Can You Make an Offer On a House that Is Under Offer?

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It’s the house of your dreams. It’s the one you’ve always wanted and is perfect for you. Unfortunately, it’s also listed as “under offer.” Can you make an offer on a house that is considered under offer? What does a house under offer even mean? What if you want to make a better offer? This quick guide can help you sort it all out.

What Does “Under Offer” Mean in Real Estate in the UK?

In the context of real estate in the UK, “under offer” typically means that a seller has accepted an offer from a buyer, but the sale has not yet been completed. It indicates that the property is no longer actively being marketed and that the seller is in the process of progressing towards a sale with the buyer who made the accepted offer. At the point where a home is considered to be “under offer,” the seller probably thinks the deal is done, as does the buyer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is. The sale isn’t legally binding until the two parties have reached the stage where contracts are exchanged.

What does “Under Offer” mean in Scotland? In the context of real estate in Scotland, “under offer” means something similar to what it does in the rest of the UK. It typically indicates that a seller has accepted an offer from a buyer, but the sale has not yet been completed.

When a property is marked as “under offer” in Scotland, it means that the seller has verbally accepted an offer from a buyer, and both parties are in the process of progressing towards a formalised agreement. However, it’s important to note that in Scotland, the sale of a property is legally binding at an earlier stage than in other parts of the UK.

In Scotland, the sale becomes legally binding when both the seller and the buyer have agreed to the terms of the offer in writing, usually through a document called a “missive.” This typically occurs earlier in the process compared to other parts of the UK. Once the missives are concluded and exchanged, it becomes more difficult for either party to back out of the transaction without legal consequences.

However, it’s worth noting that until the missives are concluded, there is still a possibility for the sale to fall through, though the consequences for doing so may be more severe than in other parts of the UK. Therefore, when a property is marked as “under offer” in Scotland, it generally means that a buyer has been found, but the sale has not yet reached the legally binding stage.

What Does SSTC Mean?

As you work to learn more about how to make that perfect offer on a house, you may also see the term “SSTC” floating around. You may also see this further abbreviated as STC. The term “sold STC” means that the seller has accepted an offer from a buyer and has verbally agreed to the terms of the sale. The sold STC meaning does not mean the sale is finalised. Instead, the SSTC meaning implies that there are still legal processes and paperwork that need to be completed before the sale becomes legally binding and the property is officially marked as “Sold.” The terms “Under Offer” vs. “Sold STC” are essential synonyms. They mean the same thing in terms of real estate.

So, Can You Buy the House?

If you see a house that is labelled “Sold STC” or “Under Offer,” you may wonder whether you can still make a bid on it. Actually, you can still make an offer on the house. Houses sold subject to contract doesn’t mean putting an offer on a house in the UK is impossible. Instead, a house under offer means that they haven’t actually exchanged contracts yet, and many things could fall through on the sale. The meaning of “Sold STC” doesn’t prevent you from making an offer they might take.

However, how much to offer on a UK house that is an STC house is a different matter entirely. You’ll need to offer enough that they want to sell to you over the other buyer. They may just take you up on it, too. Maybe they’re nervous about the house survey and you’re a cash buyer who doesn’t care. They’re likely to go ahead and sell to you even though “Sold STC” means they have another buyer who is interested.

Before making an offer on a house that is sold STC or labelled as “Under Offer,” you will absolutely want to chat with an estate agent or a solicitor to ensure everything you’re doing is completely legal.

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