Contingent means that the seller has accepted a contract on the property. This means that if everything in the contract goes through (home inspection, lender approval, appraisal, etc.) as planned, then the sale will be completed. If the status is "with kickout" it means that they are still accepting offers, and if you make a significantly better offer, they will likely accept. If it say "no kickout" then they are no longer accepting offers, regardless of whether you want to offer more.
In a short sale, a house could be under contract for 6-12 months and at the last minute fall through and go back on the market because the bank does not approve the sale in time. It actually happens a lot, but if you were to wait, it could take months or even a year to see it back up again. I would suggest looking for other properties in the area.
Mom is realestate agent