On December 5, 2012, ARMLS® (the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, that is) renamed the Active with Contingencies (AWC) status to Under Contract – Backups (UCB) in an attempt to more accurately describe its purpose. I wrote about the AWC status last spring if you’d like to look back at what it meant, but let’s talk about this new name and what it means to Arizona home buyers and sellers.
Just as before, there are still seven listing statuses a property in the Arizona MLS can be in.
Arizona MLS Statuses
- Under Contract – Backups (UCB)
- Temporarily Off Market (TOM)
Why was the name of the status changed to UCB?
In an email to its members, ARMLS® said this about the reasoning:
“This change is being made to more accurately describe the state of listings in this status. As a reminder, these listings are under contract, and the Seller has requested, in writing, the Listing Agent continue to market the property for backup offers. If a Seller has not requested the property continue to be marketed for additional offers, then the listing should be changed to Pending status, regardless of any contingencies.”
If you’re now asking yourself what Pending means, I wrote another article about the Pending status last year as well.
What does UCB mean to Arizona home buyers and sellers?
When a listing is in UCB status, it means the seller of the home has accepted a buyer’s offer, but would also like to continue to show the property to prospective buyers in the hopes of collecting backup offers. However, putting a listing in UCB status does not mean the seller can simply receive a new buyer’s better offer and immediately cancel the current buyer’s contract. I explained why not in yet another article last year, “Can Phoenix Home Sellers Accept Backup Offers?”
How can you tell whether a listing is UCB or Active?
When you work with one of The Hill Group’s buyer’s agents, it’s easy to tell the difference between UCB listings and Active listings, because our buyer’s agents can give you access to a home search portal that clearly labels the status of each listing right at the top of the page. But, when you try to search for homes for sale on your own through one of those big name real estate websites, the listings aren’t nearly as clearly labeled. To prove my point, I chose five properties that are in UCB status in the MLS today and then searched three of the most trafficked home search websites (Realtor.com, Trulia.com, and Zillow.com) to see whether they were reporting those five properties as Active or UCB. As it turned out, two of those three websites were still reporting all five listings as Active and the other site was reporting them as Pending. In other words, neither of them were correctly reporting the properties as under contract but soliciting backup offers. And, because of this discrepancy, as of the writing of this article, several of those big name real estate websites had 30,000+ homes advertised as Active that were actually UCB, Pending, or even SOLD!
As helpful as I know these websites can be when you want to learn more about an area or see what the average sales price in a certain city is, the best, most reliable source of Active listings for sale is still your local REALTOR®.