What Is a Contingent Offer? What Home Sellers and Buyers Need to Know


House prices have seen record growth recently. So if you feel a little jittery at the prospect of diving headfirst into this booming market, it’s natural.

While you might feel tempted to rush ahead with a house sale, it’s worth slowing down to catch up on some homework first. That includes getting up to speed on some of the terms your realtor might drop into conversation.

If you haven’t heard of the term contingent offer before, we’ll explain here what it means and why you need to know about it as a buyer or a seller. 

What is a Contingent Offer? 

A contingent offer is a home offer from a buyer with criteria attached to it. All parties need to meet those requirements for the offer to go ahead.

Contingent offers are standard practice with house sales. Quite often,  important details still need confirming after a seller has accepted an offer (for example, a structural inspection).

A contingent offer is there to protect a buyer from too much risk when making an offer. It also helps protect the seller too. 

Types of Contingent Offers

There are different types of contingent offers for varied circumstances. Here’s are the types of contingent offers you need to know about when you speak to a realtor

Sales and Settlement

Sometimes buyers make an offer on a property before they’ve sold their current home. That’s where you’d use a sales and settlement contingent home offer. That offer depends on the buyer selling their house first. 


A settlement offer is a little further along the sales process than a sales and settlement offer. A sales process uses this when the buyer has a potential sale for their home but hasn’t fully settled and exchanged contracts. 

Home Inspection Contingent Offer

Few of us are experts in buildings. That’s why a home inspection is vital. It will assess the state of the house and any structural damage and estimate urgent or essential repair work.

You might choose to use a home offer contingencies for an inspection as it will allow you to pull out of a house sale if a problem crops during the survey. 

Appraisal Contingent Offer

An appraisal contingent offer is relevant when you intend to buy a house with a mortgage.

The mortgage company will want to know that the house is worth what you pay. They will use a third-party appraisal to assess the value independently.

So you might use this contingent offer to give you the option of withdrawing if the appraisal figure comes in at a lower value than what you have offered for the house. 

Mortgage Contingent Offer

The final offer is a mortgage contingent offer, and it covers you if you make an offer on the house before you have the finance in place. The offer only goes through once you have agreed on a mortgage with a financial provider. 

Achieving a Successful House Sale

Whether a buyer or a seller, you want to take steps to ensure your sale happens smoothly and promptly. A contingent offer is one method you have available to help you do that.

Now that you understand the term contingent offer, it’s time to keep learning about other house selling terms. Head to our real estate and household section. 


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About Marc Wallace

I'm never too busy to share my passion. I've created this page to help people learn more about business, finance and real estate. Besides all the serious stuff, I'm also a man that values family and healthy relationships. I hope you find my content insightful.

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