Can I buy a house that’s not for sale? [Real NEastate]

Q: I saw a house around the corner in my neighborhood, Bells Corner, that was for sale last week but it is not anymore because the sign is gone. My son is looking for a house, and I am thinking that would be a great house for him. How can I find out about buying it if the owners still want to sell?

A: Just because you see that the sale sign is gone does not always mean that house did not sell. Some real estate brokerages add the “sold” riders on their sign when it is sold. Some add “sale pending” riders to their sign when the sale is pending. But others do not proclaim a property “sold” or “pending” and do not add any riders, but simply remove the sign when it’s time.

The first thing you will need to do is find out if this house was already sold. Call your agent or a reputable real estate brokerage and ask about the property. If it was listed with a broker, it will show up in the Multiple Listing Service, to which only realtors have access.

A listing can have several different statuses in the MLS, among them basically:

ACT: Actively listed for sale (and there are several different versions of ACT)

A/N: Listed for sale but not showing the property until a certain date

T/O: Listed, but temporarily off the market for whatever reason

WTH: Withdrawn

PND: Pending

STD: Settled or Sold

If the property is sold, you’re out of luck. If it was withdrawn, then it is not currently for sale but there could be a chance the seller is willing to entertain offers. You could either have your agent contact the seller or the seller’s agent, or you could contact the seller yourself and see if there is interest in selling. Or maybe it’s just temporarily off the market and your son still has a chance.

Good Luck!

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others hereRead other NEast Philly columns here.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.