House hunting, buying, and selling are intimidating processes. For a layman, it can be hard to understand the real estate market key terms like “under contract.” We are here to simplify the process!

How long can a house be under contract? This simple guide will help you understand what it means and how long it can take.

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Contract vs. Pending Sale

Real estate transactions involve pending sale and under contract but are two very distinct parts of the process. They can have a different impact on the parties involved, so it is important to know the difference.

Under contract means that an offer on the property has been accepted, and now the buyer and seller have to fulfill any conditions specified in the contract for the sale to be completed. Pending sale means that the contingencies and all necessary requirements have been fulfilled, which means the deal is closer to being completed.

Under Contract

Under contract is one of the initial stages of the real estate transaction where a property owner has accepted the deal from the buyer. Now, the parties involved will have to meet the outstanding conditions of the sale.

Under contract means that both the buyer and the seller have agreed on the basic terms of the real estate contract, such as financing, sale contingencies, purchase price, and closing dates. However, it doesn’t mean that the sale has been finalized. Buyers shouldn’t hesitate to make an offer on properties that are under contract either. Likewise, sellers can also specify that properties are under contract even as they seek out more offers.

There are two factors that can impact how long can a house be under contract. Firstly, the sale may be non-contingent under contract. This means that involved parties have agreed that the property is being bought “as is,” and all specifics have been agreed on. Secondly, it might be contingent under contract, which means that the deal is subject to certain conditions like repairs, inspections, financing, or others.

How long can a house be under contract is determined by specific details that are given in the contract. It should have all the necessary requirements and be well-written to ensure there are no issues. This will ensure smooth transactions between involved parties.

How Long Can a House Be Under Contract?

There are several factors that can impact how long can a house be under contract. It can sometimes take longer than one may expect.


A reason for delayed house contracts usually is difficulty in attaining financing. For instance, a lender may find some discrepancy in the buyer's credit history while the underwriting process is occurring. Such unexpected issues can require added clarification and documentation, which causes delays in the approval for loan financing. Hence, the contract can be extended to accommodate this issue while it is being resolved.

Home Inspections and Repairs

The home inspection may reveal something about the house that can delay the under-contract process. A professional home inspector assesses the condition of the property carefully. The inspector might discover issues, such as plumbing issues or pests. In such cases, buyers can request the seller to make repairs before the deal is finalized. They might also want to negotiate the purchase price with new concessions, keeping the inspection report in mind. The negotiation process might prolong the contract timeline while the parties involved are looking for a resolution.

There might also be issues with the legal documents that can impact how long can a house be under contract. For example, unresolved issues with the title deed, like disputes, can increase the contract timeline. These matters might take time to resolve.

Tips to Quicken How Long Can a House Be Under Contract

To expedite the deal under contract, there are several steps sellers can take. Here are some tips to help you do just that!

Competitive Pricing

Make sure to do your research properly before listing a price for the home. You can check out other properties in the neighborhood and consult the real estate agent for the listing. Buyers do not often go for overpriced properties, so it is important to have a realistic price to attract a quick sale.

Curb Appeal

When it comes to buyers, the first impression can be a huge deal. Make sure that the exterior of your home grabs the attention of the buyers. Some effort and time into improving landscaping, repainting, and other small tasks can greatly impact the amount of buyers you will get.

Stage Strategically

Your home should look its best when potential buyers are there to check it out. Your real estate agent can probably help stage the home in a way to highlight the best features. Any clutter or excessive belongings should be removed so that the buyers can imagine themselves living in the space.

Stay Flexible

You should have as many showings as you can to ensure maximum exposure. All buyers come with a different schedule, so they may not be able to attend at specific times. Staying flexible can be a great way to attract great offers. Keep the house ready for interested buyers to view when they are available.

Respond On Time

Communicate on time while the inspection and negotiations are taking place. Responding to requests or queries from the buyer, as well as providing required information and documents, can speed up the process. Staying responsive and proactive can also move the transaction forward.

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Contingencies Under Contract

If you are worried about how long can a house be under contract, do not overlook contingencies. In the haste to bring the deal out of contract, people may forgo contingencies, but this can be detrimental to you!

Contingencies are important when buying any home since they help protect sellers and buyers while they are in a real estate transaction. If there are any problems, you might lose your earnest money deposit if there aren’t any contingencies in place. You might discover critical structural problems later or find out disputes about the title deeds. Buyers can also add conditions that need to be met in order for the purchase to take place. This can include any repairs, inspections, or even requiring that your current property needs to be sold before the new property can be bought.

It also helps provide both parties with some financial protection. For example, you might add some financing or loan contingencies where the buyer has to secure funding for the deal to take place.
However, if they are unable to do so, the earnest money can be returned, and a seller can find a new buyer who can afford the purchase.

Contingencies can make the negotiation process easier, too. If you find an issue during the inspection process, you can use contingencies to renegotiate the price or ask for repairs.

In Conclusion

Hence, how long can a house be under contract usually depends on a number of factors, such as contingencies, finances, inspections, and legal documents.