What does sold STC (subject to contract) mean?

When you see a property listed as "Sold STC" (subject to contract), it means that the seller has accepted an offer to purchase the property, but a formal exchange of contracts hasn't occurred yet. At Felicity J. Lord, we take this phase seriously. We promptly remove the property from the market, erect a 'Sold: STC' sign outside, and update online listings to reflect its status as "Sold STC."

However, it's crucial to note that in England and Wales, "Sold STC" isn't legally binding. It represents an informal agreement, allowing both the buyer and seller the flexibility to reconsider. Higher offers can still come in, and our obligation as estate agents is to present them to the seller. Similarly, the buyer can renegotiate terms or withdraw their interest entirely. Legally binding agreements only come into effect upon the exchange of contracts.

What’s the difference between under offer and sold subject to contract?

When a property is labelled "under offer," it indicates that a prospective buyer has made an offer, but the sellers are yet to decide whether to accept it. During this period, other offers can still be considered. Conversely, "sold STC" signifies that an offer has been accepted, but contracts remain unexchanged.

How long does sold STC take?

As for the duration of the "sold STC" phase, there's no fixed timeline. It depends on various factors, including the intricacies of conveyancing processes such as surveys, searches, mortgage applications, and property assessments. Typically, this phase can span anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks, contingent upon the complexity of any issues uncovered.

Can sold STC fall through?

Unfortunately, yes. Roughly 25% of transactions at the "under offer" or "sold STC" stage encounter setbacks. Practices like "gazumping" are legal, allowing sellers to entertain higher offers even after accepting one. Buyers may also withdraw their offer if surveys reveal significant issues with the property or if legal searches uncover planning concerns in the area.

Can you still live in a house sold STC?

Living in a property marked "sold STC" isn't feasible. Occupancy is only possible after contracts have been exchanged and finalized. At this stage, deposits are paid, and backing out entails substantial legal and financial ramifications for either party.

What protection is there from sold STC issues?

Given the lack of legal binding during the "sold STC" phase, both buyers and sellers have equal freedom to act until contracts are exchanged. At Felicity J. Lord, we understand the nuances of this phase and strive to guide our clients through the process with expertise and care.

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