If you find yourself in the position where your offer has been accepted on a house but it’s still on market, what should you do? Most estate agents will mark the house down as SSTC (Sold Subject to Contract), once an offer has been accepted, but not always.
Buying a house is expensive, and it gets even more expensive if you spend money on legal fees, survey fees and mortgage arrangements, only to find someone else gazumps you because the estate agent didn’t take the house off the market. This is why it’s important to think carefully if your offer has been accepted on house but it’s still on market.
If your offer is accepted on a house but it is still on the market, be firm with the estate agent selling the house by telling them you will not proceed to arrange a survey, process your mortgage arrangements nor start the legal conveyancing until such time as the house is changed to “under offer“.
You may like to take a quick read of this article about “Offer on house accepted, now what“. This article explains the 4 main steps to follow after your offer is accepted, with the first step to ask the estate agent to take the property off the market.
Please also take time read this article to discover how you could save over £70,000 on your next mortgage if you sell your house and rent before buying again. Even I was amazed when I did the calculations!
Offer accepted gentlemen’s agreement
It is widely accepted that once an offer has been accepted the property will be taken off the market and will no longer be marketed by the estate agent. Whilst the estate agent is not legally obliged to take the property off the market in the UK, most will do so, unless the vendor asks otherwise.
Pro tip: Only ever put in your offer on the condition that the house is withdrawn from the market. If the estate agent continue to advertise the property withdraw your offer immediately.
How to avoid the stress of buying property
If buying a property is stressing you out, and you are worried the estate agent will not take the property off the market after your offer is accepted, I suggest you read this article first. Are You Better Selling Your House And Renting Before Buying Again?
But I also recommend you read this article too I’ve Sold My House With Nowhere To Go, as you may be surprised a how much money you can save by following the recommendations in this article. When I did the calculations, even I was surprised by them!!
What is the legal position when an offer is accepted?
Estate agents are legally obliged to continue marketing properties after an offer has been accepted if the vendor wishes to continue marketing it. Some sellers will agree to keep it on the market but not accept viewings so the estate agent can collect names in case the sale falls through.
Reasons why estate agents don’t take property off market when offer is accepted
The are a few reasons why an estate agent might refuse to take a house off the market after an offer is accepted, these include:
- Buyer is not proceedable: The seller may accept an offer from a buyer who has yet to sell their own house, but keep it on the market to keep their options open. The sellers might agree to take the house off the market once the buyers have also sold their property.
- No proof of funds: The agent may not take the house off the market until the buyer can prove they have the funds to proceed with the purchase.
- Sellers market: In a sellers market, and especially when house prices are rising fast, some vendors will be reluctant to take their house off the market after an offer is accepted. Assuming the buyer is happy to proceed on this basis, this situation puts pressure on the buyer to buy the house quickly.
- Seller is keeping their options open: The seller may want to keep the house on the market in the hope of higher offers. But this strategy can backfire, as most buyers will not proceed until the property is taken off the market, even when they are proceedable.
- Accepted a low offer: The sellers may have accepted a low ball cheeky offer whilst hoping they may get a better offer in time. If the buyer can proceed quickly, the seller may agree to finally sell their property at the low offer once the buyer is in the position to complete the purchase.
- Repossession property: If a property is a repossession property, the bank concerned will continue to market the house until the sale completes.
- Agent is collecting names: Some estate agents will tell any new enquirers the house is under offer, but take their details in case the sale falls through.*
- Long conveyancing sales chain: The vendor may not want to take their house off the market if the buyer is in a long sales chain.
* If the estate agent uses this excuse, don’t accept it and tell them they must take the house off the market.
Offer accepted but still on Rightmove
If your offer is accepted but the property is still on Rightmove contact the estate agent to amend the property status to “Under Offer” or “Sold STC“. If the estate agent refuses to change the property status from “For Sale” to “Under Offer”, explain to them you will not proceed until it’s changed.
Can a seller pull out after accepting an offer?
A seller can pull out after accepting an offer until the day of exchanging contracts, as an offer is not legally binding until you’ve paid your deposit and contracts are exchanged with a date for completion. The same is true for a buyer, who can pull out right up to the day of exchange of contracts.
Final thoughts on offer accepted on house but still on market
If the vendors are not willing to trust you and take it off the market, there’s no reason for you to trust them either. There’s a reason they don’t trust, or more importantly there’s a reason why they don’t want to take their property off the market, but you don’t want to be wasting your time and money on sellers who think it’s okay to keep marketing their property after they’ve accepted your offer.
If the property is on the market with multiple estate agents, make sure you contact all estate agents to confirm each one has taken the property off the market and marked it as SSTC.
It’s also worth noting that even if a house is marked as “SSTC” or as “Under Offer“, it will still show up on Rightmove if the box is checked to show these properties. Some buyers will check the box on Rightmove to show properties “Sold STC“ and approach the estate agent for details.
Estate agents are obliged to put forward all offers on houses to the sellers up to the day of exchange of contracts. It will be down to the sellers to agree or not to see new buyers when their property is under offer. Sellers may agree to do this if the buying process has taken a long time.
Please don’t forget to read this before you leave…
Please don’t forget to also read this article to discover how you could save over £70,000 on your next mortgage if you sell your house and rent before buying again. As I said earlier, even I was amazed when I did the calculations!
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