Contingent vs Pending, Explained

When you search the market for a new property, you’ll find buildings in many different states of activity. During the search process, you may find yourself asking, “what does contingent mean in real estate?” or “what does pending mean on a property?”


Understanding the difference between a contingent house and a pending property can help you rule out unavailable properties, identify those that are available to buy, and move forward with putting an offer towards your new home.


What does contingent mean on a house? Read on to find out.

The Difference Between Contingent vs Pending in Real Estate

What is contingent?

If a property is listed as contingent, it means that the seller has accepted an offer. However, they’ve decided to keep the listing active pending certain contingencies that must be met by the prospective buyer.

What is pending?

If a property is pending, all provisions have been met on a contingent listing, and the sale is currently being processed.


There are several common contingencies included by buyers when they offer to make a purchase. These can consist of financing contingencies and inspection contingencies (more details on these below). A pending status indicates that both the seller and their real estate agent are confident that the sale is close to closing.

Contingent Statuses


If you’re wondering, “what does contingent mean on a realtor listing?”, Contingent real estate has several common statuses, these include:

Short Sale Contingent

Short sale contingencies are when the seller indicates they’ll sell for less money than the amount owed on their mortgage. Short sale processes can be lengthy, and this type of contingency suggests that an offer has been accepted, and the home is no longer for sale.

Contingent Probate

A contingent probate status indicates that a property is for sale due to the property owner’s death.

Contingent – Continue To Show (CCS)

A CSS status implies that multiple contingencies need to be satisfied to guarantee a sale. In this case, offers will still be accepted by potential buyers until all the contingency criteria have been met.

Contingent – No Show

If you come across a contingent – no show, it means the seller has stopped showing the property and accepting offers.

Contingent – With Or Without A Kick-Out Clause

If a contingent status includes a kick-out clause, it indicates that there’s a deadline for a potential buyer to fulfill all contingencies. With no kick-out-clause, there’s no specific deadline in place.

Pending Statuses

To understand the question, “What does pending mean in real estate?” you’ll need to be savvy with these common pending statuses:

Pending Short Sale

Like Short Sale Contingent status, Pending Short Sale indicates that a property is nearing closure on its sale process. In such cases, it’s likely the property will not be accepting any backup offers.


Pending – More Than 4 Months

A Pending – More Than 4 Months status is automatically assigned to listings pending for over four months. This indicates that the sales process is taking longer than it should. Alternatively, the listing agent may have forgotten to change the status to ‘Sold’.

Pending –Taking Backups

A Pending – Taking Backups status means that the seller is still accepting backup offers and showing the property, even though the listing is pending.

Common Examples of Ways to Win

Now we’ve discussed the difference between pending and contingent and outlined some common statues attributed to both states, let’s look at some ways to win properties:


Ask your agent to contact the listing agent

Your agent can make inquiries into the present state of the contracted offer. Ask them to find out what inspections have taken place? Will they currently accept backup offers? And, how do both the buyer and seller currently feel about the deal? Use this information to your advantage.


Try making an offer without contingencies

Making an offer without contingencies or waiving contingencies can be attractive to sellers. It gives them the option to pressure their current buyer or set aside negotiations and drop their contingencies altogether.


Write a personal letter

If you’ve discovered your dream property, you could write a personal plea to its current owners. If they’re currently displeased with negotiations, sending a competitive offer alongside your letter could convince them to sell to you instead of present bidders.


Now that you understand the difference between contingent vs pending, you’re in a great position to start buying and selling properties. However, if you want to sell your home fast, our team of property experts can help.


We pay cash for single- and multi-family townhouses, houses, or apartment properties “as is” in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. In just five minutes, we can make you a cash offer using our advanced buying tools.


For a free, no-obligation estimate, call (855) 931-4635 or fill out this form on our website today.