What Is Put to Seller?

Put to seller is when a put option is exercised. The put writer becomes responsible for selling the underlying shares to the put buyer at the strike price.

Put to seller usually occurs when the strike price of the put is lower than the market value of the underlying security. At this point, the put buyer has the right, but not the obligation, to sell the underlying asset to the option writer at the strike price. 

Key Takeaways

  • Put to seller is when a put option is exercised.
  • When a put option is exercised, the put writer becomes responsible for selling the underlying shares to the put buyer at the strike price.
  • A put option gives the holder the right, but not the obligation, to sell an asset at a predetermined price—the strike price—before the option expires.

Understanding Put to Seller

Put to seller occurs when a put buyer holds the contract to expiry, or decides to exercise the put option. In both cases, the put writer is obligated to sell the underlying security to the put buyer at the strike price.

Special Considerations

How a Put Option Works

A put option gives the holder the right, but not the obligation, to sell an asset at the strike price before the option expires. For example, stock XYZ is trading at $26. A trader buys a put option for $25 at a premium—or price—of $1.50. The option expires in three months. If the price of the XYZ drops below $25, that option is in the money and the option holder may choose to exercise the put option they purchased. The put option gives the investor the right to sell stock at $25, even though the stock may currently be trading at $24, $20, or even $1.

The option cost $1.50; the premium was $1.50. Therefore, the holder's breakeven price is $23.50. If the price of the stock remains above $25—and the three months pass—the option is worthless and the holder losses $1.50 per share. A single option contract represents 100 shares, so if the trader bought three options, they would lose $450, or 3 x 100 x $1.50=$450.

On the flip side, the person who wrote the option has the obligation to sell shares at $25. If the price of the underlying drops to $10, they still need to sell the option holder shares at $25. In exchange for the risk that option writers take on, they get the premium the option buyer pays. The premium is the most the option writer can make.

Example of Put to Seller

Consider a situation where an investor buys put options to hedge downside risk in their position in stock A, which is currently trading near $36. The investor buys a three-month put on stock A, with a strike price of $35, and pays a premium of $2. The put writer, who earns the premium of $2, assumes the risk of buying stock A from the investor if it falls below $35.

Towards the end of the three-month period, if stock A is trading at $32, the investor will sell stock A to the put writer, and receive $35 for each share. In this case, the put option is exercised; in other words, it is put to seller.