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What Does Sold STC Mean?

Zenyx Griffiths

Written by Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

29th Nov 2019 (Last updated on 26th Aug 2022) 4 minute read

Sold ‘Subject to Contract’ (STC) means an offer has been agreed between the buyer and seller. However, the sale is not legally binding until the exchange of contracts. If this is the case, this means that the property is still available and alternative offers can be made.

Sold STC is a term that is often used by estate agents when an offer has been accepted, but the contracts have not been signed. Technically, the property is still available to those who enquire or present an alternative offer.

In this guide, we’ll be taking you through everything you need to know about Sold STC and its meaning. This includes understanding what it means for the buyer and seller individually.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Under Offer vs. Sold STC: What's the Difference?
  2. What Does Sold STC Mean When Selling a House?
  3. What Does Sold STC Mean When Buying a House?
  4. How Long Does It Take to Move From Sold STC to Sold?
  5. Can I Put an Offer on a House if it's Sold STC?
  6. How Does Sold STC Connect to Gazumping?
  7. Next Steps of Selling a House

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

Sold STC is not the only term you may come across in your house search. Under Offer, often abbreviated to UO, is a term used by estate agents. Under Offer means that 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. Under Offer describes the period between an offer being made by a buyer and accepted by the seller. Some agents use the term Under Offer instead of Sold STC, so it's best to ask questions about the property.

If you are a prospective buyer, you can make an offer on a property that is Under Offer or Sold STC.

For more information, read what is the difference between under offer and Sold STC?

What Does Sold STC Mean When Selling a House?

Sold Subject to Contract means an offer to buy the house has been accepted. However, the contract has not been signed yet, meaning the deal is not legally binding. Sold Subject to Contract is often abbreviated as either Sold STC or SSTC.

If you are the seller, this means that your property will be removed from the market. It will be listed as Sold STC on the agent’s website and property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla. However, it doesn’t completely eliminate the listing as prospective buyers can still put in competitive offers.

This is a common occurrence in England and Wales, but in Scotland, Sold STC does not exist. This is because the contract is legally binding once the offer has been agreed upon by both parties.

What Does Sold STC Mean When Buying a House?

For buyers, the basic definition of Sold STC is the same. This is because it means that the buyer has submitted their offer and it has been accepted, but the contracts need to be signed and exchanged.

If you are the buyer, Sold STC means that your solicitor will need to gather and submit the correct documentation. They may need to carry out a house survey as well as conduct conveyancing searches among other things. Once these tasks have been completed, the purchase is ready to be finalised.

Again, as mentioned before, Sold STC is not a stage in Scotland as the contract is legally binding once the offer has been accepted.

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

On average, the amount of time it takes between Sold STC to legally sold is from 8 to 12 weeks. However, there is no set time for how long it will actually take. This is dependent on the conveyancing process and the completion of the memorandum of sale.

During this time, the buyer will need to arrange their mortgage. They will also need to find a reliable property surveyor to inspect the home.

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

If a property is Sold STC, it is possible to make an offer. This is because the property is still available as the contract is still pending.

Other buyers may use the opportunity to enquire about the property. Some may even make an alternative offer to the seller. There are also instances when transactions fail, meaning that the property is available.

According to Rightmove, about "15% of Sold STC or UO properties come back on the market after the sale has failed to proceed".

How Does Sold STC Connect to Gazumping?

Gazumping is when a seller accepts an offer from one buyer and then accepts an offer from another. It's widely considered ‘unfair’ but it's not illegal.

Gazumping can happen during the Sold STC stage because another buyer can come in with a higher offer to tempt the seller. As no contracts have been signed or exchanged, this is possible.

According to Market Financial Solutions, 31% of British homeowners have been subject to gazumping in the last decade. This is a staggering number and proves how common the issue is.

It is possible for buyers to avoid gazumping by arranging an agreement with the seller in writing. This agreement can state that the seller will not accept any more viewings or offers when the property is sold STC. This can prevent the sale from falling through.

Next Steps of Selling a House

This article has been part of our selling a house guide. In our next article, we take a detailed look at what is gazundering and how you can avoid it. To find out more read what is gazundering.

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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, 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.