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In this new blog we will delve into the terms of contingent vs. pending in real estate. A recurring theme in the real estate market.

If you need help with other real estate matters and processes, do not hesitate to contact our NJ real estate attorney.



Understanding The Differences Of Contingent Vs. Pending In The Real Estate Market of New Jersey in 2024

The main difference between a property classified as contingent vs one classified as pending in real estate terms lies in how many things still need to happen to close its sale. This means the following:

  1. On a property listed as contingent, the seller accepted the offer, but has chosen to keep their property on the market. This occurs because the potential buyer does not meet certain contingencies or still has them active, and;
  2. A pending property is when all the provisions regarding that property have been successfully fulfilled and the sale is already in process.

Contingencies are also available for home buyers to include in their purchase offers. For example, a home inspection contingency in New Jersey. This will allow an inspector to evaluate the status of the property.

That said, should the inspector determine structural problems with that property, the buyer will have the opportunity to negotiate costs or cancel their purchase.

new jersey home appraisal

Other common contingencies in the Garden State include a mortgage contingency and a NJ home appraisal contingency .

Most Common Types Of Contingency Status

In order to understand the difference between contingent vs. pending you must know that there are different types of contingencies in the real estate area. Additionally, each of these have a slightly different meaning. Next, we will show some of the most common types of contingencies:

Contingent: Continue To show (CCS Or CTS)

In some cases, certain contingencies may need to be met when the active listing is marked as:

  1. Contingent: Continue to show , or
  2. CCS (Also called CTS) .

If this is the case, the seller or real estate agent has decided to continue showing the property, and may even accept a better offer from another buyer.

This practice is often common when it comes to selling a house in New Jersey. Therefore, to avoid the offer being overlooked, the buyer will have numerous ways to prove to the seller that their intention to purchase the property is genuine.

This usually requires:

  1. A prior approval for any type of mortgage loans, or
  2. Earnest money deposit.

It is important to contact a real estate agent who can examine the housing supply and determine the best ways to strengthen it.

contingent vs pending housing

Likewise, on our blog, we have several articles focused on real estate mortgages in New Jersey. Therefore, we invite you to read the following topics:

Contingent – ​​With Or Without a Kick-Out Clause

A kick-out clause means that there is a deadline to meet all contingencies. However, without this clause, there will be no set deadline. 

As a result, the seller will be able to take his time to enforce all of the contingencies that have been listed in the purchase offer.

Contingent Probate

If the owner of the property has died, then the government or bank that financed the property will step in to sell it. Therefore, legalization goes through the courts and that information will be public.

Contingent – ​​Short Sale

A short sale is when the seller (bank or mortgage lender) has accepted less money than is owed on the mortgage. This process can often take several months to complete.

All of this means that the house will no longer be for sale due to an accepted offer, but the short sale will still be in process. 

Contingent – ​​No Show

In these scenarios, the seller has decided to:

  1. No longer display the property, or
  2. Accept other offers.

Under this status, it means that, although not all contingencies have been met, the seller is confident that they will be met. 

Most Common Types Of Pending Statuses

The “pending” status is one more step to complete the entire process of buying or selling a property. Although this is good news for both parties, it does not necessarily mean that the sale is ready. 

All this is because there are several types of pending statuses that can affect the process:

Pending – More Than 4 Months

If this appears, it means that there is a fault or user error, so a listing has remained in “pending” status for more than 4 months. This usually occurs because:

  1. The listing agent forgot to update the listing from “pending” to “sold” after the sale was completed, or
  2. It means that something in the sales process is delaying the final step to “sold.” For example, there are new negotiations that are being evaluated. 
time is of the essence in real estate

It is important to always have an expert in the field by your side, since time is of the essence in real estate. So we recommend that those interested not try to navigate these topics on their own, but rather contact experts beforehand. 

Pending Short Sale

Pending short sale means the property is in the middle of a sales process with the mortgage holder. During this status, the property is likely further along in the process and will not accept further offers.

Pending – Backup Offer

Backup offers indicate that even though the real estate listing is still pending, the seller is still showing their home and accepting a backup offer. These types of offers are used as a backup in case the first offer fails for any reason. 

Can I Make An Offer On A Contingent Property?

In some cases, it is possible to bid on a property under “contingent” status. While the initial offer will take priority over others, making an offer could put the potential buyer at the head of the line if the original deal doesn’t meet the requirements.

contingent vs pending in new jersey

Likewise, it should be taken into account that an attractive offer must be sent so that the seller can decide. This means that if a contingent offer is planned, the seller can opt for someone who has submitted an offer:

  1. In cash, or
  2. Not contingent.

Additionally, it is crucial to be pre-approved for a home loan. This will allow you to show the seller that you are serious about purchasing the property. 

