In the world of online real estate searches, it can be easy to fall in love with a house before realizing that the property reads “pending sale”. Many homebuyers see a listing and assume that the property is unavailable, when in actuality that may not be the case. “Sale pending” can mean a few different things depending on how the market works for your area.
Understanding the basic real estate transaction process helps to understand what exactly a pending sale means. When someone chooses to buy a home, they make an offer “contingent upon” certain factors. This can be the completion of a property inspection, a bank appraisal, or loan approval. If there is an issue with the inspection or the buyer cannot get financial backing, the buyer has a right to exit the contract. After an offer has been made, the buyer typically has about 3 weeks to get the inspection, appraisal, and the loan approval.
Although the sale is not a “done deal,” the seller is not able to enter any agreements with another buyer while these processes are being completed. Another buyer, however, is able to submit a “backup offer.” A backup offer functions as a backup plan in case the first offer falls though and the transaction never takes place. Some listings classified as “sale pending” may include transactions where all contingencies have been removed. This means the buyer’s loan has been approved and both the inspection and appraisal have taken place. In this case, the only thing left would be to move toward closing. This may take up to a few weeks, and technically the sale is still pending.
Even though all contingencies have been removed, there is still a slight chance that the buyer may exit the deal. The buyer will not become the owner until the property is closed and the deed is recorded. Until this happens, a buyer may still need to back out in a case of emergency or if they risk losing the earnest money deposit. Falling in love with a pending property may not mean a dead-end for you. Find out about the status of the property and whether or not it is possible to make an offer at this point. You may also want to find out more information such as if they buyer has had any previous inspections and if there have been any real issues thus far.
The best thing to do when a home you are interested in is pending is to put that property on the back burner and keep up your search. If you truly would like to pursue the home, make your interest known and find out the information you need. The only next step is to wait and see what happens with the current sale.
Source: Zillow Blog