What is under offer and sold subject to contract?


If you’re looking for a new home you may see estate agent signs or online ads that say either ‘under offer’ or ‘sold subject to contract’. But do they mean the same thing?

Some estate agents might use ‘under offer’ when the property is actually ‘sold subject to contract’ (or SSTC). So let’s unpack what each phrase can mean if you’re unsure about under offer and sold subject to contract.

Some people may tell you that SSTC means the sale is in the latter stages of the process, while under offer is earlier in the process. But that isn’t always the case, as we’ll see…


What is under offer?

While searching for your next dream home, seeing the words ‘under offer’ can feel a bit disheartening. But here’s the thing: it doesn’t mean it has been sold!

When a property is under offer, it means just that – an offer has been made on the home. But it could be that the vendor (the person selling) isn’t happy with that offer. For example, it could be significantly lower than the asking price.

It can also mean that while an offer has been made, the buyers are not yet able to proceed with the sale. This can be for a variety of reasons, but it’s often when their own property has yet to be sold.

We don’t use the term on our advertising, but some agents may use ‘under offer’ even when an offer has been accepted. If you see the wording, check with the estate agent to see whether the offer has been accepted or not.


What is sold subject to contract?

Sold subject to contract usually means an offer has been accepted by the party selling the property (the vendor). As a result, the sale is going through the conveyancing process. That means the contracts have yet to be exchanged. Check out our blog that explains what exchanging contracts means and why it’s different to completion.

But a lot of estate agents now use SSTC rather than ‘Under Offer’ these days because of online sales sites. Rightmove marks a property as ‘sold’ if Under Offer is used, so that’s why SSTC is now becoming used more often.


So are they different?

Under offer can be used to mean the same thing as SSTC, which is that a potential offer has been received. But it really depends on your estate agent. No matter which term is used, the law in England and Wales means offers are not legally binding. That means until the contracts are exchanged, the vendor or seller can pull out of the process and the sale falls through.

If you’re thinking of selling your property, contact our experienced team today as they’d be delighted to give you advice.

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