DEFINITION of 'Conditional Offer'

In general, an agreement between a buyer and a seller that an offer will be made if a certain condition is met. In real estate transactions, conditions can include a home inspection or a mortgage application. Once the conditions are satisfied, the buyer or seller will then be obligated to purchase or sell the property. If the conditions are not met then the buyer or seller is not obligated to purchase or sell the property.

BREAKING DOWN 'Conditional Offer'

The time frame of a conditional offer is often short, since the seller will not want to tie up the property for an extended period of time. Some real estate agents will still show the property to other buyers in order to put pressure on the conditional offer buyer to hurry up, or will suggest that the seller insert an escape clause into the conditional offer in case a better offer comes along.


A conditional offer can also refer to an offer of employment that is contingent on meeting certain conditions. These could include passing a background check, medical clearance, visa clearance, reference checks and many others.

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