What Does “Contingent” Mean and Other Real Estate Terms to Know

When working with a real estate agent, you might come across some terms you aren’t familiar with. We put together a list of some real estate jargon you might hear while working with a real estate agent:


A real estate broker has a broker license and has received education beyond that of a real estate agent. Real estate agents are required to work under the supervision of a broker.

Comparable sales

Comparable sales or “comps” will be pulled to help you determine how much your home is worth. We will pull similar properties that have sold within 6 months to a year. Only homes that have sold are used as comps. When your home is appraised, the appraiser will do the same to determine value.


If a contract contains a contingency, it means that certain evens must happen or the contract will become null.  This could be an appraisal contingency, meaning the home has to appraise for the contract price or the contract is null. The sale of a home could also be contingent on the buyer selling their home by a certain date. If either the buyer or seller fail to meet the expectations of the contingency, then either party can exit the contract.

Earnest Money

Earnest money is deposited by the buyer after the contract is signed. It demonstrates the buyers commitment to purchasing the property and will be used by the buyer to purchase the home at closing.


An easement gives someone else the legal right to use another person’s land or property while leaving the title in the owner’s name.

Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

An MLS consists of around 700 regional databases that contain their own listings. Each one requires their agents to pay dues for access and allows agents to share listings across regions — without paying dues to each one. It’s considered the most comprehensive listing service available. According to our Big Sky Country MLS: Sellers benefit by increased exposure to their property. Buyers benefit because they can obtain information about all MLS-listed properties while working with only one broker. MLS organizations, through the data they provide, facilitate the cooperative effort, without which brokers might create their own separate systems, fragmenting property information. With the MLS in place, buyers and sellers can work with the professional of their choice, confident that they have access to the largest pool of properties for sale in the marketplace.


Before submitting an offer on a home, you’ll want to get pre-approved by a lender. This means a lender has checked your credit, verified your information, and approved you for up to a specific loan amount for a period of up to 90 days. Getting pre-approved will also help you determine your budget.


Getting pre-qualified by a lender will help you determine your budget. They will look at your income, credit score, etc. to help you find out how much you can afford.


A home’s title represents the rights to the property. Those rights are transferred from the seller to the buyer during a real estate transaction and a record is kept of each transaction. The title company will send you a title commitment that includes all of those transaction records.


$1,450,000 // Pending Sale 205 W Cleveland Street, Bozeman 205 W Cleveland Street
Bozeman, Montana
4 Beds | 5 Baths | 0.31 Acres
$765,000 3433 E Valley Center Road, Bozeman 3433 E Valley Center Road
Bozeman, Montana
4 Beds | 3 Baths | 1.65 Acres
$619,900 // Pending Sale 1818 N Hunters Way, Bozeman 1818 N Hunters Way
Bozeman, Montana
3 Beds | 2 Baths | 0.14 Acres

My wife and I used Jody Savage for the sale of our home in Gallatin Gateway, MT. Jody was exceptional in all phases of our sale. We had multiple offers over asking price and sold our home in two days! Jody uses up to date modern marketing, was extremely professional and knowledgeable regarding our market and addressing our needs. She was great to work with and very responsive to any questions we had. Jody is the best in the business and we highly recommend her services!

G & B

Jody Savage is knowledgeable, trustworthy and tireless. I purchased a property this spring (2017) near Bozeman; Jody represented me as well as the seller in the transaction. Jody led me through the entire process because this was the first property I had ever purchased. HOA complications and other details made the purchase more difficult. Jody undertook a boat-load of legwork to make the transaction go smoothly. I hope to work with Jody again.


Jody was awesome to work with. We were new to the area and she was helpful and knowledgeable about not only the housing market, but schools, and lenders. She worked with my work schedule for showings. Jody also stayed late to write an offer to meet our schedule. I would recommend Jody to anyone needing a realtor.


Jody is amazing. She knows the market and was able to advise us on all our many concerns. We so appreciated how responsive she was; within minutes of submitting an online request for realtor contact on a house, she had called us. All our communications with her were like that; we never had to wait long to hear back from her. She was patient and always willing to sit down and meet with us. When we found the house we wanted, she worked tirelessly to secure it for us, and she was extremely patient with us. She was easy to communicate with, understand, and a pleasure to work with – I highly recommend Jody!


Jody is FANTASTIC!! We were first time home buyers and she was with us ever step of the way! She never made us feel silly for being new to the process. She definitely knows the area, always kept us up to date on new listings and was just a delight to work with. I would have absolutely zero hesitation recommending her to anyone. Thanks for all the hard-work Jody! We love our house!


We chose to talk to Jody about representing us in selling our home for one primary reason… her website. I researched realtor websites in Bozeman and reached the conclusion that I liked hers the best – clean, simple to use, great photography, and the virtual tours really appealed to me.   When we met with her, it was obvious that she offered so much more than just a great website.  She was very knowledgeable of our specific area and homes that have sold and those currently on the market.  She had realistic ideas on pricing and great recommendations on staging our house. And everything was done so quickly… our house was on the market within 36 hours complete with photography and the virtual tour.

Shortly after it was listed, another realtor was showing the home next door.  He came over to ask a quick question, saw Jody’s sign out front, and said “I see you hired the selling machine”.  Well, I took that as confirmation that we had made the right choice… I have nothing but positives to report about how she handled negotiations and the advice that she gave us along the way.  She responds immediately (I like early risers).  I love her energy.  We were pleased with the outcome.  We highly recommend her.

S & D - 9/2019