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What Does Sold STC Mean?

Zenyx Griffiths

Written by Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

29th Nov 2019 (Last updated on 18th Nov 2020) 5 minute read

Sold ‘Subject to Contract’ (STC) means an offer has been agreed between the buyer and seller, but is not yet legally binding and subject to the contract being formally agreed (known as 'exchange of contracts'). The property may still be considered as available and alternative offers can be put forward to the seller to consider. 

It's a term often used by estate agents for when an offer has been accepted by a property owner but is not legally binding as no contracts have been signed or exchanged. Technically, the property is still available to those who enquire or present an alternative offer.

When searching for a property you may come across the term ‘Sold STC’ prompting immediate questions. This guide will aid your understanding of what it means for your potential sale or purchase. We will explore how long the process may take and what it means for both the buyer and seller individually. There is still a lot that needs to be done during this process and so it would be helpful to use Compare My Move to find up to 5 licensed conveyancers or conveyancing solicitors to help you begin.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Under Offer vs. Sold STC: What's the difference?
  2. How Long Does IT Take to Move From Sold STC to Sold?
  3. What Does Sold STC Mean When Buying a House?
  4. What Does Sold STC Mean When Selling a House?
  5. Can I Put an Offer on a House if it's Sold STC?
  6. How Does Sold STC Connect to Gazumping?
  7. Saving Money with Compare My Move

Under Offer vs. Sold STC: What's the difference?

‘Under Offer’ or 'UO' is a term used by estate agents that means a formal offer has been made by a potential buyer and the seller is considering it. 

The property will remain on the market whilst the offer is being considered. If the offer is accepted it will then be listed as Sold STC. Simply, it’s the period between an offer being made by a buyer and then accepted by the seller.

As a prospective buyer, you’re able to inquire about a property if it’s either Under Offer or Sold STC and can make an alternative offer for the seller to consider.

How Long Does IT Take to Move From Sold STC to Sold?

There is no set time for how long it will take for a property to move from being Sold ‘Subject to Contract’ and to being legally Sold. Both the seller and buyer will need to follow the conveyancing process, which on average can take 8-12 weeks from the point the sale is agreed. 

It's during this period that the buyer will need to arrange their mortgage and find a reliable surveyor to inspect the property.

What Does Sold STC Mean When Buying a House?

Sold 'Subject to Contract’ means an offer to buy the house has been accepted, but the contract has not been signed yet and the deal is not legally binding on the parties. Sold 'Subject to Contract' is often abbreviated as either Sold STC or SSTC.

It's a term often used by estate agents for when an offer has been accepted by a property owner but is not legally binding as no contracts have been signed or exchanged.

The is common across the country but in Scotland, however, this stage does not exist as a contract is legally binding once an offer has been agreed upon by both parties. 

What Does Sold STC Mean When Selling a House?

Sold 'Subject to Contract’ means an offer to buy the house has been accepted, but the contract has not been signed yet and the deal is not legally binding on the parties. Sold 'Subject to Contract' is often abbreviated as either Sold STC or SSTC.

It's a term often used by estate agents for when an offer has been accepted by a property owner but is not legally binding as no contracts have been signed or exchanged.

The is common across the country but in Scotland, however, this stage does not exist as a contract is legally binding once an offer has been agreed upon by both parties.  

Can I Put an Offer on a House if it's Sold STC?

It is possible to make an offer on a property that is Sold STC. The property is still technically available as the contract is still pending. 

Other potential buyers may take this opportunity to enquire about the property and make an alternative offer to the seller. Some transactions may even fail during this period making the property available to you. 

According to Right Move, on average "15% of Sold STC or UO properties come back on the market" if the sale has failed to go through thus making it available to other buyers. 

There are moral debates surrounding this topic as providing the seller with a higher offer is considered as ‘gazumping’ and deemed unfair to the first buyer as a previous price of the property has already been accepted. However, it is possible and some sellers may entertain higher or alternative offers.  

How Does Sold STC Connect to Gazumping?

Gazumping is when a buyer succeeds in acquiring a property even though the seller previously accepted an offer from another buyer. It's widely considered as ‘unfair’ but it's not illegal. Gazumping is possible during the Sold STC stage as it's an uncertain time where another prospective buyer may sway the seller with a higher offer. As no contracts have been signed or exchanged, this is possible.

The latest data from Market Financial Solutions revealed that 31% of British homeowners in the past decade have previously lost out on a property deal because of gazumping. This is a staggering number and proves how common the issue is. 

It's possible for buyers to try avoiding this risk by agreeing either verbally or in writing with the seller that no viewings will take place and no alternative offers will be considered once the property is sold STC.

Saving Money with Compare My Move

We hope this guide has been useful and has successfully explained to you the meaning of Sold STC. It can certainly be a lengthy process filled with paperwork and legal documents. But Compare My Move are here to help with a quick and easy form to connect you with up to 5 licensed conveyancers and conveyancing solicitors for when you are ready to continue with your sale or purchase.

Zenyx Griffiths

Before Compare My Move, Zenyx once wrote lifestyle and entertainment articles for the online magazine, Society19 as well as news articles for Ffotogallery.

Gareth Brooks

Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

Solicitor and Partner at RMNJ Solicitors, RMNJ Solicitors

With 19 years of experience in the residential conveyancing industry, Gareth Brooks is a partner and head of management for the conveyancing department at RMNJ Solicitors.