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Under Offer vs Sold STC in the UK Property Market

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When buying a home in the UK, the terms ‘under offer’ and ‘sold subject to contract’ (SSTC) often pop up. Understanding the nuances of ‘under offer vs sold stc’ can be crucial for both buyers and sellers. So lets look at how they differ and what they mean if you’re buying or selling a home.

What does ‘under offer’ mean in the context of ‘under offer vs sold stc’?

In the world of ‘under offer vs sold stc, the term ‘under offer’ is an initial stage reference when a financial offer has been put forward by a buyer and accepted by the seller. There is no legal commitment and nothing is yet set in stone, so things can change!

When ‘under offer’ both sides can still make a change and consider other offers. For example, if another, higher, offer is received by the seller they might decide to switch buyers. This is also known as the gazumping and while it isn’t illegal its often frowned upon.

Equally a buyer might decide to continue browsing the market. Despite being ‘under offer’ and withdraw their offer if they see a more favourable property elsewhere.

So as you can see being under offer isn’t a formal confirmation. Its merely a reference to a stage of the process from which buyer and seller to move forwards from.

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When is ‘under offer’ used?

The term ‘under offer’ in the ‘under offer vs sold stc’ debate is used when a seller has accepted an offer but before any legal paperwork or surveys are completed.

An estate agent will change a property status to ‘under offer’. This is to let other buyers know that there’s a good chance the property will be off the market soon. However, until contracts are exchanged, either party can back out without legal consequence.

What does ‘sold subject to contract’ mean in ‘under offer vs sold stc’ discussions?

Switching gears in our ‘under offer vs sold stc’ overview, ‘sold subject to contract‘ also referred to as SSTC indicates a more advanced stage of the transaction process.

At this stage, both buyer and seller have committed to the sale, albeit still not legally binding. What sets SSTC apart from ‘under offer’ is that the initial checks like surveys, property valuations, and maybe even mortgage approvals have been booked in or done.

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When is ‘sold subject to contract’ used?

A property status will change to SSTC once all the initial checks are in order and both buyer and seller are happy to move forwards,.

It is a stage of greater confidence that the transaction will go through. Although it’s still not 100% certain until contracts are exchanged.

The aim of reaching this stage is to minimise risks and prepare both sides for the legal commitment, which comes next.

Key differences in ‘under offer vs sold stc’

Wrapping up our ‘under offer vs sold stc’ guide, the primary difference lies in the stage of the transaction. And the level of commitment from both buyer and seller.

‘Under offer’ is more tentative, in the early stages before any surveys or checks.

SSTC is a more advanced stage, where both buyer and seller are more committed to seeing the transaction through, pending legal contracts.

So, whether you’re on the buying or selling side, grasping the ‘under offer vs sold stc’ terminology can offer valuable insights into what to expect during each phase of the property transaction.

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Last Updated: October 6th, 2023

Phil Spencer

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