What is your status? It is such an elusive question. Obviously, the answer would depend on the context in which this question is asked. If I were wanting to fly to Jamaica today, for example, I would want to know the status of my flight. Is it delayed or on time? If I had VIP “status” I would be flying first class. I don’t hold VIP status and I’m not flying to Jamaica or any other warm place right now. My current status is: freezing in Utah at 11 degrees Fahrenheit.

The subject of status is especially relevant on social media. When I changed my status from married to single, I suddenly had a slew of friend requests from well-oxidized men. Little did they know, I too am “oxidized.” When one uses an airbrushed, professionally photographed picture from 10 years ago as one’s profile pic, one may get more attention than one actually warrants. Either way, I have learned to keep my “status” to myself.

The more relevant context of status, at least for myself, is the MLS listing status. Every listing that is posted on the Multiple Listing Service website, must have a status assigned to it. The first status is most likely one of Active. This means the listing is currently available for sale (or lease) and no offers have been accepted. There is also the option of Active T/C. This means that the listing is under contract with an offer but there is a time clause attached to the listing. The buyer and seller have agreed that the property can continue to remain on the market and additional offers solicited. If another offer is presented and the seller would agree to the terms of the new offer, the buyers who have the current offer in place would have a certain amount of predetermined time to remove the contingency or lose their position.

Backup status is a more recent category that was added in 2016. This means the seller has accepted an offer on the listing, but the seller has decided to continue to show the home to solicit backup offers. The other statuses are fairly self-explanatory and generally mean that the property is no longer available. This includes: Under Contract, Off Market, Withdrawn, Canceled, Expired, Sold or Leased.

A few weeks ago, I listed a home for sale in a very desirable area. We received an offer and negotiated the terms to acceptance. My clients wanted to continue showing the home to solicit backup offers so I marked the home as “Backup” status on the MLS. Within a few days, I received an anxious and somewhat frantic phone call from the buyer’s agent. “My clients are telling me that you are continuing to show the home and that is not fair. We have an accepted offer on the home and that will not put my clients in a good position for negotiations with repairs.”

After informing him that my clients opted to use the backup status provided on the MLS, and that, yes, we are continuing to show the home as my clients have the legal right to do, he informed me that in his 25 years of doing real estate, he has never seen anything like this.

There are currently 891 listings in backup status on the MLS right now. He’s never heard of this? I sent him the current “Guide to MLS Listing Statuses” provided by the MLS. I also sent him a screenshot of the post that the MLS made on Oct. 19, 2016, informing Realtors of the new backup status. He backed off for about a week until his client’s due diligence deadline date. That day I received a text from the buyer’s agent. It was a picture of the property from an advertisement I had sent out. Although it stated the property had a current offer on it, he wanted to go at it again. He again explained that he had never run into this and he was worried about how his clients would take it. He then went on to tell me this was not a correct way to do business. I immediately, and in no uncertain terms, informed him that this status was put in place to protect our sellers from buyers who back out. It is one of the few ways that we can protect our sellers when the Real Estate Purchase Contract primarily protects buyers. I also informed him that I was doing my job protecting my clients, the sellers, and there was nothing incorrect about that. Again, he finally conceded.

We did receive backup offers and the initial buyers did ask for a list of repairs. However, we knew that these were the same repairs that any decent home inspector would call out, so it was really in my client’s best interest to continue with the initial offer, agree on the repair requests that were reasonable and push forward to close. In general (except for multiple offer situations), the first offer is the best offer. No need to stress about the status.

For the record, my new status is; warming up to a balmy 18 degrees in Utah. I’m going to go sit in the sun.

Jen Kirchhoefer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or jenkirchh@gmail.com

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