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SSTC Meaning: Understanding the Basics of Sold Subject to Contract

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Sold Subject to Contract (SSTC) is a term used in the UK property market that refers to a property that has been sold, but the sale has not yet been completed. Understanding the meaning of SSTC is essential for both buyers and sellers, as it can affect the buying and selling process

sstc meaning

What Does SSTC Mean?

When a property is marked as SSTC, the seller has accepted an offer from a buyer, but the sale has not yet been completed. The property is still technically available for sale, but the seller has agreed to sell it to the buyer who accepted the offer.

Once a property is marked as SSTC, the seller can accept any other offers from other potential buyers, although this is frowned upon. This often happens when another buyer ‘gazumps’ by providing a more attractive offer. Because the contract has not been signed, there’s no legal obligation to honour the sale, which has it’s pros but also is a huge flaw of the UK conveyancing system.

However, the sale is not yet legally binding, and either party can still withdraw from the sale.

It is common for a property to be marked as SSTC for several weeks or months before the sale is completed. The buyer usually arranges a survey and finalises their mortgage offer during this time. The seller will also need to provide the necessary legal paperwork and complete any necessary repairs or renovations to the property.

Understanding the meaning of SSTC is important for buyers, as it can help them to avoid wasting time and money on a property that has already been sold, but also keep them aware that there is potential for the sale to not go ahead.

For sellers, it is important to understand the implications of marking a property as SSTC and to ensure that the sale process runs smoothly so that you do not lose your buyer and incur legal expenses which are then wasted.

 

The Journey to SSTC: A Step-by-Step Breakdown

When selling a property, achieving the SSTC (Sold Subject to Contract) status is a significant milestone. It means that the seller has accepted an offer, and the property is no longer available for viewing. However, it’s important to note that the property is not yet legally off the market, and the sale is still just as it says – subject to contract. Which happens at the very end of the UK conveyancing process. 

sstc meaning

When Is a Property Marked as SSTC?

Property Listing

The first step in the selling journey is to list your property on a relevant platform. This could be through an estate agent, an online property portal, or social media. It’s important to ensure that your listing is accurate and detailed and includes high-quality images to attract potential buyers.

 

Viewings and Interest

Once your property is listed, potential buyers will show interest and arrange viewings. This is where you’ll need to ensure your property is presented in the best possible light. Ensure that it’s clean and tidy and that any repairs or maintenance issues are addressed. During viewings, it’s important to be friendly and welcoming and answer any buyer’s questions.

 

Offers and Negotiations

If a buyer is interested in purchasing your property, they’ll make an offer. This is where negotiations may take place to agree on a price acceptable to both parties. It’s essential to be clear and transparent during negotiations and ensure that all terms are agreed upon before moving forward.

 

Acceptance of Offer

Once an offer is accepted, the property is marked as SSTC. This means that the buyer has committed to purchasing the property, subject to contract. At this stage, the buyer will typically arrange a survey, and their solicitor will start the legal process of transferring ownership.

 

The Role of SSTC

It’s important to note that the SSTC status does not mean the property is legally off the market. Until contracts are exchanged, either party can pull out of the sale. Therefore, it’s important to continue to market the property until contracts are exchanged.

 

In summary, achieving the SSTC status is an important milestone in the selling journey. By following these steps, you can help ensure your property’s smooth and successful sale.

sold subject to contract

SSTC vs. Other Property Statuses

When you are searching for a property, you may come across different statuses such as Under Offer, Completed Sale, For Sale, Withdrawn, and SSTC. 

 

Understanding the differences between these statuses is important to avoid confusion and make informed decisions. In this section, we will compare SSTC with other property statuses.

 

Under Offer: How is it different from SSTC?

When a property is marked as Under Offer, it means that the seller has accepted an offer from a buyer, but the sale still needs to be completed.

 

The buyer may still back out of the deal, and the property may still be available for other potential buyers to make an offer. On the other hand, SSTC stands for Sold Subject To Contract. 

 

It means that the seller has accepted an offer from a buyer, and the sale is in progress, but the contracts have yet to be exchanged. During this period, the buyer can still back out of the deal, but the property is no longer available for other potential buyers to make an offer officially. Although this can happen. 

 

Completed Sale: When the sale is legally binding.

A Completed Sale means that the sale has been legally completed and the property has been transferred to the buyer. At this stage, the property is no longer available for purchase, and the seller cannot accept any more offers. SSTC is a stage before the Completed Sale, where the sale still needs to be legally binding.

 

The formal moment is known as the ‘exchange of contracts’ and typically happens about 10 days before exchanging. 

 

For Sale: When a property is actively on the market.

For sale indicates that the property is actively on the market and available for sale. The seller may receive multiple offers, and the property may be sold to the highest bidder. SSTC, on the other hand, means that the seller has already accepted an offer from a buyer, and the property is no longer available for sale.

 

Withdrawn: When a property is removed from the market.

