At first look, Expired, Cancelled, and Withdrawn listings might appear the same. All are inactive on the MLS but there are distinct differences.
An Expired or Cancelled listing severs the ties between a seller and an agent. On the other hand, a Withdrawn listing remains under contract but the agent removes the listing from the MLS on behalf of the seller’s request. Since the contract between the agent and seller remains valid, the owner cannot work with another agent until the listing agreement expires.
How does all of this relate to the Code?
Article 16 of the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Realtors® states:
“Realtors® shall not engage in any practice or take any action inconsistent with exclusive representation or exclusive brokerage relationship agreements that other Realtors® have with clients.”
Under the NCRMLS Rules & Regulations, “Expired” or “Cancelled” status means that there is no longer an active brokerage agreement/listing contract with the seller. Therefore, the seller may be contacted without a potential violation of Article 16. However, “Withdrawn” status means that “the listing has been withdrawn from the market, but a contract still exists between the Seller and the listing broker.” Therefore, it is a potential violation of Article 16 to contact a seller on a listing that is in “Withdrawn” status.