What Does it Mean if a Home is Pending or Contingent?

Dated: January 16 2024

Views: 63

You may have been in this position before: You’ve been scouring your preferred home search website for months looking for that perfect house you want to call home.  It has the bedrooms, the acreage, the finishes, and everything else you have dreamed of having.  As you get ready to contact your agent, you suddenly notice that the house is listed as “Contingent” instead of “For Sale”. What does that mean?  Is all hope lost?  Let’s get into some of that real estate jargon that can trip you up so you are more ready to complete that home search!

 

Let’s start with the obvious.  A house that is listed “For Sale” is on the market and the homeowner is hoping you will buy it.  There is no obstacle standing between you and that house outside of the normal home purchase process.  Easy Peasy.

 

When you write an offer on that house that’s “For Sale” and it gets accepted, it becomes “Pending”.  That just means there is an accepted offer on it, but it has not made it to closing to seal the deal.  Most homes are “Pending” for around 30-45 days depending on several factors that are negotiated throughout the process.

 

One of those things that is negotiated during the offer process is whether or not the buyer needs to sell their home before they can buy their new home.  This means that their offer is “Contingent” on the sale of their current home.  This house is actually “Pending” and “Contingent” at the same time.  This is fairly common for “move-up” buyers who are looking to get into a bigger house.  They may not have the funds or the credit to complete a purchase of a new home while still carrying the debt on their current home.  So, as a buyer, don’t rule these houses out of your search.  The seller may be willing to entertain other offers and might even be able to get out of the contingent offer if your offer is better!

 

The previous classifications all had to do with houses that were “on market” with owners actively trying to sell.  Many websites have classifications for houses that are “off-market” as well.  One of those is the “Sold” classification.  This just means that the house was for sale and that sale was completed.  Whether or not a website shows recently sold homes depends on the local Board of Realtors and their agreement with the big websites on data sharing.  The other classification is simply “Off Market”.  This is for those houses that are not for sale…at least not publicly!

One important note on using the big home search websites is that they have an agreement with your local Board of Realtors in which the Board shares their data with them.  Your local Realtor has no control over what those sites have listed for each house.  While most of the data is correct, it is pulled from the local MLS by an algorithm.  It’s fairly common for us to find that one of these sites has incorrect data such as utility information, school zones, or even square footage.  We believe it is in your best interest to use these websites for a general search and then engage with a local real estate agent to get accurate information and visit properties.  As always, you can contact us to start your home search!  Happy hunting!

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Billy Daniel

After investing in real estate for several years, I decided to get my real estate license so that I could more directly help others navigate the exciting, and sometimes frustrating, world of real esta....

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