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Sold Subject to Contract – What Does SSTC Mean?

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If you’re looking for a property to buy, you’ve probably come across the phrase SSTC or sold STC. But what does SSTC mean when it’s on a property listing?

Sold STC means that an offer has been made on a property which the seller has accepted. The sale is not yet legally binding though – that’s where “subject to contract” comes in. The sale will only be complete once the paperwork and contracts are completed.

Some estate agents might use “sale agreed” instead of sold STC. Another phrase you might see is “under offer”. This means that whilst an offer has been made, it hasn’t yet been accepted and negotiations are still underway. However, what happens next in the sales process is essentially the same for properties both under offer and SSTC. A simplified way to perhaps explain the difference is that property under offer has not progressed to the conveyancing stage.

What Does SSTC Mean for the Buyer?

For a buyer, sold STC means that their offer has been accepted by the seller. Buyers can instruct their solicitors to undertake surveys and searches to ensure everything is as it should be with the property. There is an opportunity for the buyer to back out or renegotiate if any problems arise from these searches. Whilst it’s vital that this information is collected before contracts are signed, it can be a long and frustrating process. Buyers should chase the estate agents and solicitors if they feel things are taking too long, to make sure the sale keeps moving forward.

Buyers should encourage the estate agent to mark the property listing as SSTC as soon as possible. This makes it less visible on property listing sites and can put other potential buyers off. This can prevent someone from coming in and making a higher offer and “gazumping” the buyer out of their property.

What Does SSTC Mean for a Seller?

For a seller, sold STC means they have accepted an offer from a buyer. The buyer will have had their proof of funds confirmed and only then should the seller request that the property listing be marked as SSTC.

This will effectively remove the property from the market – the listing will still be active but be less prominent once it’s marked SSTC. You can then instruct your solicitor to begin the conveyancing process to organise the transfer of ownership.

What Happens After a Property Is SSTC?

Once a house is sold STC, the work begins to finish the sale. All the relevant information is collected and defined. The contracts are written up and can be exchanged between the buyer and seller. Once this is complete, the sale is legally binding.

Can I Make an Offer on a House that Is SSTC?

Yes, people can still make offers on properties that are sold STC. This is commonly known as “gazumping”, when a better offer is made by a third party on a property that has already had an offer accepted. This could be an offer for more money or a buyer who is able to complete the sale quicker. Whilst this isn’t illegal, it’s seen as highly unfair on the original buyer.

However, there is nothing wrong with contacting the estate agent to find out more about properties that are sold STC and register interest. There is a chance that either the buyer or the seller might pull out of a sale whilst a property is SSTC, so there may still be an opportunity for a third party to fairly make an offer. The sale will only be final once the contracts have been exchanged.

Can a Property Sold STC Fall Through?

Yes, a property sold STC can unfortunately still fall through. In addition to third parties making offers that the seller accepts, the searches and surveys might bring up problems with the property that haven’t previously been made apparent. This could cause the buyer to back out if it is an issue that is too severe for them to want to deal with.

Buyers and sellers can both make efforts to help prevent the sale from falling through. Both should be open about their situation, whether or not they’re in a chain or if they’re a cash buyer. The seller will need to be upfront about any flaws of the property, so the buyer has all the information before they make their offer.

The best way to avoid a sale falling through is to ensure it is completed quickly. Both parties can help speed things along by choosing the right solicitors to do the conveyancing work efficiently and being proactive with producing paperwork.

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Sale Once a House is SSTC?

The average time it takes for a sale to be completed once an offer has been made is 12 weeks. The time it takes will be affected by how quickly the estate agents and solicitors work, how long the searches take, and how long it takes for a mortgage to be completed. The length of the property chain will also impact how long it takes to complete a sale – if there is no chain at all, the process could be as quick as six to eight weeks.

The buyer and seller can help to keep the process moving by being proactive and having the relevant paperwork organised as soon as possible. This will include details of both parties’ solicitors, proof of identity, and the buyer’s proof of funds.

If you don’t want to wait that long to sell your property, sell your house online with online estate agent SOLD.CO.UK. It tends to be much faster and as you can sell your house for free, you can avoid the fees associated with high street vendors.

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