What Does A Contingent Home Mean?

Understanding the Basics of a Contingent Home

If you’re in the market to purchase a new home, you may have come across the term “contingent home” during your search. But what exactly does it mean? Essentially, a contingent home refers to a property that is under contract but remains conditional on certain conditions being met. These conditions typically involve the sale or completion of another property by the buyer before finalizing their purchase.

The Nitty-Gritty: How Does It Work?

Now that we’ve established just what a contingent home is, let’s dive into its inner workings. When a homeowner puts their house on the market and accepts an offer from a potential buyer, they may include specific contingencies within the contract. These contingencies allow either party to back out or renegotiate if certain conditions aren’t met.

Types of Contingencies

Contingencies can vary depending on various factors such as location and local housing market norms. However, there are some common types of contingencies that buyers tend to include:

  1. Home Inspection Contingency: This contingency allows the buyer to conduct a professional inspection of the property and negotiate repairs with the seller if significant issues are discovered.
  2. Appraisal Contingency: In this scenario, if an appraisal comes back lower than expected, buyers can choose whether to proceed with purchasing at the agreed price or renegotiate with sellers.
  3. Financing Contingency: A financing contingency ensures that buyers have sufficient time to secure proper funding for their mortgage loan based on specific terms outlined in the contract.

Unpacking Different Scenarios

While encountering unfamiliar real estate jargon like contingent homes might initially seem intimidating, fret not! Let’s explore some possible scenarios involving contingent homes through relatable examples:

Scenario 1: Buyer Waiting for Existing Property Sale

Imagine you’ve found the perfect dream home but still haven’t sold your current house. In this case, you could make an offer on the new property with a contingency specifying that the sale will proceed only once your existing home is successfully sold.

Scenario 2: Seller Demanding Removal of Contingency

Now let’s consider things from a seller’s perspective. You’re selling your house, and an eager buyer promptly makes an offer contingent on them obtaining financing within 30 days. However, as the seller, you receive another offer without any contingencies. Naturally, you might want to request that the initial buyer removes their financing contingency or risk losing out to a more secure sale.

The Pros and Cons of Contingent Homes

As with any aspect of real estate transactions, there are pros and cons to consider when dealing with contingent homes. Let’s weigh them up:


  • Reduced Financial Burden: By including contingencies in the contract, buyers can protect themselves from potentially purchasing two properties simultaneously.
  • Flexibility: Sellers may be more willing to accept lower offers due to included contingencies if they’re confident in their ability to sell quickly.


  • Risk of Delays or Withdrawals: Buyers who have made offers on contingent homes must be prepared for potential delays or even withdrawals if conditions aren’t met within specific timeframes.
  • Potential Loss of Other Opportunities: While waiting for contingencies to be fulfilled, buyers might miss out on other desirable properties hitting the market.

The Roadmap Towards Closing the Deal

A contingent home can introduce additional layers of complexity into what is already considered one of life’s most significant transactions. To navigate these intricacies successfully, it’s essential to follow a roadmap towards closing the deal smoothly:

Steps Involved in Purchasing a Contingent Home

  1. Get Pre-approved: Before searching for homes or making offers, it’s crucial to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will help establish your budget and strengthen your position when negotiating.
  2. Search for Contingent Homes: Browse real estate listings or work with a reliable agent who can guide you toward contingent homes that align with your needs.
  3. Submit an Offer: Once you find a suitable property, consult with your agent to draft and submit an offer that includes appropriate contingencies tailored to the specific scenario.
  4. Negotiate Terms: The seller may accept your offer as is or propose counteroffers based on their preferences. Negotiations may involve adjusting contingencies, price, or other terms outlined in the contract.
  5. Meet Contingency Requirements: If conditions are met within specified timeframes, such as home inspections or appraisals, proceed to satisfy any remaining requirements of the contingency.
  6. Await Final Approval Once all contingencies are fulfilled and satisfied by both parties involved, await final approval from any necessary entities such as lenders or attorneys.
  7. Closing Time!: Finally, upon meeting all obligations set forth in the contract and receiving approval from required stakeholders, you’re ready to close the deal and become a proud new homeowner!

Table 1: Pros and Cons of Contingent Homes

Pros Cons
Reduced Financial Burden Risk of Delays or Withdrawals
Flexibility Potential Loss of Other Opportunities

The Bottom Line

In summary, buying or selling a contingent home involves navigating through specific conditions before completing the transaction successfully. As a buyer, ensure you understand each contingency included in the contract thoroughly before committing yourself financially.

Remember: Do not count your chickens before they hatch! Be prepared for potential hurdles along the way but remain focused on closing day—the day when keys finally land in your hands and your dream of homeownership becomes a reality.

Key Takeaways

  • A contingent home is a property under contract but still subject to certain conditions being met.
  • Common contingencies include the sale of the buyer’s existing property, home inspections, appraisals, and financing approvals.
  • Contingent homes offer flexibility for both buyers and sellers but can also involve delays or potential loss of other opportunities.
  • To successfully navigate the process, ensure you understand each contingency in your contract and follow a roadmap towards closing day with diligence.

FAQ: What Does A Contingent Home Mean?

Q: What is a contingent home?

A: A contingent home refers to a property that has an accepted offer but the sale depends on specific conditions being met. These conditions can include the buyer selling their existing home, obtaining financing, or passing inspections.

Q: Can I still make an offer on a contingent home?

A: Yes, you can make an offer on a contingent home even if it has already received an accepted offer. However, your offer will be considered as a backup in case the current deal falls through.

Q: How long does a contingency last?

A: The duration of a contingency period varies and depends on factors such as local real estate practices and negotiation between the buyer and seller. It typically ranges from 30 to 60 days but can be longer or shorter depending on the agreed terms.

Q: What happens if the contingencies are not met?

A: If the contingencies outlined in the purchase agreement are not met within the specified time frame, either party (buyer or seller) may have the right to terminate the contract. This means that either party can back out of the deal without any legal repercussions.

Q: Is buying a contingent home risky?

A: Buying a contingent home comes with some degree of risk since there’s no guarantee that all conditions will be satisfied. It’s essential for buyers to weigh potential risks and benefits carefully before proceeding with purchasing such properties.

Q: Can I sell my own house while trying to buy one with contingencies?

A: Yes, it is possible to sell your own house while simultaneously attempting to purchase another property with contingencies; however, it can complicate your situation. With multiple transactions dependent upon each other, careful planning and coordination are required among all parties involved.

Q: Are there any advantages for buyers when considering contingent homes?

A: There could be advantages to buying a contingent home. For example, if the buyer’s financial situation is stable and they have flexible timing, it can allow them to secure a property in a competitive market without rushing to sell their current home first.

Q: Can sellers accept multiple offers on a contingent home?

A: In most cases, sellers can continue to accept backup offers even after accepting an initial offer on a contingent home. This helps protect their interests in case the primary deal falls through.

Q: Are all contingencies related to selling another property?

A: No, contingencies can encompass various conditions beyond just selling another property. They may involve financing approval, home inspections, repairs, or other specific requirements agreed upon by the buyer and seller.

Q: What happens when all contingencies are met?

A: When all contingencies outlined in the purchase agreement are satisfied within the specified time frame, both parties proceed towards closing the sale. The transaction moves forward as planned, and ownership of the property typically transfers from seller to buyer.