Definition of "Contingent"

Mitzi Andrew real estate agent

Written by

Mitzi Andrewelite badge icon

Keller Willims Spring Hill

When we use the term contingent, we typically imply that something is dependent on another factor. Real estate contingencies make home selling, buying, or even inheriting a property conditional on a particular aspect or event coming true in the real estate industry. 

What are the most common and essential real estate contingencies?

We can define contingency in real estate in the following way. The buyer will purchase a home only if the seller can guarantee them specific conditions as a safety net. Usually, a contingency provides a seller or a buyer with an “escape plan,” a withdrawal from the real estate contract. Note that every US state has adapted various terms and understanding of real estate contingencies. Besides, each comes with well-defined contractual obligations and requirements!

What does a buyer’s contingent offer mean?

Buyers and sellers can similarly come up with contingencies. For instance, a buyer can place a contingent offer. In other words, they make purchasing a home contingent on them selling their present home first. Sometimes this contingency can be interpreted as entirely unfeasible, especially if they haven’t listed that house on the market yet. 

Let’s see the most prevalent contingent factors for a buyer when purchasing a home: finances, property appraisals, seller disclosures, and home inspections.

Selling a home is contingent on finances.

First and foremost, finances can become contingency if the buyer can secure a mortgage loan. If they can’t, they must back down from a contract. 

The mortgage lender issues a loan preapproval for the buyer before they can make an offer on a home. What happens if the buyer doesn’t provide accurate information on their credit score? Then the preapproval letter will lose its significance. Consequently, the contingency contract falls, and they have to withdraw from purchasing the property. The mortgage or loan contingency typically lasts 21 days.

A home appraisal is a vital contingency.

Secondly, the home must live up to and confirm the selling price at home appraisals. The lending institution will want to have the owner’s real estate appraised before giving a loan to the buyer. Suppose the seller isn’t delighted with the final results. In that case, they have the chance to dispute their home appraisals in some instances. 

Likewise, the buyer can purchase a house contingent on the property passing their inspections. The appraisal and inspection contingencies usually last 17 days. Afterward, the buyer must eliminate them by signing the removal of contingencies.  

Once parties can’t satisfy specific terms and conditions of a purchase contract, contingencies permit them to back out. After every contingency has been removed, there is no more safety net for the buyer, and they must pay or back down.

Buying property contingent on seller disclosure

Seller disclosure is also a significant real estate contingency. Essentially, a seller disclosure is the current owner’s statement about the property’s present condition revealing the faults to the buyer that they are aware of. Once the buyer finds an aspect they can’t accept, they can revoke the contract. Then, they get their deposit back, which is refundable for the buyer until the seller discloses all their contingencies. 

There is a certain period when buyers must remove all their contingent liabilities except for the loan contingency in every US state. For instance, it’s seventeen days until buyers can rescind a contract without any explanation in California. 

What does contingent real estate imply?

On home listings, you can often notice that a property has various listing statuses, one of them being contingent. Although the proprietor has accepted an offer, their contingent home can still actively be present in the housing market. Once its buyer dismisses certain contingencies set in the contingency agreement, they can purchase the property. Still, the seller can accept other offers in the meantime. However, the first buyer will enjoy the upper hand in buying the house. 

If you’re interested in buying a contingent property, contact professional local real estate agents in your neighborhood today! Thus, you can learn about the home’s actual contingencies and how to make a backup offer.

image of a real estate dictionary page

Have a question or comment?

We're here to help.

*** Your email address will remain confidential.


Popular Real Estate Terms

A fully amortized mortgage necessitating periodic payments of both interest and principal. In the early years of the loan, the share of principal is smaller and the interest larger, a ...

Basis for the valuation of property acquired from a decedent for tax purposes. The unified transfer tax in 1976 provides for the valuation of property to be the adjusted basis immediately ...

A federal act requiring potential purchasers and lessees of undeveloped land be provide with all necessary information required to make an informed decision regarding the desirability of ...

Tax credit aimed at encouraging the conservation of natural resources, as well as the development of alternative resource. ...

Also called demand note. A loan with no established maturity period, callable on demand by the lender for repayment. The interest on this type of loan is calculated on a daily basis and ...

Covering studs on the outside. ...

Monies set aside in the event unexpected repairs are needed to a building or apartment. It may be in the form of an escrow account in which the seller of the property puts funds away if ...

The term adjacent property, naturally, refers to a property’s position regarding other properties close to it. The adjacent property meaning is different from the term adjoining ...

The capital expenditure definition is an evaluation method of investments that a company of any kind, including real estate developments, makes to maintain or upgrade tangible assets. These ...

Popular Real Estate Questions