Real Estate Vocab: Contingent & Pending

Ah, vocab. We all love it!

But if you’re in the market to purchase a home, you might notice that real estate vocabulary can be a little tricky at times.

Homes might have many different labels that will define what state of activity it’s currently in. If you don’t know what the different stages mean, then you might not know if you can make a move on the house, or if you should move forward.

Two of the biggest real estate vocabulary words you’ll run across is: contingent & pending.


You’ve found a home online that you LOVE, but it’s marked as contingent. What does that mean?

In this stage, the seller has accepted an offer, but the listing is still considered active. If requested provisions are not met (contingencies), either party is able to back out of their offer. If everything passes with flying colors, then the deal will advance.

Here are some common contingencies:

  • Financial – if the buyer cannot get the home loan or mortgage they were hoping, the seller can opt-out.
  • Inspection – if the home inspection comes up with any unexpected problems, the buyer can request a lower price or opt-out.
  • Appraisal – if the home is worth less when an appraisal is conducted, the buyer can request a lower price or opt-out.
  • Active/Kick Out – if the buyer cannot sell their current home in time to pay, the seller can opt-out.


Coming across a home listed as “pending” is a little different. When a home is marked in this stage, the seller has accepted an offer and all contingences (i.e., examples listed above) have been met or waived. These listings will remain in this stage until all legal work has been completed and processed. These listings are also no longer active.

Making Offers

Technically, you can always make an offer on a home during any stage – be sure to talk with your real estate agent to discuss any options that might be available to you. However, it’s always a tad easier to make offers on homes before they move to these stages.

For more real estate guides and tips, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog!

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