Contingent vs. Pending - What You Need To Know

What You'll Learn

  • The difference between contingent and pending listing statuses
  • The various types of contingent and pending situations
  • Why listing status matters when searching for a home

Who else gets excited when it's time to buy a new house? During your search as a prospective home buyer, you may encounter house listings that are either pending or contingent and get confused.
Knowing the difference between the contingent and pending house listings will save you time, energy and reduce your chances of bidding for unavailable houses.

The difference between a contingent and pending status

Simply, 'a home listed as contingent' means that the seller has received payment for the offer; however, the transaction is yet to end as some conditions need to be met.
Also, a home listed as pending' means that most conditions have been met, and the two parties are waiting to close the deal.

Common types of home contingencies

Contingent upon inspection
This means that once an inspector has checked the house and the buyer is satisfied, the home can now be listed as pending.
Contingent upon appraisal
Here, once the house has been appraised and valued at a minimum or higher than the offer price, the buyer may agree to the terms, walk away, or renegotiate the price with the seller.
Financing contingency
If the buyer is able to secure a mortgage or home loan approval on the home, they can proceed with the purchase.

Other contingent offer statuses

In a seller's market, buyers choose from numerous conditional offers of the sellers. In a buyer's market, sellers are eager to close because more homes are on the market.. You may come across the following contingencies:

Contingent Short Sale
Here, if the seller is willing to accept less than the amount on the mortgage, the deal is closed. It takes longer to complete.
Contingent - Continue to Show (CSS)
Here, they may be several contingencies in place. The buyer can continue to view the house till all has been fulfilled.
Contingent probate
If the homeowner passes away and the house is not legally claimed by a next of kin, the government may sell the property, and the home will be listed as 'Contingent Probate'.
Contingent no show.
Here, the seller is confident that the contingencies on the property will be met; hence there will be no showings.
Contingent: with or without kickout clause
Here, there may be a deadline for the buyer, typically 72 hours, to meet his contingencies before the seller agrees to stop marketing their home.
If there is no deadline, the buyer can schedule the appraisal and inspection as he deems fit.

Pending sale statuses

Let's now explore the pending sale status.
Pending Short Sale
This means that the seller has accepted a short sale offer on their home and is waiting for the lender to approve the deal.
Pending: Taking backups
Here, the seller accepts backup offers even when the sale is almost finalized. This leaves the options open in case the buyer backs out.
Pending: More than 4 months
Although rare, negotiations, repairs, and construction can keep a home sale pending for 4 months or more. It can also be that the listing hasn't been updated since the transaction ended.


According to real estate site Trulia, 4% of all home sales fall through. Understanding these concepts will save you the stress, anxiety, and frustration accompanying bidding for houses that are unavailable. A realtor can help you navigate the right steps to take during this journey.

Getting a pre-approved letter from HomeTown Lenders can increase your odds of being chosen as this gives the seller the certainty and confidence they need to grant you the offer.