You’ve come across a beautiful house and it looks picture perfect from the outside – mature trees, beautiful exterior, shiny windows, maybe even a small pond. You check the sign, wanting to give the realtor a call to schedule a tour but much to your chagrin you see a “Sale Pending” sign on to of the realtor card. Does this mean that the home is sold? Does this mean you shouldn’t bother trying to bid on this house? Let’s find out!
Subjects, Contingencies and Pendings, Oh My!
Anytime you see a “subject to” or “contingent upon” but in an ad, that means that the sale isn’t final. The seller can’t accept the buyer’s bid for real until they meet those terms – one of the most common of these is a financing contingency. If the buyer can’t get financing to buy the home, they’ll be off the hook and the seller can search for another buyer instead.
The Seller May Still Entertain Other Offers
But just because a home has an offer doesn’t mean it’s off the market. Sometimes the buyer could back out at the last minute. Sometimes the offer just falls through and they have to find another buyer – but it’s important to remember that once they enter the fulfillment period during the time the home is appraised, inspected or where they’re fulfilling a contingency, they won’t be able to entertain other offers.
What Does Sale Pending, Mean, Anyway?
If the seller is still trying to meet all of those terms before the buyer’s (or buyers!) offer is accepted, they won’t be able to entertain other offers. This means that you can’t swoop in with a better bid, skip the financing contingency or even just offer to put down an earnest money deposit to skip ahead in line. It all just depends on what province you reside in and what their rules are, so make sure you talk with your realtor before you get your hopes up!
But you CAN submit a bid, if you really want to. You may not see anything come of it, and you’ll have to go through an appraisal process, a home inspection to make sure if there are any lingering issues you can get them fixed up before the sale is final and slap that financing contingency onto the home so if your financing falls through, you’re not on the hook.
If You Really Want the Property, It’s Worth it
But if you really want to buy a property, it’s well worth it to explore all of your options. Don’t let that sale pending sign scare you away, especially if you’re willing to go the distance to own this home. Spend some time, talk to your realtor, find out what a reasonable expectation for this home will be maintenance wise, cost-wise, even just the amount of energy you’ll spend chasing it. If it’s had people locked in a bidding war for a few weeks, you might be better just walking away.