What Does the Term "Pending" Mean on a Home Sale?

Published on December 2, 2021 under First-Time Home Buyers

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Purchasing a new home is a very exciting experience, but it is also something that most people will only do a handful of times in their life. When they are not actively pursuing a home purchase, they are unlikely to spend much time thinking about what the various aspects of real estate sales entail, and thus, many end up confused by some of the terms thrown at them when they are preparing to make their purchase. Therefore, we want to cover the question about what the term "pending" means in relation to a home sale.

What Exactly Does Pending Mean?

A home that is listed in "pending" status is right on the goal line of being sold. It can be thought of as circling the drain towards a sale, but it is not quite finalized at this point. For a home to reach this status, the following is generally true:

  • The buyer has submitted an offer to buy the home
  • The seller has accepted the submitted offer (perhaps after some rounds of negotiation)
  • The final paperwork is being put together to help move this home into a sold status

It is important to note that there are a handful of other rare situations when a seller may list a home as pending even if it does not meet the above criteria. Thus, those who are looking at purchasing a home that is listed as pending shouldn't necessarily give up all hope. They can at least submit an inquiry about its true status at the very least.

Is It Possible for Others to Bid on a Home in Pending Status?

The door is not closed for other people to submit a bid or offer on a home that is in a pending status, but it is not often fruitful. The pending status indicates that the seller has begun the steps necessary to enter into a contract with the other buyer to complete the sale of their home. They don't have much of an incentive to entertain other offers unless those other offers are well above the amount that the first buyer has put up, to begin with. Since this is rarely the case, a home in pending status is very close to being off the market entirely.

What Stage of the Buying Process Does Pending Fall Under?

When a home has reached the pending status, it is very near the end of the entire process. The homeowner has put in the work to get their property out on the market and attracted an interested buyer. They have seen an offer for the home and perhaps submitted a counteroffer to that bid. The two parties have come together on one price, and the only things left to do involve putting together the official legal paperwork that will push the home into a finalized status. Thus, a pending status indicates that the home is very near the end of the process. It deters most other people from even considering putting a bid up on that same home.

Final Thoughts on the Pending Status

What you should take away as the average person who views a home that is listed in the pending status is that you are likely looking at a home for which the following is true:

  • The buyer is likely very near the point where they will sign final paperwork to complete their purchase
  • The seller is likely happy with the price that they have received for their home
  • The seller is likely NOT interested in entertaining other offers at this time
  • The home will likely disappear from the listings of homes available in the near future as it is nearly sold

As you continue to scan through home listings in this very exciting stage of your life, we hope that you will reach out to us and speak to one of our expert loan officers. We have a talented team of people who know how to help you find your ideal home and get the financing that you require to submit an offer. If that sounds good to you, then give us a call today to begin the process.

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