Sold? It all depends on how you look at it.
Has this home sold or is the sale pending?
To know which answer is correct, you have to be somewhat of a real estate insider. Fourteen years ago, when I set out in this business, I learned that real estate, like many other professions, has its own vernacular. One of the stranger terms for me was “selling agent.” I thought that the selling agent would have something to do with selling a home, and I concluded that “selling agent” was just another term for listing agent. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Surprise: the selling agent represents the buyer!
This is the agent that sets up online searches for the home buyer, the very same agent who takes buyers to homes, opens lock boxes and tells the buyers about the pros and cons of a home. That’s the agent who prepares offers and negotiates on behalf of the buyer. So why “selling agent?” To understand why, you need to know a bit of real estate history. Until the mid-eighties, the home buyer was not represented in a transaction. There was only one agent, and that was the listing agent. Often, this one and only agent pretended to represent the buyer, and many a buyer believed that. Well, we did when we sold our first home in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
Sell my home!
Slowly, state by state, buyer representation became the norm. Before buyer agency, the listing agent depended on other agents to find them a buyer. “Sell my listing!” was the rallying cry. When a listing agent first told me to sell her home, I did not know how to respond. As an agent for my buyer, wasn’t my job to find homes that would fit their lifestyle and their budget? And, if this agent’s listing would match my buyer’s criteria wouldn’t it automatically show up in the search? Yes and yes.
The answer is “Pending.”
So how come that there is a sold sign pinned to that listing sign when it hasn’t sold yet? That too is part of the same history. When the seller and buyer have reached mutual agreement, the selling agent is permitted to put a SOLD rider on the listing post. In this case, the selling agent did. At the same time, I added a rider saying “Sale Pending.” Back then, that was closer to the truth. The home was still pending the results of the inspection and the visit from the lender’s appraiser was a couple of weeks away. Next time you see a home you like, and it has one of those SOLD riders on a sign, take heart. Call your agent and find out how long the home has been pending. And, if you truly love the home, make a backup offer, just in case.