When you come across a home listed as pending or contingent, you may have some questions. What does that mean? Can you still make an offer? While the sellers of these homes have already accepted an offer, you may still have a chance.
Contingent Vs. Pending
Contingent means the seller has accepted an offer but there are conditions that must be met for the sale to go through. Often these conditions, or contingencies, are related to the home inspection, financing, or the buyer is relying on the sale of their current home to free up funds to purchase the new one. If the conditions aren’t met, the deal will likely fall apart. As a result, a contingent house is still considered an active listing.
Pending means an offer has been accepted by the seller and any contingencies have been met. It will remain in pending status until the sale closes. However, it’s still possible for a pending sale to fall through. If you have your heart set on a home that is in pending or contingent status, you’re not out of the game yet.
Types of Contingencies
Here are some of the most common contingencies.
If the buyer is not pre-approved for a home loan, the sale may include a mortgage contingency. This protects both the buyer and the seller if the buyer cannot secure a mortgage.
With an appraisal contingency, if a home is appraised for less than the original offer, the buyer can lower the offer or back out of the deal entirely.
Home inspection contingency
Nearly every home sale is contingent on the home inspection. If the inspection reveals problems that weren't disclosed before the sale agreement, the buyer can ask that the seller make or pay for repairs or back out of the deal.
The title report will disclose the history of ownership and whether there are any liens against the property. If any problems are found, the title contingency gives the buyer the option to back out altogether.
Making an Offer on a Pending or Contingent Listing
Until a house is marked “sold”, you can still make an offer. However, making an offer on a pending or a contingent listing is trickier than on an active listing. As your real estate agent, I can determine what the contingencies are and help you put together a strong offer. A pending or contingent home is under contract. Depending on the terms of that contract, the seller may not be able to accept another offer. Still, you may be able to submit a backup offer in case the first deal doesn’t work out. Another step would be for me to talk to the listing agent to get more details. Then I can help you decide how to put together your best offer. Keep in mind that if the original offer falls through because of a problem identified during the home inspection, for example, you may also need to deal with that problem.
Buying Your Dream Home
The real estate market can be an overwhelming space. Contingent and pending are just two examples of the complicated terminology you may come across in your home search. As an experienced real estate agent, I can help you navigate the market, find the best home for you, and make your strongest offer, no matter how tricky the circumstances.