Real Estate Today
Get the scoop on San Francisco Multiple Listing Service changes

March 2012

Beginning in January 2012, the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service (MLS) added additional status categories in response to the changes in the current real estate market. In the past, once an offer was received and until contingencies were removed, a property was listed in the MLS online simply as “Active Continued.” Weeks to months may pass while an offer on a property wades through the approval process of a trust sale, short sale, or foreclosure. The new status categories provide buyers, sellers and agents with more accurate and complete information about listing status.

The new categories and their definitions below were provided by the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service:

  • Active Continued – Short Sale: accepted offer pending lender approval, additional offers being sought
  • Active Continued – Release Clause: accepted offer with a subject-to-sale seller release clause, additional offers being sought
  • Active Continued – Show: accepted offer with buyer contingency provisions such as inspections, accepting back-up offers
  • Active Continued – Probate: accepted offer, available to be overbid through the court confirmation process
  • Temporary Off Market: the listing contract is still valid, but the property is not being actively marketed and there is no accepted offer (Temporary Off Market listings will not be allowed to be relisted as new – see the explanation below)

Why do you need to know about MLS changes and why should you care one way or the other?

Seeing that the status on a property you have been following did not change for some time may have caused you to call your agent and ask what was going on. Information that previously would need a series of phone calls to be exchanged between agents and buyers or sellers is now available online using the new status search categories. Just about every property in San Francisco is different, and it requires many hours of searching online and in person to find just the right home. Chasing down information on homes that are not still accepting offers was time consuming for all concerned. This is especially true in the spring when as many as 100 or more new properties come on the market each week. The new categories are a great improvement for everyone who uses the MLS. Anything that provides more information and speeds up the search process is a good thing.

The various new Active Continued categories are self-explanatory, but the Temporary Off Market category needs more explanation. If, for example, a property has been listed as Active for a period of time, but is not actively being marketed because work is being done on the property, it is now possible to move the listing to the Temporary Off Market category. Buyers will know the property is for sale, but currently not available to show. The agent can add some explanation in the listing information online. Days on market (DOM) will continue to count in this category. This is an important factor in the marketing of a property, because statistically DOM and sales price are directly related. The longer a property is on the market, the lower the sales price.

Is there any way to stop the count of DOM?

Yes, withdraw the listing from the MLS for 30 days. This means the listing agreement must be cancelled. The property listing must be changed to a different Status and will be found in the “Withdrawn Cancel” category on the MLS. The property may be listed as “New” after at least 30 days completely off the market. Then the DOM count will begin from zero.

How does a seller know whether or not to temporarily remove their property from the market, or withdraw the listing altogether?

There are pluses and minuses to withdrawing a property from the market altogether. This is a popular choice with sellers between Thanksgiving and January because so many buyers are preoccupied with the holidays and take a break from house hunting. However, at other times of the year it is important to review the marketing strategy and plan you have decided on with your agent.

If you have questions that have not been answered here, please e-mail or call me.

Carole Isaacs is a Realtor with McGuire Real Estate (Lombard, Bluxome and Noe Valley offices), photographer and lover of all things San Francisco. Visit her Facebook business page at or call 415-608-1267.