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Navigating the Pending Status: What It Really Means for Home Buyers and Sellers

So, your new home purchase is on the horizon with a “pending” status—congratulations! You’ve successfully navigated inspections, negotiations, and the offer has been accepted. But what does “pending” really mean? In this article we will be shedding light on the intricacies and offering valuable insights for both buyers and sellers on the pending status in real estate.

Once a buyer’s offer is accepted, the home enters the contract stage. The buyer has inspections performed and can back out based on inspection results or negotiations. Properties can be “contingent under contract” and “taking backup offers,” if additional conditions exist beyond typical inspections, appraisals, and loan approvals. Once these contingencies are resolved, the home is considered “pending.” “You never know what can happen in real estate and you would be surprised the amount of money some people are okay with walking away from,” says Gwinn Volen with The Volen Group at Keller Williams Luxury International. “Just know that until the home has officially closed, anything can happen.”

The True Meaning of “Pending”

When a home is truly pending, all contingencies are met, and it’s just awaiting closing day. Sellers generally stop showing the home at this point. However, keep in mind that gray areas exist between these stages. If you’re uncertain about a home’s status it’s a good idea to talk to your agent for guidance or to make an inquiry on the home.

For buyers, a pending status signals the end of inspections and negotiations. This period is when serious planning for moving, changing addresses, and coordinating utilities takes place. While waiting, buyers must also handle paperwork and insurance assessment, critical for a seamless transition.

Exploring Back-up Offers

Sellers are encouraged to consider back-up offers, as they provide a safety net if the initial offer falls through. Back-up offers are viable only if the primary contract terminates, typically during inspection renegotiations. Offering over the list price might catch the seller’s attention, along with flexible terms and contingencies.

After pending, the deal can close, or buyers can back out (though they may lose their earnest money deposit). A deal can fall through if an agreement isn’t reached with the buyer, returning the home to active or available status. Exploring back-up offers streamlines this process, as you have an alternative offer waiting.

In the end, closing day marks the culmination of the journey—signing paperwork and securing the keys to your new home. Whether you’re a buyer or seller, understanding the nuances of the pending status streamlines the real estate experience.

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About the Author

Jenn Heller is the Operations Manager for The Volen Group, Keller Williams Luxury International, a top real estate team in Ponte Vedra Beach. Jenn has over 18 years experience in Real Estate all in Ponte Vedra Beach, she is an Atlantic Beach resident via Long Island, NY since 1991, a book worm, and loves sports, dogs and the beach.

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