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Ask the REALTOR® is a regular video series in which I answer your most commonly-asked real estate questions, with a new Q&A posting every week. If YOU have a real estate question for me, drop me a note here.

This week’s question: You use the word “contingency” a lot. What does it mean? Here’s the answer in this brief video, and don’t miss the transcript below.


Hello, everyone. This is Cari McGee with Keller Williams Realty. Welcome to this week’s episode of “Ask the Realtor.” Every week, I answer questions from buyers and sellers — and pretty much everyone in between — regarding real estate.

This week’s question is, “Cari, you use the word ‘contingency’ and ‘contingencies’ a lot in these videos. What does that mean?”

Well, a contingency is something that must happen in order for a sale to proceed through to closing. For example, if someone needs to sell their house before they buy another house, we will make the contract contingent upon the sale of the other house. If there needs to be an inspection before the person will proceed with purchasing the house, we will have an inspection contingency. If they need to make sure that they can get the money that they need from the bank in order to purchase the house, we will have a financing contingency. So, a contingency is something that must happen in order for the sale to proceed through to closing.

Sometimes you will also hear me use the word “subject to,” and “subject” is something that may happen, or could happen, or might help the process along, but it does not have to happen like it does with a contingency.

So, that’s that answer. And if you have any other questions for me regarding real estate, by all means, give me a shout via any one of the methods that follow on the next screen. Thanks so much. Bye-bye.

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Cari McGee

Hi, I'm Cari McGee. 👋 I've lived in the Tri-Cities since 1994 and I've been a licensed Realtor® since 2004. That's a lot of local knowledge and real estate experience that I put into every article you read on my website! We've helped more than 560 families buy or sell property in the Tri-Cities. In 2023, our community voted us the bronze winner for Best Real Estate Team in the Tri-Cities Best voting. Learn more about me by clicking the link right above. And if you have any questions, get in touch anytime!

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