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— by Hana LaRock

What to Do When a Listing Goes from Pending to Active

A good real estate agent always has their finger on the pulse of what’s going on, whether that’s in your own market, network, or community, or on a broader scale. But, it’s not always easy to keep tabs on things without finding out information directly from the source. 

If you are a buyer’s agent, and you notice that a home has gone from pending to active againa home that you may have several clients interested in looking atyour first thought might be, “Well, that’s interesting…” 

Wouldn’t you want to know what happened and why? It may seem strange or out of line to ask the listing agent a question like this, but you are allowed to, and you should.

Here’s why you should ask that listing agent your burning questions, and how to do it without putting them off.

Transparency is Fair for Everyone Involved

If a listing agent wants to help their seller and you want to help your buyer, then transparency and honesty is the way to go for both parties. A smart listing agent knows that if they aren’t honest about it now, it just makes people more hesitant to look at a property if the prospective buyers think there’s something wrong with it. 

Again, your listing agent should know this, but if they’re refusing to tell you why their listing went from pending to active, remind them (politely) that you have buyers who would be interested if they could have an idea of what to anticipate. Also, sometimes, it’s important to remember that the change in status could be something that’s happened with the initial buyer’s credentials, with nothing to do with the seller whatsoever. So, be sure to watch your tone so it’s not accusatory. 

You Can Gage the Seller’s Motivation

Asking the listing agent why a listing went from pending to activeif they didn’t already update this in the listingcan help you understand how soon the seller is looking to sell their home. If there are some issues that came up during inspection, you can know how much the seller is willing to do something about it, let alone pay attention to it. It could also be helpful to know because perhaps your buyers—depending on their level of interest—may be interested in paying for some of the issues.

It Helps Not Waste Time

The process of buying a homeespecially amid the Coronavirus pandemicis a long one. If your buyers want to get into a home as soon as possible and one of those homes could be one that just went from pending to active, then you have to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. Why waste time? A quick call to the listing agent can reveal everything both you and your clients need to know about the listing, so you can keep things moving. 

You’re Working for the Best Interest of Your Buyers

At the end of the day, you’re working for your buyers, not for the seller. So, you need to make sure there are no surprises. In many ways, it’s not only “okay” to ask the listing agent why a listing has suddenly gone from pending to active, it’s rather your duty to find out for the best interest of your buyers. If the listing agent has a problem with you asking (and, they shouldn’t), that should tell you everything you need to know. 

The Listing Agent May Not Be Truthful

Even if the listing agent agrees to reveal some information about the change, unfortunately, you can’t always take their word for it. But, if you’ve been in the industry for a long time, you should have experience picking up on their demeanor to determine whether or not they’re being entirely truthful. You can and should ask for an inspections report to understand if there is anything pressing on the property. 

But, remember that you can find a decent amount of information as it’s usually available to the public. It may require some research on your end, but it all depends on how much you think the home would be a good match for your clients/a home they love, or if it’s worth looking at other properties instead. 

What if You Are the Listing Agent?

All this information (or clarification) is all fine and good if you’re the buyer’s agent, but what if you’re the listing agent and you find yourself in this predicament? For whatever reason, your listing has gone from pending to active (of course, you know the reason), and now you’re being bombarded with calls and messages to find out why. Now, you have to be looking out for your seller. But, you also need to do your job in an ethical manner. 

So, rehearse what you want to say, and be prepared for whatever will happen thereafter. Also, make sure that your seller knows what’s going on. Of course, they don’t need to know every detail about how you do your job, but as they’re hiring you, it’s important to make them aware of what’s happening. 

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