For more information on the home buying processes in the Garden State, check our publications:

Can I Make An Offer On A Pending Property?

Legally, nothing prevents buyers from bidding on a pending home. However, it must be taken into account that this type of property is already in a more advanced process than a contingent one. 

  • As if that were not enough, everything will depend on the individual owner and the real estate agent to decide whether or not to accept new offers. 
  • That said, it is possibly best to contact a good attorney to see if such offers are still worth making.
  • It should be noted that it is not common for a home sale to fail once it reaches any of these statuses. 

In fact, according to the Confidence Index Survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, about 6% of contracts are canceled. 

Different Contingencies That Can Be Agreed Between The Buyer And The Seller

There are a number of different contingencies that can be agreed upon between buyers and sellers. These are:


An inspection contingency means that the sale of the property is dependent on a home inspection and the final results of the inspection. These inspections may reveal certain flaws in the property that were not previously discovered.


Once the property has been inspected comes the appraisal contingency, which means the sale of the home will be made based on an appraiser’s report. The appraiser will inspect the property and compare it with other comparable properties.

Thanks to this comparison, the value of the property can be determined. Additionally, lenders often rely on the size of the mortgage for the appraisal.


There are financing contingencies that mean that the sale is made if the buyer can:

  1. Get a loan, or
  2. Get a large enough loan.

However, not getting a mortgage approval is one of the main reasons why home sales fail according to the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA). 


Last but not least, we have the transfer of title to the property. This is the core of real estate conveyance, meaning that if anything interferes with the marketable title in real estate, the buyer can walk away. 

To learn more about the subject of the property title, deed and its transfer, on our blog you can find different topics:

Property Sale

Some real estate transactions may be a matter of timing, as when a buyer purchases a new property, they will also need to sell their old one.

So, a contingency for the sale of one property by the buyer allows the sale to be contingent on the sale of the other property. If the buyer of the new property cannot find a buyer for the old home, the transaction may be canceled. 

home buyer and seller contingencies

Ways To Win A Property Before It Becomes Contingent Or Pending

Potential home buyers are encouraged to view a wide variety of homes before submitting offers that are listed as:

  1. Contingents, or
  2. Pending.

A simple way to do this is to search for properties through a real estate search engine. For example, Redfin or Zillow. Now, other tips are:

Ask The Real Estate Professional To Speak With The Respective Agent

It is important to know the current status of the offer. Therefore, it is crucial that only an expert in this matter determines whether it is really worth buying that property or not.

Consider Making An Offer Without Contingencies

Although this can be risky, waiving contingencies or making an offer without them may be attractive to sellers. However, all this depends on the contract that has been established.

Write A Personal Letter

If there is a house classified as contingent or pending, it does not hurt to write a personal request to the owners of said homes. This will be regardless of the posted status or what the real estate agent says.

This can help in cases where the owner is not satisfied with the negotiations. As a result, sending a compelling offer with a letter could give you an advantage over other potential buyers. 

How Long Does It Take To Purchase A Contingent Or Pending Property?

Typically, when making an offer on a property, the buyer will be able to specify a date and time to close and finance the real estate transfer. This is known as the “closing date.”

Knowing this, the closing date can be any time within a reasonable time, but most individuals choose dates between 30 and 45 days.

Contingent Vs. Pending FAQ Pending In The Real Estate Area

Can a seller withdraw from a contingent offer?

Depending on the terms of the contract, it is possible for the seller to back out of a contingent offer. However, it all depends on the contract. For example, the contract must have a contingency that allows the seller to cancel the deal.

Does pending mean sold?

This usually doesn’t mean it’s already sold. The significant thing about pending is that the seller has a signed contract with a buyer for the sale of the property, but that it is not yet final. 

Is it worth considering a house that is contingent?

A home listed as contingent may be worth it, but the first deal may fall through and a backup buyer may end up purchasing the property.

Which is better, contingent or pending?

Even though both properties are already under contract, those listed as contingent are often more likely to return to the market. This is because they are at an earlier stage of the real estate process. 

Although some individuals already master certain terms, such as contingent vs. pending in real estate matters, figuring out what to do with this information can be quite confusing.

Only an experienced real estate agent or attorney can help interested parties navigate all the complex real estate processes.