How to Buy a Home that’s a Pending Sale

You’ve searched long enough and found a home that you absolutely love — after seeing it, you knew it was the right property for you. However, being pragmatic and not wanting to make an emotional choice, you opted to hold-off on a purchase offer for a few days. Unfortunately, those agonizing days are now coming back to haunt you because your buyer’s agent just delivered the bad news — the home is under contract.

How could this be in such a short amount of time? Well, inventory levels here in Orlando favor sellers, and, low interest rates and an attractive variety of mortgage options are motivating buyers to jump into the market.

How to Buy a Home that’s a Pending Sale

What you ought to know, that even though the home is part of a pending sale doesn’t mean you won’t be able to buy it. The very fact that it’s a pending purchase and not a closed transaction demonstrates it’s not a done deal. Pending sales, by definition, are not final, which means you should definitely not give-up hope. What’s more, there’s a real distinction between pending sales and contingent sales.

“Often times, real estate agents continue to market a property until all major contingencies have been met. As such, it would not be out of the question for the property to be shown to other prospective buyers until the final loan commitment letter is issued by your lender.” —

In either case, there is a possibility the sale won’t close. There are several reasons a purchase contract falls through, but, the major three are: not passing home inspection, an appraisal that doesn’t support the agreed selling price, or, failure to secure buyer mortgage financing. This means there is an opportunity to still come in and get your dream home. Of course, you’ve got to make that happen, and here are some ways to buy a home that’s a pending sale:

  • Speak with your buyer’s agent immediately. One trick of the real estate sales trade is to continue to market a home, even after a purchase offer has been accepted. This is completely understandable because there’s just no guarantee the deal will go through. For instance, the buyer could open a new line of credit to purchase furniture, which impacts their debt-to-income ratio, and, their credit file. Suddenly, the lender is pulling his or her financing.
  • Contact the listing agent, as well. It’s not at all uncommon for pending transactions to have many working parts. Use this to your advantage and speak with the listing agent. Even if the deal seems solid, you should make it be known how serious you are about buying the home.
  • Make a more attractive purchase offer. Speaking about being serious, if you are comfortable, and, have the confidence to do so, come in with a stronger offer. This doesn’t necessarily mean a higher purchase price. It can mean coming in with no contingencies, paying all closing costs, or, offering flexible moving dates to the seller.
  • Position yourself as the next best bid. Another phenomenon that might work for you is a buyer that’s got cold feet. This does happen: a buyer puts-in an acceptable purchase offer, begins to develop buyer’s remorse, and leaves the seller in a precarious situation.

Obviously, the point is that just because a there’s a pending sale doesn’t mean it will go through. Talk with your real estate buyer’s agent about the situation and learn what options are available. You just might be pleasantly surprised.