What Does Active Under Contract vs. Pending Mean in Massachusetts Real Estate?

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Understanding the Difference Between Pending and Active Under Contract in Massachusetts

Author Bill Gassett owns Maximum Real Estate Exposure.

In real estate, understanding the terms "active under contract" and "pending" is crucial for buyers and sellers. Active under contract means a property has an accepted offer but needs certain conditions fulfilled. Maximum Real Estate Exposure is a comprehensive resource for explaining the meaning of contingent status in Massachusetts.

On the other hand, "pending" indicates that all contingencies have been met and the sale is in its final stages. These distinctions play a significant role in deal management and negotiations. Agents serve as key players throughout this process, assisting Massachusetts buyers and sellers.

Contingencies, inspections, and potential consequences of terminating a contract are essential considerations for all parties involved. From experience as a Massachusetts Realtor, many buyers and sellers don't understand the various listing statuses found in the Multiple Listing Service and other home search websites.

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Active Under Contract Massachusetts HomesPhoto byDeposit Photos

Understanding the Different Stages in Real Estate Transactions

In real estate, it's essential to understand the different stages that occur during a transaction. This knowledge helps buyers, sellers, and agents navigate the complexities of the process successfully.

The Meaning of Active Under Contract and Pending

Regarding real estate, you'll encounter two standard terms: ' active under contract' and 'pending.' Understanding their meanings is crucial for all parties involved.

Active under contract refers to a property with an accepted buyer offer, but certain conditions and contingencies still need to be met. These conditions might include inspections, financing approval, or other requirements outlined in the contract.

On the other hand, pending means that all contingencies have been fulfilled, and the sale is in its final stages. The buyer is committed to purchasing the property, pending unforeseen issues or complications.

Differentiating Between Active Under Contract and Pending in Massachusetts Home Sales

While active under contract and pending may seem similar, the key distinction lies in fulfilling contingencies. Active under contract indicates that some conditions are outstanding, requiring further action to finalize the sale. In contrast, pending signifies that all necessary steps have been completed, and the transaction is nearing completion.

During the active under-contract phase, opportunities for backup offers exist, allowing other buyers to express interest if the initial deal falls through. It is still possible to buy a house that is active under contract. Back-up offers are typically not accepted in the pending stage, as the primary buyer has committed to purchasing the property.

Key Players in the Process: Sellers, Buyers, and Agents

Real estate transactions involve several key parties working together towards a successful sale. These include sellers, buyers, and real estate agents.

Sellers are the individuals or entities offering their property for sale. They have the final say on accepting or rejecting offers and negotiating terms with potential buyers.

Buyers are interested parties looking to purchase a property. They make offers and negotiate with sellers to reach a mutually agreed-upon price and other terms. Buyers must also fulfill their obligations, such as providing documentation and securing financing.

Real estate agents play a crucial role in facilitating the transaction process. They act as intermediaries, representing either the seller or the buyer. Agents assist in finding suitable properties, preparing and negotiating offers, coordinating inspections, and guiding clients through the closing process.

Understanding the roles and dynamics of sellers, buyers, and agents is essential for a smooth real estate transaction.

Exploring the Status of Active Under Contract in Massachusetts

Importance of Having an Active Backup Offer

In a competitive real estate market, an active backup offer benefits buyers and sellers. For buyers, submitting a backup offer increases their chances of securing a property they are interested in. If the primary offer does fall through, the backup offer allows them to step in and move forward with the purchase.

On the other hand, sellers benefit from a backup offer as it provides a safety net. If the primary offer falls through, the backup offer can help minimize delays in the sales process and keep the transaction moving forward. It also gives the seller more negotiating power if issues arise during the contingencies.

Contingencies and Inspections During the Active Under Contract Phase

Buyers can conduct due diligence and assessments during the active under-contract phase to ensure the property meets their expectations. Home inspections allow the buyer to hire a professional inspector to assess the property's condition. This inspection helps buyers identify potential issues or necessary repairs before purchasing.

Additionally, pest inspections can uncover pest infestations requiring treatment or remediation.

Appraisal contingencies ensure the property is valued at or above the agreed-upon purchase price. If the appraisal returns lower than expected, buyers may have the option to renegotiate the price or walk away from the deal.

The active under-contract stage is crucial for buyers and sellers to navigate contingencies, inspections, and potential negotiations. It is essential for all parties involved to communicate effectively and work together to ensure a smooth and successful real estate transaction.

Delving into the Pending Status in Massachusetts Real Estate

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Home has gone pending in MassachusettsPhoto byClay BanksonUnsplash

The pending status in real estate signifies a significant milestone in buying and selling. When a property is marked as pending, all contingencies in the purchase contract have been met, and the sale is in its final stages.

Getting past these contingencies is why homes will change to pending.

Common Reasons for Deals to Fall Through in the Pending Stage

While the pending stage indicates a high likelihood of the sale being completed successfully, there are instances when deals fall through. Some common reasons for deals to collapse in the pending stage include:

  • Inability to secure financing: Buyers may face challenges in obtaining the necessary financing, resulting in the cancellation of the pending sale.
  • Inspection issues: Discovering significant problems during the inspection process could lead to the termination of the contract or renegotiations between the parties involved.
  • Appraisal complications: If the property's appraised value does not meet the agreed-upon sale price, it can cause financing issues and potential deal termination.
  • Change in buyer's circumstances: Personal circumstances, such as job loss or unexpected financial difficulties, can result in buyers withdrawing from the pending deal.

