What Does Contingent vs. Under Contract Really Mean?

If you have been looking into homes for sale in Long Beach, you will no likely be inundated with all sorts of real estate jargon. Real estate is like any other industry in that it has its own vocabulary and this article has been written to give you a better understanding of what terms and phrases like "contingent" and "under contract" actually mean.


This is a property that is on the market and up for sale. While it may have gotten some offers, none have been accepted.

Closed (CL)

This is a sold property that has left the market.

Active with Contract (AWC)

This means that while an offer has been accepted, the seller is open to backup offers if the initial one falls through. While a seller can pursue backup offers as a precaution, this term shows up a lot in short sales; they often fall through, and having a second option can be beneficial.

Under Contract (UC)

The seller has agreed to a contract with a buyer but the deal has not been finalized.

Contingent vs. Under Contract

"Contingent" means that an offer has been accepted by the seller and the home is under a contract. However, sales are subject to and conditioned upon certain criteria that are met by one or both parties. These criteria can include inspections, financing, title searches, and so on. Some properties continue to be shown when contingent and a seller is interested in backup offers.

Deal Pending (DP)

This is when the seller has accepted an offer, executed a contract and all contingencies have been met, leaving the home's sale as pending. This is when escrow is involved with both parties working to close. While DP status remains until the closing occurs, there is still a window for the seller to accept a backup offer.

Pending, Showing for Backup

The property's owners are actively invested in backup offers.

Pending, Subject to Lender Approval

The seller has accepted one offer but is waiting for the buyer's bank to agree. Should the bank, the lender, deny the arrangement, the property is free to other offers.

Back on Market (BOM)

This is any property that has returned to the market after a pending sale.


This is an inactive property listing, likely due to failure to sell. The seller may still be willing to accept offers.

Temporarily Off Market (TOM)

The owner has pulled the property listing for an indeterminate amount of time. This is often done because the house needs work or the home cannot be displayed.


One of the simpler terms, this means the property is off the market. Maybe the seller decided to keep the place or has received no good offers.

In Conclusion

That covers many of the common terms you will encounter when you look over pages and pages of listings for real estate. This also means that you have a better idea of which properties to keep bookmarked for a second pass and which are likely to never be available. Use this knowledge well.

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