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Contingent, broadly speaking, means that the owner of the property has accepted an offer but the deal has yet to be fully finalized. This may be displayed on a real estate website with a label saying “contingent” or “contingent: continue to show”.

What is a Contingent in Real Estate?

When browsing for a new property you’ll almost certainly come across homes marked as “pending” or“contingent” in real estate listings. This is because there are many different stages of a property deal and new offers can be made even after the seller has accepted another, depending on the circumstances.

There are a variety of different laws across each state to regulate the sale of a property. However, in most cases, you’ll find homes marked with the contingent status (and occasionally pending) that can still be considered as actively on the market.

The Difference Between Contingent and Pending Status

Properties that are no longer simply marked as “for sale”, yet are still being advertised as contingent or pending are not fully sold. However, both statuses are indicative of very different stages of the selling process.

Contingent: This means an offer has been accepted by the seller and contingencies have been set to facilitate the progression of the deal. During this stage, the buyer and/or seller must meet the criteria set out in the initial contract in order for the sale to progress.

Pending: In this case, an offer has been accepted and the contingencies have been met. At this stage, new proposals are often not accepted as only the legal paperwork to finalize the sale is pending completion.

What are the Contingencies of a Real Estate Deal?

Most property sales will have a number of special contingencies that must be met before an offer becomes final. In the majority of situations, these may include:

  • The ability of the buyer to sell their current home
  • The buyer meeting the financial obligations set out in the contract
  • The appraisal value of the property not falling below the price offered
  • The property in question passing a home inspection
  • The buyer not matching a new, higher offer
  • A title report revealing a conflict of owner status

If either the buyer or the seller fails to meet one of the contingencies that applies to them, then the sale could fall through or one of either party would be able to pull out of the process. However, there are a number of contingent statuses that potential buyers will see in real estate listings.

Contingent: Continue to Show

An offer has been accepted but with contingencies. Whilst the buyer is in the process of meeting these obligations, other potential buyers can submit offers and view the property.

Contingent: No Show Without Kick Out

An offer has been accepted by the seller but with contingencies applying to the potential owner. However, during this process, the buyer is no longer accepting offers actively.

Contingent: Release Kick Out

This means that a deadline is in place for the buyer to meet the contingencies. Like with “continue to show” the seller will also be considering additional offers and will still be allowing property viewings.

Can an Offer Be Made on a Contingent Property?

Until the keys have been officially exchanged on the property it is often possible to make counteroffers. In many cases, there are opportunities to make offers on contingent homes. This is normally the case if the seller is interested in talking to additional buyers or suspects that their current buyer may not be able to meet the contingencies.