The Difference Between Contingent and Pending

At last… you found your dream home! It’s everything you were looking for in a new home! It’s the perfect size with a big yard in a fantastic location… everything you wanted!

Wait… there’s a small sign that says “pending” on the for sale sign. Oh no!… does this mean that your dreams of owning this house are crushed?

It’s possible… but you might still have a chance.

Orlando real estate deals fall through every day for one reason or another. So as Lenny Kravitz would say… “It ain’t over till it’s over”.

If you’ve been looking at real estate listings, you’ve noticed there are a few different statuses. In this post we’ll be comparing contingent vs pending, so you’ll know exactly what they mean to you as the buyer. So, the question is… Can you still make an offer on a home under these conditions and what are your chances?

A Real Estate Contingency

Once a property goes under contract, the seller and buyer have made a promise to go through with the sale. For instance, If a house goes under contract, the seller can’t accept any other offers or sign another contract. The seller has to adhere to the terms of the contract. Typically, a buyer puts down an earnest money deposit to show that they’re serious. If they walk away from the deal for no reason, the seller gets to keep the deposit.
So what if something happens during the process that makes one of the parties want to walk from the deal?

It’s exactly for this reason that real estate contingencies exist. Both seller and buyer are free to add contingencies to any real estate contract. A contingency means the sale of the home is contingent on a specific condition. If that condition isn’t fulfilled, the buyer or seller isn’t obligated to continue with the sale.

What Are Some Common Contingencies?

  • Home Inspection- Buyers hardly ever request a home inspection before submitting an offer. That’s why the most common contingency is the home inspection contingency. So what if something negative comes up in the inspection report? Either the parties will negotiate the repairs or cost of repairs and adjust the price. If the issues are bigger than the buyer wants to handle, they can walk away from the deal and get their deposit back… all thanks to the inspection contingency.
  • Appraisal- An appraisal is always a nerve-wracking part of a real estate transaction. The buyer’s mortgage company orders an appraisal to know the true value of the home. They want to make sure if the buyer defaults, they can retake possession of it and recover their investment. The appraisal is generally based on the market value of a home. The appraiser should make adjustments depending on upgrades and needed repairs. If the home doesn’t appraise for the contract price then the lender will deny the loan. In this scenario, the buyer can walk and collect their deposit.
  • Financing Contingency- Also designed to protect the buyer is the financing contingency. Besides the appraisal, there are a few other reasons the lender may deny a loan. For whatever reason… if the lender denies the loan, the buyer is free from the contract and can collect their deposit.
  • Home Sale Contingency- A buyer can have a contingency that allows them to sell their current home before buying. Buyers usually do this if they need the money from that sale for the down payment of the new home.

What Does Pending Mean?

Once all the contingencies of the contract are met, the listing status changes to pending. A pending listing is no longer considered to be an active listing. It means the sale hasn’t closed yet but is scheduled to.
Although, this doesn’t necessarily mean buyers can’t make an offer…

Pending — Accepting Backups
This means the seller is taking backup offers in case the one they have falls through. It’s important to note the seller can’t accept any other offer until the first one falls apart. Buyers can have their real estate agent follow up to see how it played out.

Short Sale

A short sale is a condition when a home is being sold at an amount less than what is currently owed on the mortgage. In a short sale scenario, the lender has the final say whether an offer gets accepted or not. Every offer has to be approved by the lender before getting accepted.

You should know going in that short sales are anything but short. Most banks are slow to respond. If you need to buy a house fast then short sales are not for you (especially as a backup buyer). However, if you’re in a position where you can wait a month or two…or three to buy, then you could end up with a great deal… if the previous buyer falls through.

Real Estate Terms: Contingent vs Pending

You should now understand the difference between contingent vs pending status on a listing. I hope these real estate statuses are less confusing to you when the time comes.

If you like a home, go ahead and put an offer on it… even if it’s pending. Orlando real estate deals fall through all the time and you might just get lucky! You’ll never know if you don’t try.

If you still have questions regarding this post or anything else related to real estate contact me today! I’m happy to help!

