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What’s the Difference Between Under Offer and Sold STC?

Estimated reading time 5 minutes

The world of property sales is filled with a wonderful array of jargon. Some that are self-explanatory and some that just don’t sound right at all. Execution-only anyone?

Two terms that do in fact, sound relatively straightforward but may need some clarification, are under offer and sold STC. Commonly seen on the for-sale signs outside of a house or splashed across listings on the online estate agents both terms may indicate a home is now out of the reach of other interested parties, but this isn’t the case.

The difference between under offer and sold STC may be minor but it can make a major difference in whether you get to sell your house fast, or even sell it at all.

What does under offer mean?

When a property is under offer, it means that a potential buyer has made an offer that has been accepted by the seller, but at this stage nothing is binding and either party could walk away if they don’t wish to proceed. This also leaves the door open to other potential buyers to make an offer that gazumps the current accepted offer. It’s a tactic that is frowned upon but is not illegal at all.

In some cases, an estate agent will use the term under offer when an offer is made but not accepted in a bid to draw more people into diving in with a potentially higher offer, giving them more commission, and securing a higher price for the seller. At the under offer stage, no legal work or surveys have been completed.

How long does a house stay under offer?

Much depends on the seller. There is no determined timeframe although in most cases both parties would like things to be concluded as fast as possible. The seller may accept an offer instantly, they may want to give it some thought. This can often see the buyer walk away if it's taking too long.

What does sold STC mean?

Sold STC is the quick and easy way to say a property has been sold subject to contract. This is a stage of a property transaction where the offer has been made and accepted and the legal aspects are being prepared. It means the transaction is a little closer to completion but is still not quite legally binding. The signage outside the house and on the websites now may change a little as “for sale” is replaced with “sold” but the caveat of “subject to contract” means interested parties still have a slither of hope they may be able to snap up the property if things were to fall apart for those making an offer.

Can you make an offer on a property that is under offer?

Yes. At this stage, an offer has been made, and potentially accepted on the property, but it is still possible for another offer to come in that is more appealing to the sellers. A property under offer does not have a legally binding contract in place yet for its sale. If higher offers are made, the estate agent has a legal obligation to pass this offer on to the seller.

Can you make an offer on a property that is sold stc?

You can still try making an offer on a property that is listed as sold STC. Depending on how far the paperwork and legal processes have progressed, the seller may be open to entertaining it. Especially if it is significantly better than the one previously accepted. The estate agent has a legal obligation to pass on any higher offers to the seller just like they would if the home was under offer.

How long does it take for a house to go from sold STC to a complete sale?

Finally getting the keys to a new property is an exciting time but that move from sold STC to a legally binding sale isn’t always fast. You can see it take anything from around 6-12 weeks, but it’s been known to take as long as six months. This is due to the conveyancing process. In some cases, things may be discovered during conveyancing that require a lot of thorough investigation and slow the process down.

Sold subject to contract in Scotland

If you are looking to buy or sell property in Scotland, it’s a little different. As soon as a purchase offer is made and accepted it becomes legally binding. It only moves on to what is known as STCM if the paperwork or other legal aspects are not completed. STCM is Subject to Conclusion of Missives. This means other people can now make offers on the home and as in England, estate agents must pass all information and other offers on to the sellers when other interested buyers come forward.

Selling property can be a long drawn-out affair and moving from it being listed, to under offer, to sold STC, then completed can take a long time. With Bettermove, you can remove all those steps by selling your house in just 30 days. Our network of cash house buyers are ready to make an offer on your property, and unlike estate agents, won’t charge you a fortune to do so. Our business model works so you can avoid the costly fees and sell your house for free without worry of a surprise charge arising. Whether you are just looking for a new place to live or need to sell to stop repossession, Bettermove can help. Contact our fast sale property experts today to find out more.