Thanks for your question, Lori and Jeremy. Accepting an offer contingent upon the buyers selling their home seems like an innocent thing to do. After all, it "seems" like you would have the Deal Today of all worlds. Having your home sold and still being able to possibly sell for more or better terms, etc. The problem is that when accepting a contingent offer like this, we have just put all of our eggs in someone else's basket.
You see, first of all, we don't know how sellable the buyer's home is, especially in this case, as it is out of state. We don't know how experienced their agent is, if the home is priced correctly, if they can even sell it for what it is actually worth, if it is being marketed well, etc.
Secondly, because of local MLS rules, Realtors must make any property "contingent" in the MLS system when there is an agreed offer of any kind, regardless of terms. When we do that, it highlights that listing in yellow. And most experienced agents won't show a contingent listing to their buyers and take the chance that their buyers may not be able to buy that particular home because of the other pending offer. As an agent, few things are worse than watching a buyer fall in love with a particular home only to find out that it is actually already sold.
I'm so sorry that you guys find yourself in this situation. And what I have shared was not to make you feel worse about the current situation. Only to help you understand why the showings have slowed and to better equip you if you ever find yourselves in this kind of situation again.
What I would recommend to anyone being presented an offer on their home contingent upon the future "sale" of another property is to simply thank that buyer for their sincere interest in your home and let them know that you would love to entertain an offer from them to purchase your home once they have a solid contract on theirs.