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Orlando Homeowners Get A Lifeline

I’ve been a real estate broker in Orlando for the past 16 years and in that time I’ve never seen the economy come to a screeching halt like this before. Not even when the market crashed back in 2008 and the market was suddenly flooded with Orlando short sale properties that weren’t selling.

This pandemic is a different kind of disaster that has nothing to do with unethical mortgage companies or homeowners living well above their means. This is a situation that took us all by surprise and is out of our control as homeowners. Luckily, there is help out there for homeowners who are currently in financial trouble.

Orlando homeowners who’ve lost their job because of COVID-19 are getting some help with their mortgage. Depending on the situation they’re in, they should be eligible to have their mortgage payments suspended or reduced for anywhere between 3 and 12 months.

Our Federal directors, with the help of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, are instructing lenders to help homeowners out by offering flexibility. This would cover about 50% of all the home loans in the U.S. [loans that are guaranteed by Freddie and Fannie]. Regulators believe, however, that the mortgage industry adopts a similar policy with their customers.

Under this new plan, homeowners who lost their income could qualify for reduced payments or a pause to the payments altogether. This forbearance can be for up to 12 months depending on the homeowner’s situation.

Homeowners should not just stop paying their mortgage without contacting their mortgage company. Doing this will surely damage their credit. Their lender will work with them to at least suspend 3 months of payments right off the bat without any penalties and without reporting it to any credit bureau. They will do this with verbal testimony without any supporting documentation because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Within the 3 months, they should work with you to come up with a payment plan and may ask you for some proof of hardship to determine what your best options would be to get back on track.

COVID-19 mortgage help is not FREE MONEY!

You must know that help with your mortgage due to COVID-19 doesn’t mean free money. All homeowners will have to work out a repayment plan once they are back on track financially. This could also be simply extending the term of the loan.

Some may even have to repay the entire amount when the 90 days are up, depending on the banks’ criteria as well as the homeowner’s financial situation.

I believe this was a great 1st step by lenders. Could you imagine the mass panic throughout the US if, all of a sudden, homeowners couldn’t continue to make payments and all the lenders began foreclosure proceedings?!

There’s already enough stress about trying to not get the virus and keeping our loved ones safe and healthy that people should not have to worry about losing their homes.

Contact your mortgage lender

Homeowners needing help should reach out to their servicer immediately and find out what their options are. Explain to them that you are having financial problems because of the virus outbreak and request to be put into a forbearance program.

Some of the largest mortgage lenders in the country, like Wells Fargo and Chase, are also working to help homeowners who have been financially hurt by the coronavirus. These lenders have the responsibility to follow through on what our government directed them to do.

Mortgage companies have also been told to pause all foreclosure proceedings as well, although anyone in foreclosure right now would have had to be in trouble before the coronavirus even started spreading in the U.S. I believe this was more of a public health move than anything else.

Can a mortgage forbearance end up as a short sale?

Once a mortgage forbearance agreement has come to an end, there is still a chance that you don’t like the terms, or you still can’t afford what they’re offering. In this case, traditional loss mitigation procedures may resume. At this point, the usual options will be available to you like a short sale, loan modification, or a deed in lieu. Homeowners may feel that one of these options will benefit them more than agreeing to the terms they have laid out for you in the forbearance program.

Help for renters

These plans by mortgage companies don’t do anything to help renters. Renters, however, can apply for rental assistance through state and federally funded rental assistance programs. I would also suggest reaching out to your landlord and maintaining open lines of communication.

Landlords feeling the pain

Keep in mind, landlords are suffering as much and even more right now. Mortgage forbearance programs are designed for people’s homestead properties and not investment homes. Imagine you have 10 rental properties, 10 mortgages to pay… then, all of a sudden, you stop receiving 10 rental checks all at once!  

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What Should You Look For In A Real Estate Agent?

Selling or buying a home can be challenging and will also be one of the biggest financial decisions of your lifetime. Finding the right real estate agent that has the experience for what you need is crucial.

Having a good real estate agent in your corner will is important whether you’re buying or selling. In the state of Florida alone there are almost 300,000 active real estate agents.

