In the Olympia, WA area, it's probably safe to say that most all sellers have a goal of getting their actively listed home into the status of pending sale. And most all buyers do NOT want to find out that the house they have been circling and trying to decide about is now pending.
But there is pending, and then there is pending - of several different varieties. Our MLS has several choices for what kind of pending sale it may be. Let me explain:
Pending inspection - the buyer and seller have agreed to all the terms for a sale, but the buyer made the sale contingent on an inspection (and chance to request repairs) and is still working through that process. The default time line for the buyer to have the inspection completed and make any applicable repair requests is 10 days. Then the seller has 3 business days (again this is the default time) to respond to the buyer's requests. If they do not agree to all requests, now the buyer has 3 business days to either agree, opt out of the purchase, or continue to negotiate. Buyer and seller can agree to different timelines than the defaults, but as you can see, a pending inspection period can stretch for quite a while.
Pending feasibility - kind of similar, but here the buyer is investigating something they feel is crucial to going forward with the purchase - things like whether they will be allowed to build a shop, run a business from the property, add a mother in law unit, etc etc etc. The timeline for this is usually based on what exactly the buyer has to check out and how long getting answers might reasonably take. But again, this status can last a while...
Pending Back Up Requested - for a variety of reasons, the seller may want to clearly indicate to other buyers that this pending sale might just not go to closing and they would still welcome back up offers - just in case. This status often stays in place clear until the property sale actually does close.
Pending - just plain pending. This may mean that the inspection contingency period is now complete. Or it may just mean the buyer and seller have reached agreement on the sale, even though the buyer does have some contingencies to work through.
Bottom line for a buyer is probably knowing that if a property is in any kind of pending status, then an offer they might make will be in a backup position unless something goes wrong with the first position offer. But if you see the perfect house and it is pending, your agent can find out more about the specific status and maybe even a bit about whether it looks like it would be worthwhile to put in that back up offer.