Withdrawn means that the property has been removed from the market and is no longer available for sale. This can happen for various reasons, such as the seller changing their mind, the property needing too manyu repairs for it’s asking price, or the property being taken off the market temporarily. SSTC is not the same as Withdrawn since the property is still in the process of being sold.

 

Overall, SSTC is a stage in the property selling process where the seller has accepted an offer from a buyer, and the sale is in progress. Understanding the differences between SSTC and other property statuses is important to avoid confusion and make informed decisions when buying or selling a property.

sold subject to contract

Why is SSTC Important for Buyers and Sellers?

Buyers

When you are looking to buy a property, you want to ensure the process is as smooth and stress-free as possible. One way to achieve this is by finding a property that is marked as Sold Subject to Contract (SSTC). This means that the seller has accepted an offer from a buyer, but the sale still needs to be legally binding. As a buyer, this gives you some security that the property is not going to be sold to someone else while you are in the process of buying it.

 

Another advantage of SSTC for buyers is that it can speed up the buying process. Because the seller has already accepted an offer, the negotiations are already done. This means you can move forward with the legal process, such as conveyancing and surveys, without worrying about the price changing or the seller accepting a higher offer.

 

Sellers

For sellers, SSTC is an important milestone in the selling process. It means that they have found a buyer interested in the property and willing to make an offer. This can relieve sellers who may have been struggling to find a buyer or who have had their property on the market for a long time.

SSTC can also give sellers some peace of mind that the sale will go through. 

 

Although the sale is not yet legally binding, it means that the buyer has committed to buying the property. This can be reassuring for sellers who may have been worried about the sale falling through.

 

 

In summary, SSTC is an essential stage in the buying and selling process. It can provide some security for buyers and speed up the buying process. For sellers, it can be a relief and give them some peace of mind that the sale is going to go through.

Why Do SSTC Property Sales Fall Through?

When you are selling your property, it is crucial to be aware of the potential reasons why a sale might fall through. Even when a property is marked as Sold Subject to Contract (SSTC), several factors could cause the sale to fall through. Here are some of the reasons why an SSTC property sale might fall through:

 

Mortgage Issues

One of the most common reasons why an SSTC property sale might fall through is due to mortgage issues. This can occur when the buyer is unable to secure financing for the property. In some cases, the buyer might have been pre-approved for a mortgage but then failed to secure the necessary funds. Alternatively, the buyer might have been rejected for a mortgage altogether. If the buyer cannot secure financing, the sale will not proceed.

It was very common during 2022 and 2023 for mortgage offers to expire, but because of the increasing interest rates, buyers were unable to get mortgages they could afford on the higher interest rates. This caused a lot of chains to collapse.

 

Survey Findings

Another reason why an SSTC property sale might fall through is due to unexpected property issues discovered during the survey. The survey might reveal issues with the property’s structure, dampness, or other problems the buyer was unaware of. If the buyer feels that the issues are too severe, they might decide to withdraw from the sale.

 

Chain Break

Sometimes, a buyer or seller in the property chain might pull out of the sale, causing the SSTC property sale to fall through. This can occur if the buyer is unable to sell their own property or if the seller decides not to proceed with the sale for personal reasons. If one link in the chain breaks, it can have a knock-on effect on the entire chain, causing the SSTC property sale to fall through.

Cold Feet

Finally, either party might decide not to proceed with the sale due to cold feet. This can occur if the buyer or seller has a change of heart or feels that the sale is no longer in their best interests. If either party decides not to proceed, the SSTC property sale will fall through.

 

In conclusion, there are several reasons why an SSTC property sale might fall through. It is essential to be aware of these potential issues and to take steps to mitigate them where possible. By understanding the potential risks, you can better prepare yourself for the sale process and increase your chances of a successful sale.

sold subject to contract

How To Ensure a Smoother Property Sale (SSTC)

Selling a property can be a stressful and complicated process. However, there are steps you can take to ensure a smoother property sale. Here are some tips to help you achieve a successful SSTC:

 

Effective Communication

Effective communication is key to a successful property sale. It is essential to ensure that all parties involved are on the same page. This includes your estate agent, solicitor, and potential buyers. Be clear about your expectations and communicate any concerns you may have. This will help to avoid misunderstandings and potential conflicts.

 

Work with Reputable Agents

Working with a reputable estate agent can make a significant difference in the success of your property sale. A good agent will guide you through potential pitfalls and help you to achieve a fair price for your property. Look for an agent with a proven track record of successful sales in your area. You can also ask for recommendations from friends and family.

 

Be Prepared for Surveys

Surveys are an essential part of the property-buying process. It is important to address any potential property issues beforehand to avoid delays and potential price reductions. Be prepared for surveys by ensuring that your property is in good condition and that any necessary repairs have been carried out.

 

Stay Informed

Understanding the entire property buying and selling process can help you to minimize surprises and achieve a successful SSTC. Stay informed by reading up on the latest property news and trends. You can also seek advice from your estate agent and solicitor.

 

Following these tips can ensure a smoother property sale and achieve a successful sale and move from SSTC to SOLD! 

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