Everywhere you look there are advertisements for real estate agents; billboards, bus stop benches, radio ads, etc… So how do you choose the best one for you? Follow these steps on hiring the perfect real estate agent for your needs.

Tips On Finding A Real Estate Agent

Speak To A Lender Before Hiring An Agent

One of the biggest mistakes a potential home buyer makes is to start looking for homes without knowing how much they can afford to pay for a home. There’s nothing more disheartening to fall in love with a home only to find out that you can’t afford it.

By getting pre-approved for a mortgage, you’ll know exactly how much home you can afford as well as address any issues with your credit if needed well ahead of time. Having your pre-approval letter ready will also show potential buyers’ agents and sellers that you are serious about buying. When you’re in a competitive market, sellers may not even consider an offer without a pre-approval letter from a lender.

Get Recommendations

A good way to start on your agent search is by asking friends and family members if they can recommend a real estate agent they’ve had a good experience with. You should hire an agent that specializes in whatever your real estate goals are. For example; If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you should hire an agent that specializes in first-time homebuyers as opposed to an agent that works with investment properties or short sales.

It’s also a good idea to hire an agent who is a Realtor. This means they are a member of the National Association of Realtors aka [NAR] and are held to a higher standard as specified in the organization’s code of ethics. Many Realtors hold special certifications to demonstrate they’ve completed training in specific areas of real estate. These are some of the designations:

CDPE [Certified Distressed Property Expert]: Completed specialized training in short sales and foreclosure prevention. CRS [Certified Residential Specialist]: Completed special training in working with buyers of residential real estate. ABR [Accredited Buyer’s Representative]: Trained in representing buyers in transactions.
SRES [Seniors Real Estate Specialist]: trained in helping buyers and sellers aged 50 and over.

Research Potential Agents

Always begin with online research. Start by checking their website and any social media accounts they may have. You should be able to find reviews, current listing information and get an overall feel for the person through their online presence. If they have no online presence then move on to the next candidate.

Interview 3 Real Estate Agents… at Least

Remember, you’re going to be communicating with this person for the next several weeks or even months until you’ve accomplished your real estate goals. An “in-person” interview will be a chance for you to get a feel for the agent’s experience and style. You want to work with an agent who understands what you’re looking to accomplish and be very familiar with the area you’re buying or selling in.

This is also a chance for you to see firsthand how professional they are. The more effort they put into a presentation for you is a good indication of the effort they’ll put in when they’re working for you. Interviews are also a great way for you to establish a preferred way of communication moving forward whether it be texting email or phone calls.

Ask For References

When you’re interviewing potential real estate agents, request to see their references. Ask the agent to

provide the information on any homes they’ve recently sold [in the past year]. You should also ask them to provide the contact information from any of their recent clients. Be sure to call those clients and find out what their overall experience was with the agent…Ask them if they would work with the agent again.

Trust Your Gut

Once you’ve followed the tips on finding the best agent, you still might have to choose between 2 or 3 of them. At this point, you should go with your gut. Remember, you’ll be in constant communication with this person so you should feel comfortable around them and be able to tell them everything.

It’s kind of like dating… sometimes it comes down to the chemistry… or lack of chemistry. If you have an agent and everything checks out, but you’re still not feeling the vibe, don’t hire them. Keep looking until you find the right fit for you, it will be worth the extra effort.

Read The Contract Carefully

Your contract should spell out all the terms to which you have agreed… including the commission. Typically, the seller pays all of the commission which is usually about 5-6% to be split between the listing agent and buyer’s agent. You should also pay close attention to the length of the contract. If your home hasn’t sold in 6 months or you haven’t found a house to buy in that time, then you’ll probably want to find a new real estate agent.

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8 Factors That Increase Your Orlando Home Value


Are you looking to buy an Orlando home and make a smart investment at the same time? Be aware of these important factors as identified by by analyzing millions of home sales throughout the country.

Having Fewer Bedrooms- As an Orlando realtor, I was surprised when I first read about this. Homes with 1 bedroom experienced an increase in appreciation of over 7% since 2012. Homes with 2 bedrooms have increased by 6.6%, 3 bedroom homes 6.3%, and 4 bedrooms was down to 4.9%. This just goes to show how popular down sizing has become in our country.

