Contingent Vs. Pending: What’s The Difference?

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If you finally found a home listing that you loved, only to be met with “contingent” or “pending” status, you might wonder if there’s any chance you could put in an offer. In some cases, you might be able to, but it depends on the status of the home.

Home listings under contingent or pending status can still receive offers from other potential buyers but it’s important to know which one works more in your favor and which one doesn’t.

What’s the Difference Between Contingent and Pending?

If you’ve put in an offer on a home and the status is now contingent, the seller has accepted the offer, but certain conditions must be met first. Those conditions could be from either side. For instance, a buyer might request an inspection, or the seller could request a specific type of loan from the buyer. Deals can fall apart due to certain contingencies.

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Pending status means the offer has been accepted and is getting processed. At this stage, the deal heads to closing. Keep in mind that there are some instances where a pending status could still fall through, but it’s not common.

Types of Contingency Status

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There are a few different types of contingencies and while similar, they aren’t all alike.

Contingent Probate

If the homeowner has died, either the government or the bank that financed the home steps in to sell the property. Probate goes through court, and that information is public. So if you want a private sale or something with less red tape, you might want to look for listings without this contingency.

Contingent: With or Without a Kick-out Clause

A kick-out clause means that if certain conditions aren’t met by a specific date, either the buyer or seller can cancel the contract. If one side doesn’t meet certain conditions, the other side isn’t obligated to complete the agreement. Without this agreement, the sale might take longer to complete, or there’s a chance it could fall through at a later time.

Short-sale Contingent

A short-sale contingent means the seller agrees to sell the home for less than the mortgage balance. The arrangement has to be approved by the lender that holds the loan, and it can take a lot longer to process compared to other types of sales. You might see this on foreclosed properties since banks and lenders are the ones handling the direct sale of the property.

Contingent: Continue to Show (CCS)

Continue to show means the seller can continue to show the property while certain conditions get met. If you put in an offer, there’s a chance it could get accepted from the seller and move through with a contract. But it depends on other contingencies and agreements with the seller and the current offer.

Contingent: No Show

This is used when the seller agrees not to show the home any longer while contingencies are being met. The seller won’t hold private showings or open houses.

Types of Pending Status

Pending is one step closer to completing the homebuying or selling process and is good news for both parties. But that doesn’t mean the sale is complete. There are different types of pending statuses, which can change the game for different circumstances.

Pending Short Sale

Like a short sale contingency, a pending short sale goes through a bank or lender. A pending short sale means contingencies have been addressed and the sale is moving forward in the process. It lets others know who is handling the sale.

Pending: Taking Backups

Even with a pending status, taking backups means a seller is still accepting backup offers on a home. A sale could go through or fall through, and the seller has noted they’re open to seeing what other potential buyers might offer.

Pending: More than 4 Months

If you see this in a listing, it usually means there’s a glitch or user error. This means a listing has had the “pending” status for more than four months. There’s a chance the listing agent might have forgotten to update the listing from “pending” to “sold” after the sale went through. Or it could mean something in the sale is delayed or holding up the final move to “sold.” For instance, further negotiations are holding up the final sale.

Can You Make an Offer on a Contingent or Pending Home?

In some cases, you can make an offer on a contingent or pending home, but it depends on the status. Some home contingencies and pending offers allow backup offers.

If you’re allowed to make a backup offer, you might move along in the process if the first offer falls through (which it might, if it has certain contingencies). Keep in mind that if a sale is pending, there’s a lower chance of getting your offer accepted because the original sale is likely near finalization.

But if a home has contingencies, you might have a chance to make a serious offer. It’s helpful if you have preapproval letter for a home loan or plan to pay for the purchase in cash as reassurance to the buyer.

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