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The 72 hour contingency clause is often referred to as a first right of refusal; that is close but not quite accurate. A first right of refusal is an agreement between a seller and potential buyer that if the seller accepts an offer on a piece of property the potential buyer has a certain time frame to match the offer. There can always be other details built into the agreement, but this is a short basic description.

A 72 hour contingency (the time can be substituted with any number – 24 hour, 48 hour are both common also) is part of an agreement to buy a house that is subject to the sale of another house. It accompanies a fully executed purchase agreement that goes into effect when the 72 hour contingency clause is removed.

After buyer and seller come to terms with the condition the buyer needs to sell, the seller’s house stays on the market and other offers can be negotiated. Once the seller receives another offer, notice is served to the first buyer and that buyer has 72 hours to show their house is sold, show they willing and able to buy without selling, or be released from their offer. If the first buyer chooses to “perform” and go through with the sale, the 2nd offer is then voided. If the first buyer hasn’t sold and doesn’t want to or able to buy without selling the 2nd offer slides into place and the first offer released.

If the first buyer sells, they remove the 72 hour contingency clause and the offer then becomes subject to the close of their house.

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