Q & A: Pending vs. Looking for Backup on MLS

March 8, 2013

Q.  What is the difference between “Pending” and “Looking for Backup” on the MLS?


A. “Pending” and “Looking for Backup” both mean a property is in escrow.  With “Looking for Backup,” the seller would agree to a backup offer. If the current deal in escrow falls through, the second potential buyer would be able to buy the house at the price offered before the seller put the house back on the market. There is no obligation for the buyer to take the house as they do not transfer any money to be in the “backup” position.  The seller would have to agree and sign the backup offer. The buyer, in essence, is getting the first right to buy the home if it falls out of escrow.


“Pending” means there is an accepted offer and the house is in escrow.  The seller is not looking for backup offers.  It generally implies the current deal is moving forward and it is unlikely that it will fall out of escrow.

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