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Real Estate Defined: What a Contingent Offer Means

Posted by Hanna Selman on July 12, 2021
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What a Contingent Offer Means

You’ve bought a new home—or someone’s purchased your old one. Now, everything is good to go—knock on wood! However, if a contingent offer is in progress, the process changes a bit. Never heard of the phrase? We’ll fill you in on what a contingent offer means.

What is a contingent offer?

You may remember our earlier blog, which talked about homes under contract and homes with offers pending. This topic falls under that umbrella!

A contingent offer starts when a buyer puts in an offer on a house. In order to qualify, the offer must also be given the green light by the seller. However, a contingent offer differs from regular offers in a key aspect: it requires a specific action to occur. If that action doesn’t happen, neither does the sale.

Types of contingent offers

Now that you know what a contingent offer means, let’s explore the different kinds. If you make a contingent offer, it will fall under three categories: mortgage approval, appraisal, and home inspection. Each varies—but their completion remains crucial to the sale.

Mortgage approval

Take it to the bank! This type of contingent offer means you still need money for your loan. And while the sellers may give you that time, after the specified window passes, they may go with another attractive offer.

One way to clear this roadblock? Getting preapproved!


Are you paying too much for your home? If so, you’ll lose quite a bit—and that happens before interest rates get factored in. You can always ask the seller for a third-party appraisal first. Or, if you as a seller want to back up the cost with data, you might request the appraisal.

Either way, this step can protect your hard-earned money. Not to mention, it can allow you to pay off your mortgage sooner.

Home inspection

We can’t stress this enough: you should always request a home inspection. As a seller, it will give you peace of mind that your buyers will have a safe place to live. And as a buyer, it can save you from dangerous health complications, injury, or expensive damages. So, while you may not want to wait, know that you will never regret this option long-term.

Additionally, don’t let disappointment defeat you if you find that the property needs repairs. You can ask the seller to fix those areas before you officially send in your payment. Then, they’ll just add it to your price. On the other hand, you can agree to pay for the repairs yourself, as long as they remove the cost from your offer.

This sounds complicated—but your Realtor can help with negotiations. He or she can discuss the options with you and the seller. That way, you can come to an agreement where everyone wins.


We know what a contingent offer means: that you’re one step closer to your home sweet home. The question is—have you found a knowledgeable, experienced Realtor to guide you on your journey? Ryan Roberts has the capabilities to help you from touring, to closing, to moving. Contact him here to begin! You can also read our blog for more on helpful guides and information.