You've found the perfect home, but in order to make it yours, you must sell your current home. Don't stress out, as most property sales are subject to a suspensive condition. Suspensive conditions are conditions that the Seller or the Buyer put in the contract that, if not fulfilled by an agreed upon time, becomes null and void.
In this scenario, your suspensive condition is that you need to sell your home in order to buy the new one. Therefore, your Realtor will include a 72 Hour Contingency as the suspensive condition with your Purchase Agreement. Sometimes a 72 Hour Contingency is called First Right of Refusal, Escape Clause or Release Clause. While that may sound intimidating, especially since you're putting your house on the market, please allow me to explain the process:
Upon acceptance of your offer, the Seller will continue to market and show their home. IF another acceptable offer comes in, the Seller may accept it as a Back Up Offer.
If the Seller accepts the Back Up Offer, the Sellers Agent will contact the Buyers Agent (that's your Agent ) which then activates the 72 Hour Contingency. What happens next depends on you, the Buyer. You now have 72 hours ( 3 days ) to complete your purchase as originally written or refuse to go forward, sign a release and allow the Back Up Offer to take your place.
The 72 Hour Contingency Clause benefits both parties. For the Seller, it allows them to continue to market their home and possibly accept other offers while the Buyer fulfills their suspensive condition. For the Buyer, it provides them protection from selling their existing home and having another Buyer come in and purchase the home they wanted to buy while they were waiting for theirs to sell.
Another important fact is that while its called a 72 Hour Contingency, the notification time can be negotiated in whatever length of time the Seller and Buyer mutually agree upon.