Home Buying in Hopkinton>Question Details

Lori, Both Buyer and Seller in Massachusetts

Offer to buy with contingency of selling current home?

Asked by Lori, Massachusetts Thu Dec 27, 2007

I am being told by our realtor that we cannot make an offer on a property with a contingency to sell our home first...is this correct? The realtor said no buyers will accept that given the poor real estate market right now.

She did mention something about a bump-out clause but I'm not sure I understand how that would work.

We are putting our house on the market in 2 weeks (prepping & staging right now) and have already found a home we'd like to buy - we are pre-approved for the mortgage, of course pending the sales of our current home.

Do we have any options to try to get that house before we sell ours without getting in a situation of having 2 mortgages?

Help the community by answering this question:


While it's true that an offer with a house-sale contingency is usually frowned upon, sellers today are accepting house-sale contingencies more often. Sellers are happy to see a good viable offer and are often willing to accept the contingency if everything else lines up.

The bump-out clause she's talking about means, that if someone else comes in, while you're under contract with that house-sale contingency, and the seller wants to accept it, they may have the option to "bump you out" of the deal.

In today's market I would strongly recommend NOT having two mortgages (unless you're independently wealthy). Either get your home sold first, or buy with the house-sale contingency, in my opinion.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 27, 2007
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
I agree with what Nadia has said. If you are really interested in this house, I would definitely make an offer with contingency to sell your house first. If you try it, you will at least have some chance of getting the house, but if you don't try it, you will never get it.

In our area, most of people will only look at Active listings, which means contingency release with bumped out clause or not will be viewed less online and less chance to get another offer unless this house just really stand out.

I will definitely try not get stuck with two mortgages just because of the market. Make sure your house looks the best, priced right, and market it aggressively. If you want to make offer on this house, you might want to start marketing your house ASAP instead of two weeks from now. I am sometimes amazed by how fast we can make things happne when motivated.

In our area, how long you have before you are 'bumped out' is negotiable. Depends on which side I am on, I negotiate it differently - as a seller, I want it to be 24 hours, as a buyer, I'll want to be at least 72 hours or longer if possible.

The other thing is to make sure your other contingency period starts after your house is under contract if possible - this will save you the inspection fees if the sales contingency does not work out for some reason - or have the sellers reimburse you for the inspection fees if you are bumped out for some reasons.

2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 27, 2007
Sylvia Barry,…, Real Estate Pro in Marin, CA
I just made an offer with a contingency to sell my house, and the seller is very interested (they have until tomorrow evening to accept or counter). One thing I have working in my favor is that A - my house is on the market, B - my house is aggressively priced, and C - my house is in a great location, so when the seller considers how likely it is that my house will sell, all the facts are as promising as they can be (given the current market). The other thing I have working in my favor is that, other than that contingency, my offer is very strong (aggressive price offer, financing in-place, only a few inspections required).

If my buyer's agent refused to make an offer with the contingencies I set forth, I'd be looking for a new buyer's agent. (I can say that because I'm not a realtor.) It's one thing to advise an opinion as to the likelihood that the offer would be accepted; it's another to proclaim that you "cannot" make such an offer.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 27, 2007
Is it possible yes of course. Does such an arrangement benefit a seller? ABSOLUTELY NOT! For a detailed explanation see the link below. http://massrealestatenews.com/massachusetts-home-sale-contin…
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 21, 2010
Great advice. Thank you so much. We just got a contingency offer and thought about accepting it. I'm so glad I read the linked article.
Flag Fri Sep 19, 2014
In a perfect world one would not accept an offer contingent on the sale of the buyers house. However, weighing the risk reward ratio and the current trend of the market if the "backup" house is listed with a competent broker and you think it has a better than even chance of selling you have minimized your risk. I am in the business and this is the exact advice I would give my clients and selling my own property, I thought I would never accept a contingent offer. I did. Reviewed the back up house. It sold and as a result, so did mine. It just became a perfect world for me again and yes I did go slightly outside the box to get it done by entertaining a contingent offer. By the way the agent working with the buyer worked with them for two weeks to get the house market ready and it sold in a week for full price.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 29, 2007
Sylvia, I think that's a fair statement.

In our area, once it's under contract with a contingency for a house sale, it changes from Active (ACTV) to Contingent with a House-Sale-w/24 kick out (CTG / HS24)...

Far fewer agents will consider an HS24 a serious showing for a new client... as we don't want them to fall in love with a house, that in reality they only have a 50% (or less) chance that they can have.

If my clients decide to write an offer on an HS24, the 1st buyer is given the option of dropping their contingency... and if they do drop the contingency, my clients get to move on and find something else, often a little sadder (and wiser) for the experience.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 27, 2007
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
Sorry, Nadia, about the confusion. Trying to do several things at one time.

For Bay Area MLS, once a house is under contract, whether it's contingent show or contingent release, contingent probate - the status changes from Active to whatever status it might be. Yes, I do honest think the listing will not be viewed as much especially since there are many houses on market. Not saying that people don't do that - I have a habit of checking contingent releasse / contingent show properties, but I image some of the Realtors won't.

This is one of the reasons why the short sale ones don't want to change their status because the contract is really only accepted AFTER the lenders approve the terms.

