Blog by: Colin Kimbrell
At long last, after much thought and careful research, you’ve finally found the home of your dreams… but when you look at the listing on the web, it’s marked as being “contingent,” “pending,” or “under contract.” What does that mean? Can you still make an offer, or do you need to restart your search?
Not to worry! This post explains how to tell the difference between contingent vs. pending vs. under contract and outline your options with regard to making an offer of your own.
When a property is marked as contingent, it means that the buyer has made an offer and the seller has accepted that offer, but the deal is conditional upon one or more things happening, and the closing won’t take place until those things happen. If they don’t happen within a set period of time, the deal is off.
Some of the more common contingencies include:
It is not at all uncommon for contingent deals to fall apart as a result of the contingency in the agreement. Owners whose home is in contingent status can accept a backup offer, and that offer will have precedence if the initial deal does not go through, so if you like a contingent property, it makes sense for you to make an offer on the listing so that you are in position to buy if something goes wrong with that transaction.
As with a contingent property, a home that is active under contract is one where the buyer and the seller have agreed to terms, but the deal is still in its early stages and may not come to fruition. You can still make an offer on a property that is under contract, and if it is accepted and the first deal falls through for some reason, you will be in position to purchase.
For a home that is listed as pending, there is an agreement in place, all contingencies have been addressed, and the deal is on the cusp of being completed. It is still possible for a deal in this situation to fall through, but it is much less common, and some agents may not be willing to accept offers on listings where a sale is pending. Still, there is no harm in asking, as there is no legal barrier to making an offer on a property until the sale is final.
If you would like more information on what different listing statuses mean, take a look at our Real Estate Glossary entry on real estate listing statuses, and if you still have questions or would like to make an offer on a specific listing that is contingent, pending, or under contract, our Howard Hanna agents are here to assist you!