You probably spend a lot of time looking at listings if you are seeking to buy a home. You can come across “contingent” home listings during your search. Does that imply they’re no longer for sale? Continue reading to find out what contingent listings are and whether you should have high expectations for these houses.

Meaning of contingent in real estate 

In general, the definition of the contingent is “depending on certain circumstances”. It means that the sale is subject to the fulfillment of the contract’s contingencies, in the world of real estate. A contingent listing is one in which the seller has expected an offer but has chosen to keep it live until they ensure that all requirements have been met. 

The sale will proceed if the terms of the contract are met by both the buyer and the seller. However, one or both parties may be able to withdraw from the agreement. In this situation, a property with a  contingent listing may reappear on the market and be made available for purchase. 

Common real estate contingencies 

As real estate transactions can include significant financial outlays, both buyers and sellers want to be sure that there aren’t any unpleasant surprises at the end of the process. Contingencies might be incorporated by both parties to the transaction to safeguard them from unforeseen circumstances. Here are a few of the most typical: 


An appraisal contingency will almost always be included in an offer if the buyer will be financing the purchase of the home. To ensure that the home is worth enough to adequately secure the mortgage they are issuing, lenders have it assessed. The lender may want a bigger down payment or decline to approve the loan if the home appraises for less than anticipated. In the event appraisal contingency allows the buyer to cancel the transaction. 


A title contingency is yet another typical and significant stipulation for buyers. This gives the buyer the option to cancel the deal if, after doing a title search, they discover that the seller does not own clear title to the property or that there are liens on the property that may affect their ownership rights after the sale. 

Home inspection

Buyers can perform a professional assessment of a house before they make a purchase thanks to a home inspection contingency. This might alert buyers to any potential issues and required fixes. The buyer’s maximum willingness to pay to fix the house could be specified in the contingency. If estimated repair expenses are more than $ 10,000, for instance, it might be possible for them to cancel the purchase. Buyers in competitive real estate markets may occasionally waive the inspection contingency, but that is usually standard.

Home sale

The buyer may intend to utilize the money from the sale of their current home to pay for their new one if they currently have one. In this circumstances, buyers might include a condition to their offer to stipulate that the new acquisition will only go through if they are successful in selling their current residence by a specific deadline. 

New housing 

Also, sellers require housing once they vacate their current residence. If a seller accepts an offer but hasn’t located their new home yet, they might include a contingency that lets them back out of the deal if they can’t move by a specific date. 

Example of contingent 

A real estate contingency might look like this: A buyer makes an offer to buy a house for $ 400,000 with an $ 80,000 down payment. There are two of them: an inspection contingency that caps anticipated repair expenses at $ 15,000 and an appraisal contingency that stipulates that the house must appraise for at least that amount. The contract is signed after the offer is accepted. 

The transaction can go through if the appraisal comes back at $ 400,000 or higher and the inspection turns up no severe problems. The buyer may, however, cancel the agreement or revise their offer if the home appraises for less than $ 400,000 or if the inspection reveals that more than $15,000 in repairs are required. 

Contingent statuses types 

Here are a few different types of contingent listings that you might see on the market. 

Contingent: Continue to show 

This indicates that the seller has accepted a conditional offer but still desires to show the home to other potential purchasers in case the deal is unsuccessful. 

Contingent: No show 

After an offer has been accepted, the seller no longer wants to show the house to other prospective buyers. This often indicates that the offer includes a small number of conditions or conditions that are unlikely to cause issues. 

Contingent on: With kick-out

If the associated conditions are not satisfied by a specific deadline, the seller has the option to withdraw from the offer they have accepted. 

Contingent: Without a kick-out

An offer with conditions has been accepted by the seller, who has not established a deadline for their fulfillment. As the buyer is not rushing to satisfy all the contingencies, the procedure can take longer in this instance. 

Short sale contingent 

The seller has accepted an offer and is prepared to sell the house for less than what they owe to their mortgage lender, according to a listing that is short sale contingent. As a result of the lender’s involvement, short sales might take a very long time to complete. In certain situations, the seller reserves the right to obtain backup proposals in the event that the initial offer is rejected. 

Contingent probate 

The legal procedure known as “probate” is how the courts manage a decedent’s estate. The seller of homes sold through probate has already accepted an offer, but they are still looking for a backup offer because the probate process makes the transaction more challenging. 

Difference between contingent and pending 

Although contingent and pending are similar states, they differ significantly. Simply put, a contract that has been accepted but is subject to conditions is dependent. The offer becomes pending when those conditions are satisfied. As opposed to contingent offers, pending offers are considerably more likely to close, hence it is typically not worthwhile to look at pending listings. 

How long does it take to go from contingent to pending? 

This period fluctuates significantly from one transaction to the next. A contract will probably progress more quickly if there are fewer contingencies than there are. A deal without a kick-out provision could take especially long because there is no time limit imposed for the buyers to fulfill all requirements. 

Final Thoughts 

Work with your realtor to determine the contingencies of any listings you are considering, as well as if it would be worthwhile to try to submit an offer. Even if you have a poor likelihood that the deal will fall through and you’ll get the chance to purchase the house. 

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