What’s a Contingency?

I get this question a lot. What does it mean when a house is “contingent”? It could mean several things.

Typically, a buyer will write an offer on a house but it will be “contingent” on something. It could be contingent on the buyer selling their own house before they can purchase the next one. It could mean that the buyer wants to have an inspection on the house, so the offer that the seller accepted is “contingent” on the buyer having an inspection and buyer and seller agreeing on any necessary repairs.

The most common contingency is financing. The buyer agrees to purchase the house and the seller agrees to sell it, but it is “contingent” on the buyer securing financing to purchase.

It’s also possible that there is more than one contingency in the offer to purchase. For instance, the offer is contingent on an inspection and financing.

The bottomline is that when a house is “contingent”, it means there are still hurdles the buyer and seller must get over before they can successfully close.