Buyers and sellers must know these potential challenges and work closely with their real estate agents to navigate the pending stage successfully.

The Role of Contingencies in Real Estate Transactions

Contingencies are crucial to real estate transactions, providing protection and safeguards for buyers and sellers. Understanding the different types of contingencies and their purposes is essential for all parties involved.

Types of Contingencies and Their Purpose

Contingencies come in various forms, each serving a specific purpose in real estate deals. Some common contingencies include:

  • Inspection Contingency: This allows the buyer to thoroughly inspect the property to identify any issues or necessary repairs. If significant problems are found, the buyer can negotiate repairs, request a price reduction, or even terminate the contract.
  • Financing Contingency: This contingency allows the buyer to secure financing for the purchase. If the buyer cannot obtain a mortgage or financing falls through, they can back out of the deal without penalties.
  • Appraisal Contingency: This contingency protects the buyer by ensuring the property's appraised value matches or exceeds the agreed-upon purchase price. If the appraisal is lower, the buyer can renegotiate or terminate the contract.
  • Title Contingency: A title contingency ensures the property has a clear and marketable title. If any title issues arise, such as liens or disputes, the buyer can choose to resolve them or exit the transaction.

Contingencies provide flexibility and protection for both buyers and sellers, allowing them to negotiate terms and navigate potential obstacles during the transaction process.

Contingencies Related to Appraisal and Financing

Appraisal and financing contingencies play critical roles in real estate transactions.

Appraisal contingencies protect buyers from overpaying for a property by ensuring its value aligns with the agreed-upon purchase price. If the appraisal falls short, the buyer can renegotiate or withdraw from the deal.

Financing contingencies allow buyers to secure loans or mortgages to complete the purchase. If the buyer fails to obtain suitable financing within the agreed-upon timeframe, they can terminate the contract without repercussions. Buyers need to be aware that mortgage pre-approval letters expire.

Both appraisal and financing contingencies provide buyers with essential safeguards, ensuring they make informed decisions and protect their financial interests.

Importance of Home Inspections and Contingencies in Massachusetts Purchase Contracts

Home inspections and the corresponding contingencies are critical aspects of purchase contracts, protecting buyers from unexpected issues with the property.

A thorough inspection allows buyers to identify any structural, mechanical, or other problems with the property. The inspection contingency allows the buyer to negotiate repairs or renegotiate the terms if significant issues are discovered.

Without the protection of an inspection contingency, buyers may face potential financial burdens or health hazards due to undiscovered problems with the property. Both buyers and sellers must understand the importance of home inspections and the corresponding contingencies in purchase contracts.

Navigating the Real Estate Process with Your Agent

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Real Estate Agent in MassachusettsPhoto byMaria ZiegleronUnsplash

The Key Responsibilities of a Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent plays a central role in guiding you through the complex process of buying or selling a property. They have the expertise and knowledge to assist you every step of the way. Some key responsibilities of a real estate agent include:

  • Assessing your needs and preferences to find suitable properties or buyers.
  • Providing market insights and helping you set an appropriate price.
  • Marketing your property effectively to reach potential buyers.
  • Negotiating on your behalf to secure the best possible deal.
  • Handling paperwork, contracts, and legal aspects of the transaction.
  • Coordinating with other professionals, such as lenders, inspectors, and appraisers.

Communicating with Your Agent During Active Under Contract and Pending Stages

Effective communication with your agent is crucial during the active under-contract and pending stages. Here are some essential points to keep in mind:

  • Maintain regular contact with your agent to stay updated on the transaction's progress.
  • Ensure your agent has all the necessary documentation and information for a smooth process.
  • Provide timely responses to requests for additional documents or actions.
  • Ask questions if you are unclear about any aspect of the transaction or need further clarification.
  • Discuss any concerns or issues arising during the process, seeking guidance from your agent.

How Your Agent Can Help in Deal Management and Negotiations

During the active under-contract and pending stages, your real estate agent can offer valuable deal management and negotiation assistance.

Here's how they can help:

  • Advise you on making strategic decisions based on market trends and conditions.
  • Negotiate with the other party to reach mutually agreeable terms and resolve conflicts.
  • Ensure all necessary paperwork and legal requirements are met to protect your interests.
  • Coordinate with third parties, such as inspectors and appraisers, to ensure a seamless process.
  • Guide potential contingencies and their implications, helping you make informed decisions.

Did you enjoy this advice on what active under contract vs. pending means in Massachusetts? See other real estate articles on NewsBreak for more timely tips and advice. Bill Gassett frequently writes about general real estate, mortgages, finance, moving, and home improvement.

Bill has been selling real estate for thirty-seven years and has been one of the top Realtors in New England over the last two decades. He has a bachelor's degree in business and marketing from Northeastern University. Reach out to him for your real estate needs in the Metrowest area.


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Bill Gassett is an authority on numerous real estate topics, including finance, mortgages, moving, home improvement, and general real estate. His work has been featured in numerous prestigious real estate publications.

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