What Does House Contingent Mean?

House hunting can be an exciting yet daunting experience. As you navigate through the real estate market, you might come across unfamiliar terms and jargon that leave you scratching your head. One such term is “house contingent. “ If you’ve ever wondered what it means to have a house listed as contingent, worry no more! Here, we will unravel the mystery behind this intriguing term and shed some light on its significance in the world of real estate.

Understanding House Contingency

What is a Contingency?

Let’s begin by defining what a contingency means in real estate. A contingency is essentially a condition or stipulation that must be met for a contract to proceed smoothly. It safeguards both parties involved in the transaction, ensuring protection against potential risks or uncertainties that may arise during the buying or selling process.

The Different Types of Contingencies

Real estate transactions involve various types of contingencies designed to address specific aspects of the deal. Some common contingencies include:

  1. Inspection Contingency: This allows buyers to conduct thorough inspections of the property.
  2. Financing Contingency: This ensures buyers secure adequate financing before completing the purchase.
  3. Appraisal Contingency: This requires an appraisal report indicating that the property value aligns with its sale price.
  4. Sale Contingency: This applies when buyers need to sell their current property before buying another.

These are just a few examples among many possible contingencies tailored to meet different circumstances and needs.

The Meaning behind “House Contingent”

Now that we have established what contingencies are let’s dive into understanding what it means specifically when a house is listed as “contingent” in online listings or on signboards outside properties.

When you see “house contingent”, it signifies that an offer has been made and accepted by the seller, but certain conditions have yet to be met. The house remains on the market as active, indicating that other potential buyers can still make offers.

Deciphering Different Contingent Labels

1. Active Contingent

An active contingent indicates that a buyer has made an offer, and the seller has accepted it, with specific contingencies attached to the transaction. These contingencies typically revolve around inspections, financing approvals, or pending sale of the buyer’s existing property.

2. Pending Contingency Removal

Once all the conditions outlined in the contingency are satisfied or waived by either party involved in the transaction, we transition from an active contingent status to a pending contingency removal stage. At this point, both parties have agreed on moving forward without any outstanding issues.

How Long Does a House Stay Contingent?

The duration a house stays in contingent status varies greatly depending on multiple factors such as location, market demand, complexity of contingencies involved, and negotiation between parties.

In some cases where contingencies are straightforward and quickly resolved – such as obtaining inspection reports or securing pre-approved financing – it might only take a few days for a house to move from being contingent to pending contingency removal.

On the contrary, complex contingencies, like waiting for an existing home sale before proceeding with purchase can delay things significantly—potentially prolonging a property’s stay in contingent status for weeks or even months.

Potential Implications of Buying a Contingent House

If you come across your dream house listed as contingent, it doesn’t mean you should give up hope! There are various scenarios that could work out positively for you:

  1. Backup Offers: You may still be able to submit backup offers while the initial offer is under contingent review.
  2. Unmet Contingency: Buyers sometimes fail to satisfy their contingencies, creating an opportunity for other buyers to step in and make their offer.
  3. Contingency Removal: If all the conditions are met by the initial buyer, but they fail to close the deal or back out, you might have a chance of securing the property.


To summarize, a house labeled as contingent means that an offer has been made and accepted but certain conditions must be met before proceeding with the transaction. Various types of contingencies exist in real estate, addressing factors such as inspections, financing, appraisals, or sale dependencies. A contingent house can transition into pending status once all contingencies are fulfilled or waived. The duration a house remains contingent depends on several factors and can range from a few days to months. Remember that being listed as contingent doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t have an opportunity for purchase; backup offers and unmet contingencies can work in your favor.

Now armed with this knowledge about house contingencies, go forth into the real estate market with confidence! Happy house hunting!


  1. Real Estate Glossary – The Balance (https://www. thebalance. com/real-estate-glossary-a-to-z-2866821)
  2. Realtor Magazine – Understanding Contingency Clauses (https://magazine. realtor/sales-and-marketing/handouts-for-customers/for-buyers/understand-contingency-clauses)
    Q: What does it mean when a house is listed as contingent?
    A: When a house is listed as contingent, it means that an offer has been accepted by the seller, but certain conditions or contingencies need to be met before the sale can proceed.

Q: What are some common contingencies in a real estate transaction?
A: Common contingencies include financing contingency (the buyer securing a loan), inspection contingency (satisfactory home inspection results), and appraisal contingency (the appraised value meeting or exceeding the purchase price).

Q: How long does a contingent status typically last?
A: The duration of a contingent status can vary. It depends on the terms agreed upon by the buyer and seller, as stated in their purchase agreement. Typically, contingencies are supposed to be resolved within a few weeks.

Q: Can I still make an offer on a house if it’s marked as contingent?
A: Yes, you can still make an offer on a house marked as contingent. However, if your offer is considered as a backup offer, it will only come into play if the current deal falls through.

Q: Can I visit and view a house that is under contingent status?
A: It is usually possible to visit and view a house that has entered into contingent status. Contacting the listing agent for scheduling arrangements would be advisable.

Q: What happens if all contingencies are not met during the specified timeframe?
A: If all contingencies are not met within the specified timeframe, either party may have the option to cancel or renegotiate the contract. This decision would depend on various factors mentioned in the purchase agreement.

Q. Is there any chance for negotiation after placing an offer while being aware of existing contingencies?
A. Negotiation may still be possible after placing an offer even with existing contingencies; however, this would ultimately depend on the seller’s willingness to negotiate considering their specific circumstances.

Q: How long does it take for a house to move from contingent status to pending or sold?
A: The time it takes for a house to move from contingent status to pending or sold can vary. It depends on how quickly the contingencies are fulfilled and if any issues arise during that process. Generally, this transition can occur within a few weeks or even shorter periods.

Q: Can a contingent offer be beaten by another non-contingent offer?
A: In certain cases, yes, a contingent offer could be beaten by another non-contingent offer. Sellers may prioritize offers without contingencies as they typically involve fewer complications and uncertainties.

Q: What happens if I find another home while waiting for contingencies to be met?
A: If you find another home while waiting for contingencies to be met on your initial offer, you may have options depending on the terms of your purchase agreement. You could potentially withdraw your original offer or pursue buying the second home instead – consulting with your real estate agent is advised in such situations.