In a market that’s extremely busy, one of the constant questions I get asked is what does under contract mean when displayed online on internet sites such as Is the property still available or has it sold? I can’t speak for all agencies and their procedures because some of them continue to display properties for sale even though they are sold, however when we mark properties under contract it means that there has been an accepted offer on the property. Now this may mean that conditions are still to be met (i.e., awaiting finance, building inspection or timberpest report) or it could also be that the property is unconditional (this means all conditions have been satisfied and the transaction is progressing to settlement).

Sometimes properties are displayed under offer for a long period of time and buyers may wonder why. This is generally due to long finance periods, extensions for finance or even delayed or longer settlements which is more common now that sellers need longer to find somewhere to go, settlement agents require a good amount of time to settle (especially when banks are involved) and that broker and bank application processes have blown out considerably.

Now sometimes properties are displayed under contract as soon as they hit online. I hear you say, how can this happen when it’s only just gone online? Well the answer to that question is that the buyer has been introduced to the property between when the listing documentation was signed, and when all the marketing was completed and displayed online. Of course the next question to follow is, why didn’t I get an opportunity as this can cause frustrations to buyers looking in the market especially when it’s a busy as it is currently. Agents work for the seller so it  comes back to the owners instructions. Some sellers will get an offer too good to refuse, others may want to try and attract even more buyers. It really depends on the sellers motivation and what their plans are.

So what do you need to do so you don’t miss out and that you’re informed ahead of the game? It’s my advice to get yourself onto a registered database. A good agent will have this and be able to advise of possible opportunities that may fit your needs. Provide them with a list of your requirements and budget and make sure you have everything in order to be able to act. It’s not uncommon in the current marketplace for buyers to make an offer on the property sight unseen especially from east coast buyers which is becoming more and more so this is another important reason to have all your ducks in a row so you can act quickly.

Happy house hunting and know, with a bit more knowledge about what under offer/under contract means it should assist your searching and time efficiency.

By Jeremy Stewart – Director