Articles and Advice

What Does Sale Pending Mean?

When is a real estate deal truly done, and when is the last possible moment that you can make an offer on a home you love?

Ask any experienced real estate agent, and they'll tell you that the deal is never really done until closing is complete. So a home that is classified as a "pending sale" may be very far along in the process, but the deal has not been closed.

While the seller cannot enter into a contract with you while still in a contract with another buyer, there are advantages to making an offer on a property that's pending sale when looking to buy a home, and being prepared with a strong offer means you'll be ready to pounce if for any reason the original deal doesn't close.

Pending Sale? You Can Still Make an Offer on Your Dream Home

When a home is classified as pending sale, the buyer and seller have gone a long way toward completing an agreement. A pending sale means that contingencies have mostly been met, contracts have been signed, escrow requirements have been fulfilled, and the transaction is simply awaiting the final steps of the closing process. There are a few key factors to consider when deciding whether to try to buy a home that is pending sale:

  • A pending sale is not a done deal, so you can absolutely make an offer while a home is pending.

  • It's still possible for contingencies to go unmet, financing to fall through, or other unforeseen issues to derail the sale, and if the original deal goes south, making an offer will put you in a position to capitalize.

  • A pending sale means that the buyer and seller have entered into a contract, which means that the seller cannot break that contract just because you decide to come in with a better offer.

  • The seller is prohibited from entering into a contract to sell the home to you while still in contract with another buyer. While some agents will still say their client is listening to offers while the home is pending sale, a contract is a contract.

  • It's not just financing and contingencies that can derail a sale at the last minute. While it's rare, sometimes the buyer will decide not to buy a home just before closing rather than the seller. In those cases, being prepared with a great offer may help you land a quick sale. Just make sure to learn what you can about why the original buyer backed out.

  • While you can't simply swoop in with a better offer on a pending sale, you can set yourself up to be first in line if the original buyer is unable to close the deal. Just remember that the seller won't be able to act on your offer unless the pending sale falls through.

  • If you're the one selling a home, remember that the same concepts apply. The deal isn't done until it's done, so it's not a bad idea to find out what other options are out there — just in case.

In the end, making an offer on a home that's pending sale is certainly possible and may even allow you to buy a home that you love. It's important to remember, however, that making an offer on a pending sale is not the most likely way to land a home. It may be worth the effort if you truly love the home because there is always a possibility that the original deal will fall through, leaving you first in line to purchase the home.

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Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 02/08/2023. The listing information on this page last changed on 02/08/2023. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of Iowa Great Lakes MLS (last updated Tue 02/07/2023 10:15:58 PM EST) or Sioux City MLS (last updated Tue 02/07/2023 10:03:35 PM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than United Real Estate Solutions may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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