Active Property, Contingent & Other House Selling Stage Terms

There are seasons and stages for just about everything in life, and the same is true for selling a house. Buyers have to know the difference between an active property and a contingent one, along with several other selling stages before trying to move forward. 

Without knowing the different stages of selling a house, buyers can miss out on an opportunity — or at the very least, get their hopes up. Familiarize yourself with the selling stage lingo and the listings page will quickly become your friend instead of a source of confusion.

Active Property

An active property is one that’s on the market. The sellers haven’t accepted any offers.

What it looks like: On a listings results page, an active property is every property that doesn’t have words like “pending” or “contingent” in the description.

How to proceed as a buyer: If you’re interested, put in an offer or work with a real estate agent who can help you show your commitment to the seller.

Active Property With Bump

“Active with bump” means that someone made an offer on an active property but the sellers can ditch it for a better one.

What it looks like: The MLS will state if a property is active with bump, but this property will otherwise list as “active” on platforms like Zillow or Trulia. 

How to proceed as a buyer: Working with a real estate agent is pretty much the only way to know if a property is active with bump. Only agents and those who work with agents get access to the MLS. Your agent will best know how to proceed (likely by helping you come up with a better counter-offer).

Contingent or Pending

With a contingent or pending property, the sellers have accepted an offer. If everything goes according to plan, the property is set to close with the buyers who put forth this offer.

What it looks like: A traditional listings page will clearly label a property as  “pending” or “contingent.” In some MLSs, contingent might list as “active with bump” but a local agent will have more details on whether that’s the case.

How to proceed as a buyer: Your best bet is to look elsewhere, but keep this property in mind if you’re in love with it. You never know, things could go awry and the deal could fall through.


Closed properties are sold properties.

What it looks like: As a buyer, it’s rare that you’ll see a property listed as “closed” (“sold” is more common) but in case you see it, know that it’s off the market.

How to proceed as a buyer: Keep on lookin’!


When a property is expired, it means the contract with the listing agent ran out and the sellers didn’t renew the contract (or get a new agent). 

What it looks like: The sellers might no longer want to sell, they might switch to FSBO, or they haven’t switched to a new agent yet.

How to proceed as a buyer: A real estate agent will have knowledge as to whether or not a contract expired. They’ll best know how to proceed, but if you happen to know the sellers, it could be a good idea to talk to them and see what’s going on.

If you find out the sellers are still wanting to sell, feel free to put in an offer. However, you’ll want as much knowledge as possible before proceeding too far. While an expired contract is sometimes the fault of the agent, it’s not always. Working with unruly sellers or investing into an asset with way more flaws than meets the eye will quickly turn this buying process from a dream to a nightmare.

If you’ve spotted the common theme of working with a real estate agent, good job. Agents have access and industry know-how that can greatly benefit buyers. But don’t just go for any agent — use Cashifyd first!

Cashifyd connects you with an incredible agent in your area and gives you cashback at closing. In other words, you could save hundreds or thousands of dollars in closing costs, simply by choosing to connect with an agent through an app. Use Cashifyd for your next home purchase — you’ll gain invaluable insight on different selling stages and access to the MLS by doing so.