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Top 7 FAQs About What Sale Pending Means in Real Estate

Can I make an offer on a house that is pending? What is the difference between a pending sale and under contract? We’ve got all the answers you need about sale pending properties.
Can I make an offer on a house that is pending? What is the difference between a pending sale and under contract? We’ve got all the answers you need about sale pending properties.

Every now and then, you may see a “Sale Pending” sign in front of a house while driving around a neighborhood. This catches people’s attention because you assume a house is either available or it isn’t. Sale pending sounds like some kind of limbo state, and in a way it is.


Here’s what you need to know about sale pending properties.

What Does It Mean When a House Is Listed as Pending?

If a house is listed as pending, that means that the owner has accepted an offer for it. The necessary paperwork has been signed, inspections have been carried out, and the two parties have agreed on a purchase price.

What hasn’t happened, however, is the deal being closed. That may be due to certain contingencies still being in play or delay in financing which delayed closing. This prevents the completion of the sale and the terms of the escrow account from being fulfilled.

Can You Put an Offer on a House That Is Pending?

A house that is sales pending has a buyer whose offer has been accepted. However, the deal is still in its closing stages. As a result, it is still open to the market and buyers are free to make an offer for such a home.

It isn’t uncommon for sellers to continue to accept offers when their house is listed as pending. There are various reasons why a pending sale could fall through. As a result, sellers keep their options open and buyers can take advantage of this situation to make an offer.

Can a Realtor Show a House That Is Pending?

Only a seller can decide to continue showing a home while it’s pending. There is nothing that prevents a seller from seeing what other buyers offer for their property. But in most cases, realtors aren’t actively looking for people to show it to.

There are certain signs to look for to know if you’re dealing with a pending listing. Agents usually label such sales as “active with conditions,” which conveys that there is a deal signed for the property that is awaiting closing.

What Is the Difference Between Pending and Contingent?

A sale pending property is one that is in the process of closing. All other conditions have been met and it is only the closing that has stalled. There are a number of different reasons why this delay may have occurred.

A contingent contract is one that mentions certain clauses based on which either party could back out of a deal in case of unforeseen circumstances. Buyers may make their offer contingent on their ability to get a loan or the house passing an inspection satisfactorily. Sellers may say that the contract can be nullified if they don’t find a home for themselves in time.

So while a sale pending home is essentially in the process of closing, meeting every contingency listed in the contract is the only way to proceed with a contingent offer.

What Is the Difference Between Sale Pending and Under Contract?

Sellers sign a contract after a buyer makes an offer and the offer is accepted. At this stage, the house is considered to be under contract.

After the contract is signed, an earnest money deposit is made, inspections are carried out, and the property is appraised. It is at this juncture that a house may be labeled as a pending sale due to some unforeseen circumstances.

How Do I Buy a Sale Pending Home?

Homes that are pending can be scooped up by buyers if the deal falls through. Since the owner of such a home has already been on the market and received offers, they already know what the demand for their property is like. So buyers have to make a competitive offer in order to have a chance to buy a home that’s pending for sale.

A mortgage pre-approval can help you get ahead of other buyers in this situation. Sellers don’t want another deal to fall through and showing that you have the ability to raise the required funds helps your cause. You can also include a personal note to the owner in your offer to increase your chances of buying a sale pending property.

Why Do Sale Pending Deals Fall Through?

It is possible for sale pending deals to fall through. There are a variety of reasons why that could happen.

One of the reasons such deals fall through is as the result of an inspection. In most cases, buyers will try to renegotiate the deal if an inspection surfaces a major defect with the property. However, there are certain cases where buyers back out of the deal entirely after an inspection is conducted.

Another way sale pending deals fall apart is the buyer finding out about a lien on the property. This usually comes up when a title search is carried out and is an obvious deal breaker for the buyer.

If you tried to buy a home and the deal fell through before closing, a Clever Partner Agent can help. They’ll find you another great home that meets all your needs. Plus, they’ll provide a Home Buyer Rebate of $1,000 on homes over $150,000 or up to 1% on homes over $500,000. Connect with a Clever Partner Agent today.


Reuven Shechter

Reuven Shechter is the Outreach Coordinator at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents to help save on commission. He spreads the word about Clever, disseminating studies to journalists and developing relationships with media outlets. Reuven is passionate about investing in real estate and creating lasting success for families. His writing has been featured in Max Real Estate Exposure, Leverage Marketing, and more.

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