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Contingent Vs. Pending: What’s The Difference?

contingent vs pending

The real estate industry is filled with complex jargon and terminology that can seem confusing, particularly for first-time buyers. Today, we will demystify two such terms – “contingent vs pending.” Understanding these key terms will provide clarity in the home buying process, whether you are a buyer or seller.

What Is The Difference Between Pending And Contingent?

In the property landscape, “contingent vs pending” refers to the status of a listed property. A contingent listing means the seller has accepted an offer, but certain conditions need to be met before the sale can proceed. The offer is still active, and the seller can consider other offers.

On the other hand, a pending sale signifies that all conditions of the contingent offer have been met, and the sale is being processed. In a pending status, the real estate transaction has passed its major hurdles, and it’s on its way to closing.

Buyers also have the option to include contingencies in their offer. For example, an inspection contingency allows a third-party to evaluate the home’s condition. If severe issues are revealed during the inspection, the buyer can negotiate repair costs or even back out of the sale.

Other common contingencies include a mortgage or financing contingency and an appraisal contingency.

Common Contingent Statuses

Contingent: Continue To Show (CCS)

The “Continue to Show” status means that the seller has accepted an offer but is still showing the property and considering other offers. It’s like having a backup plan in case the current offer falls through.

Contingent: No Show

“No Show” means the seller has accepted an offer and has chosen not to show the property to other potential buyers. It’s similar to when a theater stops selling tickets once the show has begun.

Contingent: With Or Without A Kick-Out Clause

A kick-out clause allows the seller to “kick out” the buyer if another offer is received that the seller wishes to accept. This clause serves as a safety net for sellers in case a better offer comes along.

Short-Sale Contingent

A short-sale contingent status indicates that the property is being sold for less than the amount owed on the mortgage. The lender’s approval is required for these types of sales to proceed.

Contingent Probate

A probate sale occurs when a property is being sold by an estate, typically after the owner’s death. These sales often have additional legal and court requirements that must be met.

Understanding the subtle differences in these statuses is crucial for both buyers and sellers as it helps navigate the complex landscape of real estate transactions. Remember, a well-informed decision is always the best one!

Common Contingencies in Real Estate


The inspection contingency allows the buyer to hire a professional to assess the property for any structural issues or needed repairs. If significant problems are uncovered, the buyer can renegotiate the price or request repairs before proceeding. It’s a bit like getting a second opinion from a doctor before going through with a major medical procedure.


An appraisal contingency safeguards the buyer, ensuring the property is worth the cost agreed upon in the contract. If the property doesn’t appraise for the contract price, the buyer can renegotiate the price or cancel the contract. It’s akin to checking that you’re getting your money’s worth before buying an expensive piece of art.


A financing contingency gives the buyer time to apply and receive loan approval before finalizing the purchase. If the buyer cannot secure financing, they can back out of the sale without penalties. It’s somewhat like having a safety net in place before committing to a big purchase.


A title contingency ensures the seller has the legal right to sell the property. If the title search uncovers any issues, like liens or ownership disputes, the buyer can back out. It’s like checking the authenticity of a diamond before buying it.

When a Buyer Is Selling Their Home

This contingency allows the buyer to back out if they are unable to sell their current home within a certain period. It’s like ensuring you have somewhere to move to before vacating your current residence.

Types of Pending Statuses

Pending: Taking Backups

The “Pending: Taking Backups” status denotes a unique scenario in the real estate world. While the seller has accepted an offer and is moving towards closing, they are still open to backup offers. This policy allows the seller to continue showing the property and accepting secondary offers, safeguarding themselves in case the current buyer backs out.

Pending Short Sale

The “Pending Short Sale” status signals that the property is being sold for less than the outstanding mortgage amount. This condition usually arises when the property value has decreased since the mortgage was taken. However, for a short sale to proceed, the use mortgage lender needs to approve the deal, which can be a time-consuming process. This type of sale is common in times of economic downturn or when the owner is experiencing financial hardship.

Pending: More Than 4 Months

The status “Pending: More Than 4 Months” might raise eyebrows, but it’s not uncommon in the real estate market. This status signifies that a sale, for various reasons, has been in the pending stage for an extended period, typically more than four months. Reasons could include lengthy negotiations, complex legal issues, or problems satisfying contingencies. In such cases, patience is key!


As an experienced professional in the mortgage loan and property market, Help individuals and families achieve their homeownership dreams.  My mission is to simplify your real estate journey and secure the best possible outcomes in this ever-changing market.

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