Bigger is not always better- especially when it comes to Orlando real estate. past 5 years have been a strong indicator that smaller homes  are more popular than ever among baby boomers as well as first time home buyers. Statistics show that homes smaller than 1,200 square feet have gone up by an average of 7.5% each year and larger homes [ over 2,400 sq ft] have only seen a 3.8% increase.

Open floor layout- These days everyone loves an open floor plan and so the more sought after something becomes, the value it will have. Homes in Orlando with an open floor plan appreciate an average of a whopping 7.4% per year. You can sometimes change your floor plan depending on if the walls you have to remove are load bearing or not. Upgrades such as granite counter tops and stainless appliances only experienced a 2-3% appreciation.

Having a view- Homes with a nice view across the country have increased between 4.9% – 7.9% over the past several years. If your fortunate enough to buy a home with a pretty view, you can always expect to enjoy a bit more appreciation on your home than your neighbor without one.

Modern design- With the exception of a small percentage of buyers who prefer older homes, newer more modern styled homes will always be more desirable for the majority of buyers. As a matter of fact, newer homes with modern designs have been rising an average of 7.7% per year. Bungalows are 2nd at 6.5%, traditional 5.6%, ranch homes 4.5% craftsman 3.7% and victorian at 2.2%.

Homes with 2 car garages-  Orlando homes that have space for 2 vehicles have had an increase of 6.4% per year Vs homes with a one car garage at 6% increase. And believe it or not homes with 3 car garages only saw an increase of 3.8% annually.

Being in the city- This was another one that surprised me a bit, but I guess I’m a little bias. Homes that were in or close to the city near mass transportation had an increase of a whopping 8.4% in value where as homes in the suburbs in good school districts and shopping areas only increased by 7.2%.




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The 7 Most Common Home Selling Mistakes


When Selling an Orlando Home Avoid These Common Mistakes

Setting the price on your own- The Orlando real estate market is constantly changing. Don’t think that you can determine what your listing price should be on your Orlando home just by going to Zillow. To come up with the true value of your home enlist the help of an experienced Orlando Realtor. Listing your home for the correct price from the beginning is crucial to a successful home sale. Failure to do so can result in longer than average days on the market which translates into less money in your pocket.

Pricing it too high from the beginning- If your home is overpriced you’ll get fewer showings because buyers looking for homes up to a certain price range may not even bother looking at yours. You will ultimately have to lower the price anyway to get it sold so make sure your listing price is realistically from the start.

Using an unusual listing price- When buyers use real estate search tools, they have to input ranges for example, “homes between $150,000-$200,000.” So if you set an unusual listing price, like $201,500.00 then you just might miss out on a potential buyer.

Overpricing on purpose- If you’re not in a rush to sell you may want to consider waiting to list your home until you are. Some homeowners adopt a strategy of listing it high thinking they’ll get the perfect buyer out of the blue that’s willing to pay a lot more than the home is worth because they’ve just fallen in love with the home and can’t live without it. This never happens! The fact is, the longer a home sits on the market the fewer showings you’ll get, and if it’s overpriced then don’t hold your breath for that fantasy buyer.


Don’t get emotional- Remember, selling a home is just a business transaction so keep your emotions out of it. And never, ever walk around your house with a potential buyer, chances are you won’t have the same taste which can create an awkward situation for the both of you when they make a negative comment about your decor. Even if you get a low ball offer don’t take it personally. You should consider any offer a starting point for negotiation.

Not keeping it in good condition- Unless your home is a fixer-upper in need of major repair, make sure that it looks the best that it can. Having it clutter-free, clean and tastefully staged will go a long way in not only attracting more potential buyers, but also in getting top dollar and selling quickly.

Selling without a REALTOR- People who sell their homes “FOR SALE BY OWNER” stay on the market a lot longer than they should and sell for a lot less than those who enlisted the help of an Orlando REALTOR. By using an experienced real estate agent, you’ll have the peace of mind that someone’s in your corner looking out for your best interests as well as handling any problems that may arise throughout the transaction.

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