What Does SSTC Mean?

When you are dealing with property transactions – such as buying, selling or buying and selling a home – you will quickly learn that there are even more acronyms than there are documents for you to sign! From APR and CML to NALS and OTO, it can seem like swimming in a sea of unknown depths. But do not be intimidated or overwhelmed. All it takes is a little research and some education from impartial resources to feel more comfortable and confident in the process. And that’s the easy part, so don’t worry.

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That said, what does SSTC mean? You may have been wondering as to the industry definition and what it means for you when it comes to the sales process. Good question. We’re here to answer it.

What Does SSTC Mean? 

Why spell it out when you can use an acronym? SSTC stands for ‘Sold Subject to Contract.’ Great… But what does ‘Sold Subject to Contract’ mean?

This is the stage at which an offer from the buyer has been accepted by the owner. At this stage, the agreement is verbal and contingent upon the next steps… namely, negotiations and the results of surveys and searches. The process is not finalised as yet, and no contracts have been exchanged or signed. There may well be some issues that come up that need to be ironed out, notably price. At this point, there has been no transferal of funds, and there is no legally binding agreement. 

SSTC is a positive step forward, but by no means does it signal that the process is over – as frustrating as this can be!

On the Buyer Side

What does SSTC mean for those who are seeking to purchase a property?

  • Their offer has been accepted but it is a verbal and nonbinding agreement at this stage.
  • They instruct their solicitor to arrange surveys and searches. They can use the results of these processes to renegotiate the price and/or terms of the agreement.
  • The buyer may request that the property be marked as SSTC. This effectively takes it off the market, or as good as. The listing will still be active but it will be far less visible. This reduces the chances that another buyer will come in and usurp their position as presumptive buyer.
  • The buyer can back out. There is not a legally binding contract. In some cases, this can make for a very vulnerable situation as the buyer can rescind their offer and walk away.

On the Seller Side 

What does SSTC mean for the seller?

  • At this stage, the buyer has provided proof that they have the funds with which to purchase the property. 
  • The seller should request their estate agent mark the property as SSTC.
  • They should instruct their conveyancer or solicitor to start the conveyancing process and organise the transfer of ownership.

On both the buyer and seller side: waiting. This is the frustrating, time-consuming part! Most people assume that they are on the home stretch of a marathon. Well… prep yourself for a few more miles to go yet. It’s not over yet and remember: nothing is final until the contract is signed. It’s ‘sold’ but not really, not quite yet.

Most sellers (90%) expect that they will complete their sale within three months of being marked as SSTC. In reality, it takes closer to four months, or longer. During this period, you are waiting for searches, results and reports, and enquiries between buyer and vendors. It’s like watching paint dry; you may feel as if nothing is happening, though that’s not true. It’s happening, but it’s behind the scenes. 


When you reach the ‘Sold Subject to Contract’ stage, it is a good sign that you are making progress and if all goes to plan, you will complete your transaction within a few months.

For some people, this is not feasible. They need an assured sale, and they need to complete the process sooner rather than later. In these cases, working with a reputable cash house buyer may be an attractive option. You can sell your home within days for 80% – 85% of total market value (and skip paying for estate agents, solicitors, surveys, searches, contract prep, repairs and improvements, etc.) and walk away with cash directly deposited into your bank account. No waiting, no SSTC purgatory. Just a sale and the money you need to finance your next moves. 

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