Breaking Down Your Online Home Search

September 9, 2016 | Buying a Home | By: The Goodhart Group

Zillow, Trulia,,, brokerage websites…the options for your online home search are almost endless. It can be very overwhelming. Trying to read the descriptions can make it seem as if you’re reading a foreign language! Allow us to break it all down for you.

The MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is the Realtor database where all properties for sale are entered. We set up an MLS search for each of our buyers which is delivered daily to you – and to us – every morning (or however frequently you would like to receive the email) when a new or updated listing matches your criteria). Our buyer team will review your search with you daily and send any comments or suggestions we have about properties that are available.

If you find it easier to search on your own using third party websites such as Zillow and Trulia, that is fine. However, please know that sometimes these websites have inaccurate information and therefore differ from direct feed Realtor sites.

Broker-operated sites and feature direct information pulled from MLS, while Trulia and Zillow rely only partially on MLS sites, also receiving information from syndication. This means, it pulls information from a variety of websites and old listings. As a result, old listings and partial information will sometimes show on Zillow, Trulia and similar aggregator websites. While these sites are great for quick looks and basic statistics about communities and neighborhoods, they do not provide in-depth analysis and accurate listings.

A Realtor’s access to the MLS system is yet another reason to hire a reputable agent for your home search.

Breaking down the MLS search. What do all those letters mean?


CS – Coming Soon

Homes listed as CS cannot be shown to buyers until they are switched to “Active” in the system. These will NOT show up on Zillow, Trulia or other syndicated websites. You can only find these properties in the Realtor based MLS search that agents can set-up.


Active – Active

These homes are active and available for showings. Buyers should focus their efforts on Active listings.


Cntg/KO – Contingent (contract) with a kick out clause

These homes are under contract with a contingency that has a kick-out clause. However, they are still available to be shown and sold. Typically, Cntg/KO means that there is a contract on a home but it’s contingent on the sale of the buyers’ home. Agents may continue to show the home. A new buyers has the ability to “kick out” the original buyers.


Cntg/NO KO – Contingent (contract) with no kick-out clause

These homes are under contract with a contingency that does not have a kick out clause. It is the most common scenario when a home first goes under contract and it has one of the standard contingencies in place (a home inspection, appraisal, or financing). Agents cannot show a home that is Cntg/NO KO; the seller cannot kick the buyer out of this contract for a better offer, like they can with a CNTG/KO. Only the buyer has the opportunity to void the contract. If you like a house that has this status, we can watch it carefully. We can also talk to the listing agent to see the likelihood it will become available again for sale.


CONT – Contract

These homes are fully under contract with no contingencies. In this scenario, the contract either had no contingencies or the contingencies have been removed. All parties are moving along to settlement and the house is, for all intents and purposes, sold.



Sold means the house has successfully gone to settlement and is officially off the market.  This is when you can see the final sale price of the property – this information is not available in any of the contract states.

We know this language can be very overwhelming, especially if you are a first time buyer. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can talk you through it. We are always happy to help!

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