Again - this is my personal opinion so I may get rebuttal from other diligent realtors - there are many. So, to play it safe, I will take out 'most realtors' and say 'some realtors' so I don't get killed :-)) O.K. figuratively speaking.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 27, 2007
Sylvia Barry,…, Real Estate Pro in Marin, CA
Drop the offer and see if they take it. Yes, there is a chance they say no but you can give them the ability to accept other offers while under contract. In texas, if they get another offer you'd have 48 hours to remove your contingency to close or let them accept the house. Try asking for it first, then go with the 48 hour option I described here..
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 27, 2007
As a broker, I have only seen my buyer clients pay higher for a property they like and take less for their home when they sell to meet the contingency time frames. It's not that Realtors don't want to make the offers you just put yourself in a bind. It creates unneeded stress. There always time for finding the right property after you get a contract and after the appraisal is complete. Especially when you have a good agent that knows their local market.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 24, 2014
Lori! Firstly, by this time you will have learned that it certainly is not up to the Realtor to advise a protential buyer that a seller will not accept those specific conditions in an offer. It's up to the seller to accept or not and more likely the reasons behind the sellers motivation to sell would be key. The "bump out clause" references that the buyer's offer may include a contingency document in which a release clause enables the seller to continue to market the property and should another buyer submit an offer with more favorable conditions to the seller, the seller can then request the first buyer to perform within the time frame identified in the contingency doc and...if the buyer is unable to do so, the seller can most likely cancel the agreement. A contingent offer based on a buyer's home selling, for the norm works best if the buyer's property is already listed and a copy of that listing made available to the seller upon presentation of the offer. It should also be supported by having the seller's agent complement the buyer's agent by their developed stats on the buyer's home such as consideration to area, neighborhood, overall condition and if it would appear to be priced competitively for its location. As important would be a search of similar homes for list vs sold price and Days on the Market. If the current market cycle in each area reflects to be the same, it would appear that both seller and buyer need to give some serious thought to presenting and/or accepting an offer. It also appears that most of your concern has been caused by your agent who simply should have allowed clarification of her reference to a bump out clause. It would be to your benefit to always request an explanation of anything you don't understand especially before signing any documents.and with that in mind, and the opinions already submitted...Buyer Beware, the transaction process requires much more understanding beyond that you have just experienced. Good luck on the sale of your home and purchase of that which you would like to buy.!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 26, 2009

YES - you Can put that offer in.

Let's role play here to help you better understand

A. Let's say YOU are the agent for the seller of the home you are putting an offer on. Would YOU advise YOUR client/seller to take the offer - which is contingent upon the buyers home going to P & S AND having Mortgage qualified buyers? Be Honest - especially if there are buyers out there with NO contingency to sell?

B .Most reputable seller agents would advise their seller clients NOT to entertain such an offer. If the seller does accept - they can still continue to show the home for back-up offers, however, many potential buyers are not willing to be a 2nd or 3rd in line offer. So - the seller is very dependent upon your home selling. Not a good place for that seller to be in. You NEED to understand that so that YOU can make informed decisions.

c. MY concern as your selling and buyers agent would be this:

1. I do NOT want you to be a "HAVE TO " Seller. Which is what you'd be when you have this contigent to sell offer accepted. You would be more likely to jump on a lower offer or poorer terms, just to get the other house.

It is best to price, list, and market your home within prevailing prices and obtain a P & S by a thoroughly mortgage qualified buyer.

2. THEN go out and be in the DRIVERS SEAT as a VERY Qualified Buyer.

Lori, If you'd like to discuss this further it would be my pleasure- it's easy- just call me: 508-479-9833


Mary Condon MBA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 3, 2009
Good morning Lori,
I am a Realtor with REMAX Executive here in Metrowest. Its absolutely acceptable to put in an offer with a home sale contingency. However ,it may or may not be the best approach for you depending on the particular situation of the home you want to buy.
Some of the factors we dont know from your post play a significant part in the correct answer. How long has this house been on the market? What is the sellers siyuation -i.e. did they already purchase a home?
If they just listed the house then they are less likely to consider your proposal, if its been on the market many months they are probably more open. If I can help feel free to contact me. John Savignano cell 508 277-1784.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 14, 2008
Hi Lori,

I am a Realtor in the Metro West Boston area and I was particularly intrigued by your post.

To begin, I would like to say the your realtor's statement that you "cannot make an offer on a property with a home-sale contingency" is inaccurate. Your realtor is obligated to write up an offer no matter what. There are specific other things your realtor can do, however, to make that offer AS ATTRACTIVE AS POSSIBLE to the seller. Please let me know if you need any ideas! In today's market, we need to think outside of the box.

As for selling your existing home, I would recommend you start marketing it now....YES, before you list. You want to create as much interest as possible before you list...the anticipation factor. The first two weeks of your listing will give you a very good idea of how much interest there is in your home. Contrary to what the media says, homes are still selling if they are priced right!

Please call or email me (508.561.7164 or jboyle@comvestresidential.com) if you need any help!

Best wishes!

Judy Boyle
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 1, 2008
Just a follow-up - my sellers have accepted my offer, with the contingency, and with no kick-out clause.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 28, 2007
Congrats! I hope it works out for you!
Flag Wed Sep 17, 2014
This is all very interesting. Sylvia, I'm having trouble following your second paragraph - are you saying that if the seller accepts an offer with the contingency, then their house will not be viewed in as many places on-line? Even with the bumpout clause, does the listing no longer show as "active?"

Thanks for clarifying!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 27, 2007
Like everyone said, you can make the offer to purchase your new house with the contingency, but just because you can doesn't mean you should. The reason why I say this is because your offer may work against you if there's a lot of interest in the property and your very low chance offer may position the sellers to better negotiate with someone else. 2nd offer, regardless of how unrealistic it is, is a very strong card to play. I'm talking strategy so think about that before you make the decision. After all the considerations and you still want to go ahead and your agent won't do it, then its a different issue.

Nadia is right, you almost have to have yours one the market AT LEAST with other things she mentioned to be taken seriously. So make an offer that's going to help you get the house, not hurt you. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 27, 2007
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