I received a call from a past client requesting me to list one of her properties. Only problem was, it was already listed with someone from her social circle. It seems the process was not going well and my former client decided she wanted to return to a known entity.
Unfortunately, changing agents is not as simple as a phone call when contracts are involved. While still on the phone, I checked the MLS and the listing was still showing as “Active” even though the seller assured me the listing was “Canceled” at her request. I explained I could not help her until her current listing contract was canceled.
Days passed, and again she called and asked me to check the MLS status of her property. The property no longer appeared on the “Active” list, but was now listed under “Withdrawn” status. I wondered if the agent was playing a little game of semantics with her seller. “Canceled” means one thing: The listing agreement is null and void. The seller is free to list the property with another agent or not market it at all. “Withdrawn” means something else entirely: The property no longer appears as an active listing but the listing agreement is still in full force until the expiration date. Upon passing the expiration date the property will move to “Expired” status on the MLS.
The language of real estate can be confusing even to those of us who decipher the lingo on a daily basis. This former client of mine has no understanding of the difference between “Canceled” and “Withdrawn” as it applies to real estate. Her request was simple and clear. If the agent’s broker intends to hold the seller to the terms of the listing contract, the agent’s duty is to explain the situation in layman’s terms, not hide behind word games and mislead the client.
I’m off my soapbox and walking away until the issue is resolved. However, it is my goal to always raise the real estate bar by providing consumers with a transparent real estate experience, not one draped in mystery and misleading information.
– Norma (310) 493-8333