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Contingent Vs. Pending: What’s The Difference?

Miranda Crace4-minute read

August 19, 2022

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You can go about buying a house in many ways. If you’re working with a real estate agent, it’s likely you’ll be primarily focusing on homes listed with agents. The multiple listing service (MLS) is a clearinghouse where real estate agents and REALTORS® can access homes that are listed with other agents. Several statuses for homes are listed on the MLS.

Let’s look at different types of contingent vs. pending statuses and explore what they mean.

What Is The Difference Between Pending And Contingent?

A property listed as contingent means the seller has accepted an offer, but they’ve chosen to keep the listing active in case certain contingencies aren’t met by the prospective buyer. If a property is pending, the provisions on a contingent property were successfully met and the sale is being processed.

Contingencies are likewise available for a home buyer to include with their offer to purchase. For example, an inspection contingency calls for an inspector to evaluate the home’s condition. If the home inspection reveals plumbing, structural or other severe issues with the house, the buyer has an opportunity to negotiate repair costs or back out of the home sale.

Other common contingencies include a mortgage or financing contingency and an appraisal contingency. A pending status indicates the seller and their agent are confident the sale has passed its major hurdles and is on its way to closing.

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Common Contingent Statuses

There are several subcategories of contingent statuses, each with a slightly different meaning.

Contingent: Continue To Show (CCS)

If an active listing is marked as Contingent: Continue to Show, or CCS, multiple contingencies may need to be satisfied. In this case, the seller and their agent have decided to continue to show the property and may even accept a better offer from another potential buyer.

To prevent your offer from being overlooked, you have numerous ways you can show the seller you’re serious about buying their property. These include getting approved for a home loan or making an earnest money deposit. Work with your real estate agent to see what you can do to strengthen your home offer.

Contingent: No Show

In a Contingent: No Show scenario, the seller has decided to no longer show the property or accept other offers. This status likely means that although certain contingencies haven’t been met, the seller is confident they will be.

Contingent: With Or Without A Kick-Out Clause

If the contingent status has a kick-out clause, it means there’s a deadline to fulfill all contingencies. Without a kick-out clause, there’s no set deadline in place. In other words, the seller can take their time meeting all the contingencies listed in the buyer’s offer.

Short-Sale Contingent

A short sale is when the seller (usually a bank or other mortgage lender) has indicated they’ll accept less money than is owed on the mortgage. The short-sale process can often take months to complete. A Short-Sale Contingent status indicates that the home is no longer for sale due to an accepted offer, but the short sale is still in process.

Contingent Probate

The Contingent Probate status occurs when an estate is being sold due to the death of the homeowner.

Common Pending Statuses

Pending statuses also have subcategories, each with a different definition.

Pending: Taking Backups

The Pending: Taking Backups status indicates that although the real estate listing is pending, the seller is still showing the house and accepting backup offers.

Pending Short Sale

Like the Short-Sale Contingent status, Pending Short Sale means the property is going through the short-sale process with the mortgage holder. With the Pending Short Sale status, it’s likely the property is further along in the process and not accepting backup offers.

Pending: More Than 4 Months

The Pending: More Than 4 Months status happens automatically in the MLS when a listing has been pending for more than 4 months. This could indicate something about the pending sale transaction is taking longer than expected. It may also be that the real estate agent forgot to change the status from Pending to Sold after closing.

Can You Make An Offer On A Contingent Home?

If you’re interested in a property that’s listed with an active contingent status, you may still be able to make an offer. While the initial offer will take precedence if all the contingencies are satisfied, making an offer can put you at the head of the line if the original deal falls through.

Keep in mind, you’ll need to submit an offer more attractive than other bids the seller could potentially receive. This means that if you plan on making a contingent offer, the seller could decide to go with someone who submitted a non-contingent or cash offer. To show the seller you’re a serious home buyer, it’s also wise to get approved for your mortgage.

Can You Make An Offer On A Pending Home?

A property with a pending status is further along in the transaction process than one with a contingent status. If you’re very interested in a property marked as pending, nothing would legally prevent you from making an offer on a pending home.

It’s up to the individual owner and listing agent whether they’re still interested in receiving additional offers. It’s probably best to talk with the listing agent to see if they’re still accepting offers.

The Bottom Line

Now that you know how to interpret pending vs. contingent in real estate listings, it’s time to resume house hunting. Get approved online to find out how much home you can afford on your home-buying journey.

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Miranda Crace

The Rocket Mortgage Learning Center is dedicated to bringing you articles on home buying, loan types, mortgage basics and refinancing. We also offer calculators to determine home affordability, home equity, monthly mortgage payments and the benefit of refinancing. No matter where you are in the home buying and financing process, Rocket Mortgage has the articles and resources you can rely on.