How to Determine if a Home is Available or is a Contingent Listing
Many of the homes that you see online are under contract, but not yet closed. You can determine if the seller of a home has accepted an offer by looking for the word “contingent” on the details page. If it does not appear, the home or condo is still available. The Financial notation of “Contingent” means that the home is under contract, but the closing is “contingent” on: inspections, HOA review, title work, bank approval (short sales) or buyer financing. Most sales of these “contingent” sales will close.
You will find this important information at the bottom of each search result:
While contingent homes are technically still “on the market”, they are often not available to show, especially if they are occupied. Short sales can remain in contingent status for months and often do return to active status if the buyer’s offer has expired or the bank counter offered at a higher price.
It may be possible to submit a “back-up” offer, although this does indicate to the seller that you are anxious to purchase the property. If multiple offers are submitted, the seller will usually ask for “highest & best” offer, which can bid up the cost beyond the original list price. The best strategy from a buyers perspective is to monitor listings closely and be prepared to act quickly on a new listing or a contingent property returning to the active market.