What Does it Mean When You See “Under Contract?”

Real Estate

If you’ve spent much time perusing online real estate listings, you may have noticed some houses marked as “Under Contract,” or sometimes “Sale Pending.” In fact, there’s a decent chance you may make an offer on a home yourself, and see its status change to Under Contract.

But what does this terminology really mean, in a technical sense? And what’s the average timeframe for a sale to be pending? Let’s take a closer look at each of these questions.

Under Contract: What Does it Mean?

When you see a listing marked as Under Contract, it could mean a few different things. But most of the time, what it means is that there is a signed, binding contract that’s been made between buyer and seller. Both parties have shown that they are serious in moving forward together, but still need to check off a few boxes before the deal can be finalized.

Understand that, for a contract to close, there are typically a number of steps that must be completed. These steps might entail an inspection, repairs, an appraisal, and more. When you see that an offer is pending, it means that some of these critical steps remain incomplete.

As such, there remains a chance that the deal could fall through, but both parties are committed to avoiding this as best they can; it’s simply a matter of ensuring that each step in the process is completed in a satisfactory way.

So How Long Will It Take?

The question is, how long will it take to go from a pending offer to an executed contract? There’s no hard and fast rule, but if the buyer is getting a mortgage loan, it will likely take between 30 and 60 days. Buyers who are paying cash will have fewer hoops to jump through and may be ready to close in as little as two weeks.

In some instances, there may be some time-consuming issues to clear up (such as major repair or renovation needs), which can keep the listing in “pending” status for a long time.

Indeed, there are a few common reasons why transactions are delayed, and that “pending” status is prolonged. Some of the most common delays include:

●       Costly or time-consuming repairs

●       Financing issues or hurdles

●       Missing paperwork, which can delay the mortgage underwriting process

●       Complicated or specialized loans, such as FHA and USDA loans, which may take longer to process

What You Can Do to Speed Along the Process

As for what buyers can do to expedite the process, there are two main considerations. First, stay organized. Be ready to supply your mortgage underwriter with all the requisite paperwork. And, avoid big financial changes (including opening new credit cards or making big purchases) during the loan underwriting process.

Additionally, make sure you have a dedicated real estate agent who can stay in contact with the seller and also provide guidance through the loan application process. If you’re looking for an agent like that in the Charlotte area, I invite you to give me a call. Reach out to Ryan Minges Real Estate at your next convenience.