from scratch.

Closed – The property ownership was transferred. The MLS listing is permanently closed with a sold price recorded. Closed listings provide market but are no longer available for purchase.

Suspended – The listing is temporarily unavailable but not permanently withdrawn. Often indicates owners are traveling or the home is under repair/construction. Suspended differs in that agents still show and sell during suspended status.  

Learning the language of MLS listings empowers you to decisions about home shopping online status codes and abbreviations homes offer the best opportunity. Next time you search MLS listings, they won’t be a mystery!