What's the difference between active under contract and pending sale?

Real Estate

What's the difference between active under contract and pending sale?

When it comes to buying or selling real estate, several industry terms get tossed around frequently — "contingency," "buyers market," and "closing costs." While you may have heard of them before, navigating the housing market when shopping for a home can be challenging. 

In the following sections, we will focus on two standard terms — active under contract and pending sale — and what they mean in the home purchasing process.

What does active under contract mean?

As you look through properties, you may see a listing labeled "active under contract." While it may sound like the house is off the market, the truth is that homes with the active under contract label often allow potential buyers to tour the home and submit backup offers. 

In most instances, buyers need to meet a set of contingencies before the property can proceed to the "pending sale" phase. Should the contingencies not be completed or the initial offer fall through, the seller will look at backup offers. 

So, if you view a property that has yet to move past the active under contract stage, it's worth submitting an offer if you fall in love with the house. 

What does pending sale mean?

While the pending sale designation doesn't mean the property is off the market entirely, it typically means the seller is closer to finalizing a deal than in the active under contract stage. 

With the pending sale, the property is no longer available to tour, and often, the seller or their agent won't entertain additional backup offers. However, it's important to keep an eye on these properties as there is a chance the deal might fall through during the transaction process. 

Can you put an offer in on a home that is active under contract or pending sale?

For homes that are active under contract, it's possible to submit an offer to the seller's agent. However, it's important to note that these offers will be considered "backup offers" and generally only be looked at if the first buyer's proposal doesn't work out. 

If a home has the pending sale label, then the likelihood the seller will accept another offer is slim. Although, it's worth keeping an eye on the property to ensure it does close and nothing happens throughout the final transaction process. 

Working with a real estate firm to navigate the housing market

Home buying can seem daunting, especially if you're looking for your first home or haven't bought real estate recently. Often working with an experienced team of real estate professionals will help ensure you have the best opportunity to land the house of your dreams.

For more information on how Melody can help you find a new place to call home, call us! 949-401-7033


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