What You Should Know About Contingent Vs Pending Real Estate Listings

As you search for homes, you may encounter listings with sale statuses such as contingent vs pending. If you want to submit an offer on such properties, certain considerations should be kept in mind before doing so.

Though it can be frustrating to discover a home that meets all your criteria and still be considered “contingent or pending”, there is hope.


Home listings that are contingently sold indicate that potential buyers have shown an interest in purchasing them but still need some conditions fulfilled before closing on it. One such condition could be selling their current residence first before purchasing their desired new property.

Contingencies often include home inspection and financing issues. If the buyer fails to pass inspection or can’t secure financing to purchase the house, the sale could fail and could eventually fall through.

If the seller continues to show the home in hopes that another buyer comes along who can remove contingent status, if not, their listing will switch from contingent to pending and no longer available to potential buyers. Therefore, house hunters need to understand this terminology so as to avoid looking at properties which won’t be suitable. They should discuss contingencies with their real estate agent to see how they can strengthen their offer.


As part of an MLS (multiple listing service), real estate listings often display different statuses such as contingent or pending. These indicate that buyers are still working through any contingencies they might need for closing, so closing on the home might not happen immediately unless all conditions have been fulfilled.

Pending refers to the final stage before paperwork and closing take place, in which a buyer’s mortgage approval and inspection results must be satisfactory for them to move forward with an offer that surpasses the seller’s asking price. Contingent buyers often make offers beyond this price.

If you’re interested in purchasing a property listed as “pending”, speak to your agent about making an offer. Homes listed as pending can remain unresponsive due to negotiations being delayed or construction taking longer than expected or processing being slower than anticipated. Also keep in mind that when property becomes “pending”, its days on market count does not stop which may cause confusion among homebuyers.


An active contingent home means that its seller has accepted your offer, yet there are certain conditions that must be fulfilled before closing on it. Your real estate agent will be able to identify these requirements and advise whether they pose deal breakers for you.

Active refers to anyone taking action towards meeting a goal; for instance, someone could be actively fighting cancer or increasing its exports, etc.

When viewing an active contingent property, this indicates that the seller is still accepting offers on it. If you really love the house and don’t want it to pass you by should the first buyer’s deal go south, make a backup offer if your bid falls through; but once it has moved onto pending status it is too late.

Under Contract

When a home is listed as “under contract”, this indicates that its seller has accepted an offer and is waiting for certain contingencies (such as home inspection or financing contingencies) to be resolved or met before proceeding with closing. While under contract status isn’t binding, homes listed can still fall through for various reasons.

As it may be possible to make an offer on a property that has already been under contract, but you’d need to submit an attractive bid that outbids its initial buyer if this is your goal. Consult with your Total Mortgage loan expert regarding placing a backup offer; this might help move things along more swiftly when purchasing it.

Overall, it is beneficial to understand each listing status so you can be informed as a potential homebuyer. By understanding each status’ meaning and function, this knowledge can help prevent you from falling through on an agreement or losing out to another buyer for your dream home.

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