What Does Pending Sale Mean?

Mike Capelle, Broker/OwnerMike Capelle, Broker/Owner

Many people assume that “sale pending” means that a property is no longer for sale. That’s not always the case. What does Pending Sale mean?

When a property goes from “for sale” to “sale pending”, it means that the property is under contract with a buyer. However, a typical real estate sales contract has a number of contingencies that must be satisfied before the sale can be closed. These can include various types of investigations and inspections, as well as bank appraisal and loan approval. Inspections can include a whole house inspection, pest (wood-destroying organisms) inspection, and well & septic system inspection and test. Investigations can include natural and environmental hazards and preliminary title report, as well as any other matters the buyer elects to investigate; for example, cost of insurance. If the buyer can’t get financing, or there’s an issue with the property that can’t be worked out to the satisfaction of all involved, the buyer has the right to exit the contract.

Some contingencies are property-related; others are related to the buyer’s ability to obtain financing. If a buyer backs out of or cannot fulfill a contract due to their own unique choices or circumstances, the property will come back onto the market as an active listing. The factors that caused an earlier agreement to be canceled may not apply to you. You may have qualifications as a buyer, or requirements for a property, that are different from those of another buyer. It can be in your interest to make your interest in a property known, whether it is “pending” or not. If a pending sale falls through, your Realtor can help you position yourself to be right there next in line.

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