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Can I Make an Offer on a House Under Contract?

Can I Make an Offer on a House Under Contract?

When a home is already under contract to another buyer, you still may be able to make an offer depending on the current stage of the deal. However, it can be a complex negotiation to navigate. The existing contract may allow backup offers with carefully crafted contingencies that provide a glimmer of hope if the current contract falls through before closing. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • Homes under contract may still allow secondary purchase offers as “backup” contingent offers.
  • You can make an offer on a home under contract, but it requires patience and unlikely set of circumstances to actually win the home later.  
  • Work closely with your agent to submit an appropriate backup offer based on the current deal’s progress and contingencies.

When is a Home Truly “Under Contract”?

A home is considered under contract when the sellers accept an offer from a hopeful buyer. This means they’ve agreed in principle to all the major terms like price, closing date, contingencies etc. But that doesn’t guarantee the sale will actually close.

What are Backup Offers?

With a home under contract, backup offers come into play as secondary, contingent purchase proposals. They become relevant if the original winning bidder has their financing fall through, fails inspections, or gets cold feet and walks away. Then the sellers can turn to backup bidders.

How Likely Are You to Actually Win a Home Under Contract?

The chances of eventually winning a home already under contract are fairly slim. Industry experts often cite 1 in 10 odds in competitive markets. For your backup offer to win out, the current deal basically has to fall apart at some point first.

Steps to Making a Solid Backup Offer

If interested in a home under contract, consult your agent on whether backup offers make sense and to submit a competitive bid. Be prepared for a long waiting game with no guarantee of success though. Produce proof you are qualified and ready to move quick.

Managing Expectations

Making an offer on a home under contract can be a frustrating exercise in patience and uncertainty. Prepare for the likelihood your bid won’t succeed in the end after an agonizing wait. But occasionally backup offers do pay off so it can be worth a shot in hot markets with low inventory. Just don’t get your hopes up too high.

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