"We want to sell fast but all we're getting is contingent offers? How does that work and do I have to accept them?"
This is a common occurrence, especially in buyer's markets. A contingent offer is typically referring to an offer a buyer has submitted that states they will buy the house once their own house sells first. Many buyers can't manage two mortgage payments so they must sell one to buy another. The offer may be great in the way of terms and price but the term contingent can make people wince, and it really shouldn't. Here's what's really going on.
A contingent offer simply states that the buyer is willing to buy your house once their's sells so they can use the money as a down payment on the new house. Your house can't close until their house does. While this may sound like locking the seller down, it really isn't that big of a deal. The buyers can either negotiate for a couple of different scenarios; they have already listed the property and it's currently on the market, or they promise to list within a certain amount of time, usually 3 days after mutual acceptance. The original seller can still keep the listing on the market under the classification of "contingent" and still market the property to other potential buyers. There may be stipulations on how aggressively the homeowner and agent can market, but regardless, it can usually stay on the market.
If the seller receives another offer that is better than the first, non-contingent, the rules in the contingency typically state that the buyer has 3 days to either remove the contingency and go ahead with the purchase or withdraw their offer. Basically, the seller still has all the cards. They can keep the home on the market in case a better offer comes in and if not, the seller can take the contingent offer all the way through. There is also wording in the contract about the buyer's home getting an offer. They usually cannot accept a contingent offer since there would be too much riding on one contract. The buyer must accept a non-contingent offer, allowing the original seller a little more freedom in closing rather than waiting for deal after deal to close before they can finally walk away.
So a contingent offer is not bad and with the right terms could be a favorable option, especially if there haven't been any other bites on the house so far. Don't negate a contingent offer right away. It may be your best option!
Have more question? Give me a call! I can help list and sell your Miami home or condo and have decades of experience negotiating and getting my clients exactly what they want.