What does sold STC mean?
Charlie from Preston
25 February 2014
Conveyancing questions and answers
My partner and I have been searching for our first house for over six months now with no luck. Recently, we finally found one online that we felt was perfect – only to find out it was sold STC. What does sold STC mean? Can we still view a property that is sold STC?
If you’ve found your perfect home and it is ‘Sold STC’, you may well have missed out, but all is definitely not lost. Sold STC means 'Sold Subject to Contract'. In layman’s terms this means that the seller and a buyer have agreed a price for the property, however, the final contract which would make the deal irreversible has not been signed. With this in mind, it makes sense to contact the agent and try and find out the status of the sale.
When the Terms of Sale has been agreed and the property is listed as ‘Sold STC’, there is still a huge amount of work to be done by both sides. Usually, the buyer has to arrange a mortgage and/or building survey and their lawyer needs to do their due diligence, for example making sure that the seller can sell the property, ensuring that there will be no debt once the property is sold, and making sure that there are no issues concerning flooding, planning and even radon gas.
The seller also needs to answer lots of questions through their solicitor, who in turn needs to deal with settling any mortgages / other debts on the property… as you can appreciate there is an awful lot to do, and sometimes this isn’t straightforward.
As to whether you can still view a property that is 'Sold Subject to Contract', this is up to the seller. Ethically it is not really fair as the owner has already agreed to sell to someone else, however many sellers will entertain new buyers if they think they can get a higher price than what they have already agreed. Alternatively they may well look at other buyers if the process mentioned above is taking too long and/or they feel that the buyer is having difficulty getting a mortgage. Many agents do continue to advertise properties which are Sold STC and keep a list of any interested parties so that they can contact them if the sale doesn’t proceed for any reason. For these reasons it always pays to be in contact with the agent, so don’t give up!
To sum up, if you have found your perfect property and it is 'Sold STC’, the best thing you can do is speak to the agent / seller and ascertain the current position. A lot can change during the course of a property sale, so you may well be in luck and get that perfect home after all!
If you are confused about some of the terms used, take a look at our Conveyancing Glossary which outlines all the main terminology used by your conveyancer or estate agent.
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