Expetitle Blog

The "Pending Sale" Breakdown

Few moments are as exciting for both a home seller and homebuyer than the moment that a “sold” badge is added to the “For Sale” sign in front of your property. But when you drive through neighborhoods, especially as you’re house hunting, you may see the occasional “sale pending” badge posted instead.


But what does it mean when a property is pending?


A pending home sale takes place after the seller has accepted an offer and the contract between both parties has been signed. When a home sale is pending, it is no longer considered an active listing on the local multiple listing service, which is where agents provide information on available properties. Public sites for marketing properties, including Zillow, Trulia and Redfin, also pull listing information from the local MLS. When a property is taken off the market on the MLS, its availability is also removed from those websites.


When a deal is considered pending may vary depending on where you live. In some cases, this could include the due diligence period, where the property undergoes an inspection and a public record check is done to make sure there are no legal issues. In other markets, the pending phase could start after that due diligence phase. Regardless, pending home sales are also considered a key indicator of market activity. Economists and other real estate professionals keep tabs on the Pending Home Sales Index, measured and reported by the National Association of Realtors, which measures the number of pending properties on the market each month.


But how long does an offer stay in "Pending" status before the keys are handed over? 


There’s no hard or fast answer, but typically if a buyer is getting a loan, the total under contract time is about 30 to 60 days. If a buyer is paying cash, the closing can take place in as little as a week.


The amount of time an offer remains pending will often depend on exactly what terms each party is trying to meet, and how straightforward they are.


In the event the contract close date is delayed for funding or repair issues, the pending status would continue until there’s a resolution— or the contract is terminated.


The bottom line? Pending offers (on average) tend to last anywhere between a week and two months, but delays do happen. Here are a few of the most common reasons why.