Perhaps you’ve driven by a real estate sign before that has an additional sign tacked onto the top of the post saying, “sale pending”, but what does this actually mean and what happens if you love the house and are thinking about buying the home yourself? But what does it mean when the property is pending?Can I Make an Offer on a Pending Sale?

A pending home sale takes place after the seller has accepted an offer from the buyer of the property is under a contract between the parties. During the negotiations on the initial offer, the property is not pending but simply has an “accepted offer”. When a home is pending, it’s typically no longer considered an active listing as at this point, the timeframe is simply running down to closing as long as all contingencies and addendums are met. However, depending on where you are in the country, the term “pending” can mean different things. In some cases, this could include the due diligence period, where the property undergoes an inspection and title check.

In other markets, pending could start after that due diligence phase. However, pending home sales usually are an indicator of market activity and that the home is no longer active, but what if the buyer really wants to make an offer? Well the opportunity is not great, it’s not impossible either. The home is technically not sold yet so there could be a chance that you could buy the home. There are several ways to go about this:

Talk to the listing agent.

Have your buyer’s agent talk to the listing agent about the possibility of a backup offer. Perhaps the original offer doesn’t look that solid and the seller wants to see if anyone else is interested in the property. While they legally cannot just drop the existing offer and go with the new offer, they can keep it in their back pocket as an option should the first transaction fall through.

Contingent sale.

If the contract between buyer and seller is contingent upon the buyer selling their current home, a backup offer is typically accepted. The buyer of the home has a certain amount of time to sell their existing home and if they don’t sell within that timeframe, the backup offer can be considered. Contingent buyer can be “bumped” if another, noncontingent buyers submits an acceptable offer.

Read More: This is why being pre-approved before submitting an offer is the best plan

Guardian sale.

Although very uncommon, sellers can become incapacitated and a court-appointed guardian is assigned to handle their financial affairs. This Guardian may sell the real estate, but the transaction lightly requires court approval. Guardian laws can allow for a second buyer to “bump” the original buyer within certain time frames if the second offers sufficiently better than the first.

Granted, these are unusual circumstances but not impossible. If you truly love a home even if it says sale pending, opening dialogue and conversation about the possibility of a backup offer is not that uncommon. Transactions do fall through all the time, typically because of an unsatisfactory inspection, the buyer’s finances, or simply buyer’s remorse, see you never know when you might get an opportunity to buy the home of your dreams.

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