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What Is A Contingent House Listing, And What Does It Mean?

4-Minute Read
Published on April 21, 2020

House hunting on the real estate market can be an exciting yet stressful time for many home buyers searching for the perfect property. But what happens when you come across a house you really like, and it’s listed as “contingent”?

In this article, we’ll explain what a contingent house is, what it means for you as a buyer and the common home statuses you may come across during the buying process.

What Does Contingent Mean In Real Estate?

First, let’s define what “contingent” means in terms of a home that’s on the market and its availability for purchase.

A contingent house listing means that an offer on a new home has been made, the seller has accepted it and the home is now under contract. But before the final sale can advance, some criteria need to be met. These contingencies are clauses in the sales contract, which can include matters that deal with appraisal, home inspection and mortgage approval.

Common Contingencies

Before a house can have a contingent listing status, the homeowner must accept the prospective buyer’s offer with the understanding that the real estate transaction will only be completed once certain conditions are satisfied. The buyer’s specific requirements determine which contingency is listed on the purchase agreement.

Below are the most common types of contingencies you could use on your offer as a prospective buyer:

Including a contingency in your offer can protect you from some of the risks associated with buying a home. For instance, if you secure a house but the inspector finds that it has foundation issues, you could use the home inspection contingency to cancel the deal and get your earnest money back.

While it may be tempting to use as many contingencies as possible, it’s important to keep in mind that sellers don’t like to receive an offer with a long list of conditions, especially in a competitive housing market. Instead, you should use contingencies sparingly and only when they make sense for your situation.

If you’re unsure which contingencies you should use, you can discuss your options with a real estate agent or REALTOR. They’ll be able to help you write up your bid while making recommendations on crafting a more competitive offer. 

Can You Make An Offer On a Contingent House?

It’s important to note that you can make an offer on a contingent house. Just remember that the nature of the contingent offer can be more complex than you might think. If the sale falls through with the initial buyer, there is a possibility that another interested buyer will have a chance at getting the contingent house themselves. This is why you might consider making a strong backup offer for the seller.

A great way to make your backup offer more attractive is to submit it with a Rocket Mortgage Verified Approval letter. This shows the seller you can afford to buy their home and that you won’t need to use the financing contingency, which means a quicker and less complicated closing process.

Apply Online with Rocket Mortgage

Get approved with Rocket Mortgage® – and do it all online. You can get a real, customizable mortgage solution based on your unique financial situation.

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Types of Contingent Statuses

Contingent houses can exist under a few different types of statuses that qualify them as “contingent.” The multiple listing service (MLS) is a real estate marketing and advertising company that helps home buyers browse listings online. MLS can use different terminology when describing contingent statuses, so we’ll define these terms for you below.

Contingent: Continue to Show (CCS)

If a home’s status is Contingent Continue to Show, the seller has accepted an offer, but there are multiple contingencies they must address. At this time, the buyer is working to complete these contingencies, but other buyers can continue to visit the listing and submit offers.

Contingent: No Show

Unlike a CCS status, once a seller has accepted an offer with contingencies, they’ll no longer be showing the house or accepting offers. Once the buyer addresses these contingencies, the status will be moved to pending and the closing process can begin.

Contingent: With Kick-Out

A contingent status with a kick-out clause means that there is a deadline for the buyer to meet their contingencies. During this time, the seller can continue to show the home and accept bids.

Contingent: With No Kick-Out

A no-kick-out contingent status means there is no deadline for the buyer to meet their contingencies. Even if a higher offer is made, the seller can’t accept it.

Short Sale Contingent

A short sale occurs when a seller is willing to accept less than the amount still owed on the property’s mortgage. A short sale contingent status lets other agents know that the home is no longer for sale because an offer has been accepted. However, this does not mean that the home purchase has been approved by the owner’s lender.

Contingent Probate

Probate is common when dealing with an estate after a death. Contingent probate means the lawyer will receive a portion of the estate in payment for completing the process.

Real Estate Terms: Contingent Vs. Pending

Although these terms have separate meanings, you may have heard contingent and pending used interchangeably when describing a listing. As mentioned above, an active contingent status means the seller has accepted an offer but hasn’t satisfied the specific requirements set in place by the buyers.

For a listing to change from contingent to pending, an offer must be accepted by the seller and all criteria and contingencies must be addressed. Unlike a contingent listing, pending deals are not considered active listings. A home will have a pending status until all legal work is completed.

The Bottom Line

If you fall in love with a contingent house, you now know you have the option to submit an offer. But keep in mind that you could end up with a more complicated home buying process or have to use contingencies in your own bid to protect your deposit. We recommend discussing all possible outcomes with your real estate agent before proceeding.

To learn more about the home buying process or how to get a Verified Approval letter, talk to a Home Loan Expert today and find out how you can get started.

Apply Online with Rocket Mortgage

Get approved with Rocket Mortgage® – and do it all online. You can get a real, customizable mortgage solution based on your unique financial situation.

Apply Online

Victoria Araj

Victoria Araj is a Section Editor for Rocket Mortgage and held roles in mortgage banking, public relations and more in her 15+ years with the company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in political science from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan.