MLS terminology can be *fun.* There are some unfamiliar terms in the Multiple Listing System (MLS). It’s helpful to understand these if you’re either searching the MLS on line, or getting listings from your real estate agent. A lot of agents don’t even really understand some of the MLS terminology (particularly TOM and AWC). I’ll try to explain some of them…
“Active”: If a listing is active, then it is available for sale and there has not been an offer accepted. An offer may have been submitted, but it hasn’t been accepted by the seller yet.
“Pending”: This means an offer has been submitted and accepted, and there are no contingencies in the contract. Basically this means the property has been sold and is waiting for closing (although deals fall apart all the time between contract acceptance and close.) See AWC below for an explanation of contingencies.
“AWC”: Stands for Active With Contingencies. This means an offer was submitted and accepted, but there are contingencies that must be settled before the deal can close. There are numerous possible contingencies, but by far the most common one is that the deal is contingent on the buyer’s selling an existing property. The buyer needing to secure financing is also a common contingency. If a listing is in AWC status, additional offers can be submitted, but will be in “second position” to the original offer (ie: a backup offer). If the contingency can not be met, then the contingent contract would be cancelled and the backup offer moves into first (primary) position. Once the contingency is met, the listing should be moved to a Pending state, but most agents never seem to do that.
“TOM”: Contrary to what a lot of people believe, TOM does not stand for Taken Off Market. It means Temporarily Off Market. This isn’t a widely used category. A property may go TOM if a seller is going to be out of town for an extended period, or if the seller decides to do some repairs to the property and doesn’t want it shown while repairs are being done. If you are an agent and you start calling owners who property is in TOM status to try and “relist” their home, then you are violating all kinds of listing and ethical rules and regulations. (And trust me, this happens all the time.) A property in TOM status is still under a signed listing agreement with the listing agent, hence any solicitation of a TOM property is a serious violation and you can lose your license if you pursue it!
“Sold”: This indicates the property has been sold to a buyer. Sold in this case means the transaction has closed — title/deed have been transferred to a new owner.
Note: These definitions pertain the the Arizona Regional MLS, though any MLS would have similar terminology.