What Does it Mean When the Property Status is “Contingent”?

What Does it Mean When the Property Status is Contingent?

When you’re searching for a new home or investment property, you’ve likely come across various terms in property listings. One term that you might have seen is “contingent.” But what exactly does it mean when a property’s status is contingent? In the real estate world, this term carries significant implications for both buyers and sellers. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take a closer look at the intricacies of contingent property status, why it matters, and how it can impact your real estate journey.

What Does it Mean When the Property Status is "Contingent"?

Understanding Contingent Property Status 

What does contingent mean in real estate? “Contingent” refers to a property’s status during the home-buying process. When a property is listed as contingent, it means that the seller has accepted an offer on the property, but the sale is not yet final. Instead, the transaction is contingent upon specific conditions or contingencies being met. These conditions are typically outlined in the real estate contract between the buyer and seller, and they must be satisfied in order for the property to successfully close.

Contingent VS. Pending

While “Contingent” and “Pending” both mean that a property is under contract, they do carry distinct differences. What does pending mean? When a property status is “pending,” it indicates that the seller has accepted an offer, and there are no contingencies. In this scenario, both the buyer and seller are essentially in the final stages of the transaction, just waiting to close.

The chances of a pending property coming back on the market are quite low. However, it’s worth noting that anything can happen in real estate, so while it’s not a common occurrence, it’s not entirely impossible

Common Real Estate Contingencies

Contingent status can arise due to various reasons, and the specific contingencies depend on the terms negotiated between the parties involved. However, some common contingencies include:

1. Home Inspection Contingency
Buyers often want the property inspected to ensure there are no hidden defects or issues. If significant problems are discovered during the inspection period, the buyer may have the option to renegotiate the terms or cancel the contract.

2. Financing Contingency
If a buyer isn’t paying cash for their new home they will need to secure financing for the property. As a result, they will add a finance contingency to their offer and if they fail to secure a mortgage within the agreed-upon timeframe the contract may become void.

Common Real Estate Contingencies3. Appraisal Contingency
This contingency is tied to the property’s value. If the property doesn’t appraise for the agreed-upon sale price, the buyer may have the option to cancel the contract or negotiate a lower price.

4. Sale of Current Home Contingency
Buyers may need to sell their existing home before they can buy a new one. If their home doesn’t sell within the specified timeframe, they can cancel the contract on their purchase and walk away.

5. Title Contingency
Buyers may want to ensure that the property’s title is clear of any liens or legal issues. If title problems arise, the buyer can use this contingency to address them or withdraw from the purchase.

6. Homeowners Association (HOA) Contingency
In communities with HOAs, buyers may want to review the HOA’s rules and financial health before committing to the purchase. They also may need to be approved by the association prior to closing.

Navigating Contingencies 

To successfully navigate contingenices throughout a transaction, both buyers and sellers should take specific steps:

  1. Clear Communication: Maintain open and transparent communication with your real estate agent and the other party. Clearly define expectations and deadlines.
  2. Stay Informed: Keep abreast of progress on all contingencies. Buyers should actively work on fulfilling their obligations, and sellers should be prepared to address any issues that arise.
  3. Flexibility: Be prepared for the possibility that the deal may not go through. Have backup plans in place, this goes for both buyers and sellers.
  4. Negotiation: If issues or discrepancies arise during the contingency period, be ready to negotiate. Both parties should be open to finding mutually beneficial solutions. Afterall, buyers and sellers both have the same goal in mind, a successful closing.

Final Thoughts

In the world of real estate, a contingent property status represents a phase in the home-buying process where both buyer and seller are navigating specific conditions before finalizing the sale. Buyers must secure financing, inspect the property, and address any concerns, while sellers must be prepared for potential setbacks.

Effective communication, flexibility, and negotiation skills are crucial for a successful contingent transaction. By understanding what it means when a property status is contingent, you can approach these situations with confidence, knowing that careful planning and diligence can lead to a successful real estate transaction.

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Popular Questions About Contingencies 

Can you put an offer on a house that is contingent? Yes, you can still put an offer on a house that is contingent if the seller is accepting backup offers. A backup offer is essentially a secondary offer that becomes the primary offer if the initial contract falls through due to the buyer’s failure to meet contingencies or for any other reason. However, the seller is not obligated to accept backup offers, and whether they consider them depends on various factors, including the terms of the existing contract and the seller’s preferences.

Is it better to be contingent or pending in a real estate transaction? It is better for both buyers and sellers if the property is in “pending” status rather than “contingent.” A “pending” status means that all contingencies have been met, and the sale is in its final stages, reducing uncertainty and the likelihood of the deal falling through.

Should you accept a contingent offer? It’s not common for home sellers to wonder if they should accept an offer that has contingencies and the answer is it depends. A majority of real estate contracts will have at least one contingency, usually a home inspection. So sellers should never rule out an offer that has contingencies, they need to take a closer look at how many contingencies and what they are before making a decision.

About the Author

Top Wellington Realtor, Michelle Gibson, wrote: “What Does it Mean When the Property Status is Contingent?”

Michelle has been specializing in residential real estate since 2001 throughout Wellington Florida and the surrounding area. Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or rent she will guide you through the entire real estate transaction. If you’re ready to put Michelle’s knowledge and expertise to work for you call or e-mail her today.

Areas of service include Wellington, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, West Palm Beach, Loxahatchee, Greenacres, and more.

What Does it Mean When the Property Status is Contingent?

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Michelle Gibson Wellington Florida REALTORMichelle Gibson of the Hansen Real Estate Group Inc is a full-time REALTOR who has been specializing in Wellington Florida real estate since 2001. This veteran of the real estate industry has expertise in technology, marketing, and social media.


Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. is a full-service real estate brokerage specializing in residential real estate. As a customer-focused, quality organization, we achieve success one client at a time. Call 561-333-0446 or e-mail me today at [email protected].

Michelle Gibson and Hansen Real Estate Group Inc fully support the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Accessibility Statement


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