You may be hunting for your next property and seen the terms “Under Offer” (UO) and “Sold STC” (SSTC), and you may be wondering what’s the difference between these two property terms.
There is no difference between property terms “Under Offer” and “Sold STC” (Sold Subject to Contract) as they really mean the same thing. Estate agents will use these terms interchangeably and they both mean that an offer has been accepted by the vendors, but that contracts have yet to be exchanged.
Terms used by estate agents in England and Wales
Some estate agents will use different terms on their boards outside the houses they sell, and on online sites like Rightmove.
The main terms used by Estate Agents:
- For Sale: The house is for sale and vendors are open to offers.
- Under Offer, Sold STC (SSTC) and Sale Agreed: These terms are essentially the same thing that the homeowner has accepted an offer from a buyer but the legal paperwork is not yet complete. But some estate agents use the term “Under Offer” to indicate that an offer has been made, but not yet been accepted. But read below if you are in Scotland.
- Sold: This indicates that contracts have been exchanged and the vendors are waiting for the completion date. Once a house is sold where contracts have been exchanged, no further offers can be made nor accepted by the vendor. The Property Ombudsman will insist that the term “Sold” should mean contracts have been exchanged.
What does STCM mean in Scotland?
In Scotland the final paperwork known as missives can occasionally fall through, so the term Sold Subject to Conclusion of Missives (Sold STCM) is used.
House buying in Scotland is different whereby once an offer has been made and accepted, this is legally binding. This means there is no ‘sold subject to contract’ or Sold STC stage in Scotland.
What is the difference between under offer and sale agreed?
There is no difference between under offer and sale agreed, as they both mean than an offer has been accepted, or the sale has been agreed, but contracts have not yet been exchanged.
Can you put an offer on a house that is sold STC?
You can still put an offer on a house that is Sold STC as the property is still effectively available to buy. Estate agents must put all offers forward until contracts are exchanged, but the vendors don’t have to accept offers made after their house is sold STC, and they don’t have to take viewings.
It’s always worth contacting the estate agent to discuss the strength of the accepted offer on a house you are interested in. If the vendors are not accepting further viewings, you should always note your interest to the estate agent, as according to Rightmove on average about 15% of Sold STC or UO properties come back on the market after the sale has failed to proceed.
Can you still put an offer on a house that is under offer?
When a house is under offer you can still put an offer forward to buy it, as contracts have yet to be exchanged. The estate agent is obliged to put all offers forward, but the vendor does not have to accept new offers and they don’t have to take viewings.
What if you are worried being gazumped?
The term gazumping is used when a vendor accepts an offer from another buyer before contracts have been exchanged. This could be that the offer is at a higher price, or that the buyer is in a stronger position than you and doesn’t have a house to sell. This could happen right up to when contracts are exchanged. Unfortunately, gazumping is legal in England and Wales and possible in Scotland too.
If you’re not confident that the house you’ve had an offer accept, and if you feel the vendors or the estate agent are messing you around, get a friend to phone the estate agent to see if they are able to arrange a viewing. If the agent agrees to the viewing, you know your offer has not been firmly accepted.
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Searching on Rightmove for houses Under Offer or Sold STC
It’s always worth including in your property search on Rightmove, houses Under Offer or Sold STC, which you can do by checking the box “Include Under Offer, Sold STC…“, as shown in the above image.
This is the screen you see on Rightmove immediately after you’ve selected your search area. It maybe that a house you like is under offer or sold STC whereby you can let the estate agent know you are interested. This is in case the house sale falls through.
Often times estate agents don’t update Righmove straight away, which means, you could be the first to view a house that’s just come back on the market.
This confirms that as far as Rightmove is concerned, where a house has been marked as either Under Offer or Sold STC, they both mean the same.
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