Pending or contingent home sales: what’s the difference?


If you have an eye on the real estate market, you may be wondering what it means when a home is listed as “on hold” or “potential”. Here, we’ll discuss what a contingent ad is and how it differs from a pending sale. As we navigate today’s hot real estate market, buyers need to understand everything there is to know about selling a home.

Pending home sales vs. contingent

The difference between on hold and contingent is that a house on hold is under contract. There is an offer accepted, all contingencies have been met, and all parties are confident that it is about to be concluded.

There’s no law preventing you from bidding on a pending home, but that’s only if they accept the backup offers (more on those in a moment). If there’s a home you like but it’s listed as on hold, ask your real estate agent to find out if the seller is still accepting offers.

Don’t put your hopes too high, however. A property with a pending status is normally much more advanced than a property listed as contingent. Backup offers are not always accepted.

When a house is labeled “contingent,” it means the seller has accepted an offer but is waiting for all contingencies to be met. While some buyers in today’s market are willing to avoid the unexpected (which is a terrible idea), they are the norm in a typical market. Here is a breakdown of common contingencies requested by buyers.


If a buyer takes out a mortgage on a property, they can apply for a financing contingency that allows them to opt out of the transaction if their financing fails.

For example, if a buyer loses their job soon after making an offer on a house, it is unlikely that a bank will lend them any more money. Funding can also go off the rails during the underwriting process – when mortgage lenders look at finances to make sure the borrower can repay the loan.

Suppose the subscribers find unreported debts during the subscription. They can deny the loan application even if the buyer has been pre-approved. Setting up a financing contingency ensures that a buyer will receive their deposit if the transaction fails due to financing.


Homebuyers who take out a mortgage are required to pay an appraisal on their home before the lender remits the funds. This is to protect the lender from making a loan for more than the value of the property.

Let’s say a buyer makes an offer for $ 325,000 for a home, but the appraisal is $ 275,000. Because the mortgage company can only lend at fair market value, that leaves a difference of $ 50,000. If the borrower has $ 50,000 that he can use to fill the gap, the transaction can proceed. If, however, they don’t have those funds lying around, the possibility of an appraisal gives them a way out – a way to break the deal and keep their money serious.


A house may seem perfect on a visit but hides a host of problems. A contingency inspection gives a buyer the opportunity to have their home inspected by a professional. This way, the hidden issues can be uncovered and the buyer can either renegotiate the deal with the seller or walk away without penalty.


A title not only indicates who legally owns the property, but also includes any records of liens or judgments made against the property.

Let’s say the previous owner hired a contractor to rehabilitate the basement. The contractor completed his work, but the owner failed to make the final payment due for the project. The contractor’s only course of action was to put a lien on the property, which means that it cannot be sold without the contractor receiving his salary. A title contingency allows a buyer to opt out of a transaction burdened with privileges or judgments.

Door-to-door sale

A final type of contingency is the door-to-door sales contingency. At one time it was a common occurrence, but today it’s more likely to be a business killer.

What he is basically saying is, “I want to buy your house, but I have to sell my own property first. If I don’t sell my house within a certain period of time, I can opt out of a purchase contract. house and leave with deposit. ” Unsurprisingly, most sellers pass on offers that include the possibility of a house sale.

Pending subcategories

Each status – pending and contingent – has subcategories that better tell the story. It is the subcategory that the status is in that determines whether a potential buyer can make a backup offer. Here are the subcategories for pending home sales.

Make backups

This means that the seller accepts backup offers in case the pending sale of the house fails. Sometimes a pending sale allows a buyer to make backup offers but does not allow them to shop around the house. It is important to check with an agent before deciding whether to proceed.

Flash sale

A short sale occurs when a homeowner is in financial difficulty and sells their property for less than what is owed on the mortgage. The original lender receives the proceeds of the sale and either forgives the difference or seeks a judgment against the owner, legally requiring them to pay the difference between the sale price and the amount owed.

A home listed as pending short sale means the owner goes through the short sale process with the lender. Because it is listed as pending, it probably means that the process is relatively advanced. Still, sellers appreciate a backup offer due to the length of the approval process and the number of issues that can arise during this time for the original buyer.

No show

This subcategory tells a buyer that the seller has accepted an offer, the contingencies have been resolved, and is not accepting further offers.

More than 4 months

When an ad has been on hold for more than four months, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) automatically sets its status to “on hold – more than 4 months”. It could mean one of two things. Either the listing agent forgot to change the status from “pending” to “sold”, or the sale is taking longer than usual to close. There is little chance that backup offers will be accepted on a property that has been pending for more than four months.

Contingent sub-categories

The following are sub-categories for contingent home sales.

Continue to show (sometimes listed as CCS)

When an ad is marked as CCS, it probably means an offer has been made, but there are some contingencies that must be met first. New offers are actively being accepted.

With an exclusion clause

When a property has a return clause, it means the seller can continue to show the house and accept offers during the emergency period. Then, if the seller receives a better offer from a new buyer, they have the right to give the original buyer a set period of time to withdraw their contingency or lose the house to the new buyer. Whenever a referral clause is part of a real estate contract, it is only intended to favor the seller of the house.

No show

When a seller has received an offer for their home and has decided that they have finished showing the home and the entertaining offers, the property may be marked “contingent – no show”.

Short sale quota

As mentioned, a short sale occurs when a mortgage lender accepts less than what is owed on a mortgage and either forgives the rest or goes to court to hold the homeowner liable. When a home is listed as a short sale quota, it means that the short sale is making its way through the system – a process that can take months. Buyers can usually make a relief offer on a contingent short sale.


This subcategory relates to a property that is sold through an estate due to the death of the owner.

Make an offer on a pending or contingent home

Let’s say a potential buyer is crazy about a property currently listed as pending or contingent. The first thing to do is find out if new offers are accepted.

Making an offer on a pending home can be tricky. While a real estate agent can tell if a seller is interested in receiving another offer, the sale is far enough advanced that the odds are not in favor of a new buyer. There is a good chance that the initial sale will end.

If a home is listed as a contingent, a potential buyer may still be able to make an offer knowing that the first offer the seller accepts takes precedence. As long as the contingencies associated with that first transaction are met, whoever made the offer will buy the house. A backup offer only comes into play if the initial deal fails.

Given the current state of the market and the fact that an active listing can become on hold or conditional within hours, it’s important to know what each listing status means. This way a buyer can determine if it is worth considering a property that has already been foreclosed.


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