When searching the market for a new home, you’ll run across properties in several states of activity. What do you do when the home you’re interested in is marked as “contingent” or “pending”? What’s the difference between the two, and what are your options for making an offer?

What Is Contingent?
When a property is marked as contingent, an offer has been accepted by the seller. Contingent deals are still active listings because they are liable to fall out of contract if requested provisions are not met. If all goes well, contingent deals will advance to a pending state.

What Is Pending?
When a property is marked as pending, an offer has been accepted by the seller and all contingencies have been satisfactorily addressed or waived. Pending deals are no longer considered active listings. A home will remain in the pending state until all legal work has been processed.

Common Contingencies

Financial Contingency – If a buyer cannot get the home loan or mortgage they anticipated, the seller can opt out.

Appraisal Contingency– If an appraisal reveals that the home is worth less than the offer, the buyer can request a lower price or opt out.

Inspection Contingency – If a home inspection reveals problems, the buyer can request repairs, compensation, or opt out.

Title Contingency If a title report reveals a conflicting ownership status, the buyer can opt out.Active – First RightIf the buyer cannot match additional offers made on the home, the seller can opt out.Active – Kick OutIf the buyer cannot sell their current home in time to pay, the seller can opt out.

Common Pending Types

In most cases, (but not all) Pending is a good indicator that the home is SOLD and the sale transaction will take place. 

Pending – Taking Backups The seller accepted an offer on their home, but something has hit a snag in the final stages; perhaps there was an issue with a contingency on the offer. Now, the seller is taking backup offers in case their deal falls through.

Pending – Short Sale

The accepted offer is a short sale and must be approved by additional lenders or banks outside of the buyer or seller’s control, which may take a long period of time to process.

Pending – More Than 4 Months

The accepted offer has been pending for more than four months. This can be due to snagged negotiations, delayed construction, longer-than-usual processing time or simply agent oversight in updating the listing status.