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Pending Mean in Real Estate

What Does Pending Mean in Real Estate?

When you find your dream home, only to see that it’s “sale pending,” can be discouraging. However, if you are prepared to work around this obstacle, you can still make your move.

Pending is a different stage than under contract, and understanding the difference can help narrow your real estate search. Let’s dive in.


Pending is a real estate term that means the property has an offer from a buyer that has been accepted by the seller. It has been agreed to in writing, contingencies have been met or waived, and everything required for closing is in escrow. In other words, it’s the final step before the house is officially sold.

If a home has gone pending, it’s no longer available to be shown or put under contract by other buyers. It’s a good idea for buyers to submit an offer if they are still interested in the property, even though they won’t have as much time to work out any issues. This will give them a place at the end of the line in case the original deal falls through for any reason.

It’s not uncommon for a pending sale to last as long as several weeks. This is because buyers may need more time to complete all of the necessary steps, such as securing financing, getting an appraisal, having title problems solved, and selling their current home. In some cases, the sale can even be pushed back to the end of the month if the buyer’s lender is not ready to approve the loan.

Mortgage trouble is one of the most common reasons for a pending sale to fall through. The buyer may have been pre-approved for a mortgage, but the loan can be denied at closing because of a change in income or credit issues. In this case, the buyer will likely lose their earnest money deposit unless they can find another mortgage lender to fund the purchase.

Sometimes, a pending sale can also be called a contingent sale or a non-contingent sale depending on the terms of the contract. In these instances, the buyer has a financing contingency or other requirements that must be met before the home can be purchased. Buyers with these conditions typically have a shorter window of opportunity in which to make their offer, especially if there is competition for the home and/or a bidding war. Your local real estate agent will be able to advise you on the best approach in this situation.


Real estate terms like pending and contingent are crucial to understanding real estate listings. These statuses impact buyers and sellers in a number of ways, so it’s important for both parties to know how each one works.

When a property is in contingent contract, it means that the sale is not yet finalized and all of the buyer’s contingencies must be fulfilled before the deal can close. These conditions typically include home inspections, bank appraisals, and mortgage approvals. Some buyers include a contingency that allows them to walk away from the purchase if the property fails an inspection or they cannot obtain financing.

Depending on the terms of the contract, it can take days or weeks for the contingencies to be satisfied. In the meantime, the property will remain active in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) with a note that indicates that it is a contingent sale. The agent may also choose to change the listing to pending when they feel confident that all of the contingencies have been met.

Once all of the buyer’s contingencies have been met, the property will transition into a pending sale. In this stage, the seller’s agent will usually stop accepting new offers on the property. However, in some cases, the agent will allow backup offers to be submitted. If the original offer falls through, the backup offer will become the pending sale.

It is possible for a property to go back on the market after it becomes pending, but this is less common. The most likely reason for a pending sale to fall through is that the buyers cannot get their loan approved or they discover significant damage to the property during an inspection. In such a case, the seller may be willing to make the repairs or they may give the buyers credit at closing to cover the costs.

Pending is the most secure and reputable stage of a real estate transaction, but it’s not impossible for a sale to fall through after the pending stage. That’s why it’s always a good idea to use a trusted and experienced agent when purchasing a home. They can help ensure that all of the terms and conditions in your contract are met to avoid any surprises down the road.


The real estate world has many terms that can be confusing to buyers, like “pending” and “contingent.” While pending means all contingencies have been met, contingent indicates that a few conditions still need to be fulfilled. Often times, these contingencies involve the buyer being able to sell their current home, get financing or satisfy a lender’s requirements, such as appraisals and inspections. These contingencies can delay a sale and even cause it to be canceled.

While a seller is usually required to disclose any contingencies that may affect their ability to complete the transaction, not all sellers do. As a result, it is important for buyers to be aware of any contingencies that may be attached to an offer. These contingencies are not a deal-breaker, but they can give buyers the peace of mind to know that they will be able to purchase a property that is pending.

Occasionally, a pending sale can remain in a pending status for months. This can be due to delays in negotiations, issues with construction or the lender, or simply a delay in updating the listing status with the multiple listing service (MLS). It is important for buyers not to be discouraged if a home they are interested in has been a pending sale for a long time. While it is disappointing to lose out on a home, it is always possible to find another property that will suit your needs.

Contingent homes can be listed as active with contingencies, active continue to show or no show. While a home has been accepted with contingencies, other potential buyers can view the property and submit an offer. In addition, the seller can opt to have a kick-out clause in the contract that will allow them to cancel the agreement if certain contingencies are not satisfied by a specific date. This will give the buyer the opportunity to work with their real estate agent on getting those contingencies met, without having to worry about losing their earnest money deposit. This is a common feature in short sales and can be helpful in negotiating a lower price from the seller.

Kick-out clauses

Whether you’re searching for your dream home or selling your current property, you will likely see the terms “contingent” and “pending” during the process. It’s important to understand the difference between these two listing statuses so you can be confident in your decision-making and avoid any surprises.

Contingent means that the seller has accepted an offer on your home, but the sale is not finalized until the buyer’s contingencies have been met. For example, a home inspection or financing contingency might have been added to your contract, and these are both requirements that must be satisfied before the home can officially close on the market.

Once a contingent contract has been accepted, the property will remain active in the real estate market until all contingencies have been removed and the property goes from contingent to pending. When a property becomes pending, it is one step closer to becoming a sold property and you can rest assured that the home will go through the closing process as planned.

If you find a home that is pending, it’s not a good idea to submit a competing offer just in case the deal doesn’t work out. This is a legally binding contract, and you will risk forfeiting your earnest money deposit if you try to outbid the original buyer.

Occasionally, pending sales do fall through for various reasons. For instance, a buyer may have to sell their existing home in order to purchase the new property, or the buyer’s lender might not approve the mortgage financing.

To prevent a pending home sale from falling through, both buyers and sellers often include a kick-out clause in the sale agreement. If you’re interested in a home that’s listed as pending, be sure to ask your agent about the kick-out clause to determine what you need to do if you want to submit a backup offer. You must notify the original buyer within 72 hours of receiving a backup offer that you intend to waive the sale contingency, and you will need to provide proof of your ability to move forward with the purchase.

Read More – What does pending mean in real estate


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