300 Days on Market? What’s wrong with this house?

Real Estate Agent with Charlesgate. Realty Group 9049889/s

300 Days on Market? What’s wrong with this house?



“What’s wrong with that property?”


“I don’t want to see this property. It has been on the market for over 300 days.”

“Something has to be wrong with it! If it was a good property, wouldn’t someone else have bought it by now?”

All quotes I often hear from Buyers.  What are they looking at when they ask these questions? Most of the time it’s the days on market for a property (or DOM as often abbreviated on a listing sheet).

So is something actually wrong with a property that’s been on the market for a while?

Well – the answer is maybe. But then again maybe not. When I meet with buyer clients for initial consults, I like to cover this topic and have a good discussion of the market.  What average days on market really is and what it means for homes or condos in Boston that have been on market for longer than average.  The significance can vary from area to area, and from place to place, but often times, properties that have been on the market for an extended time can provide a great opportunity for buyers – since the fact is properties can become stigmatized by long market times and get overlooked by most other buyers in the market solely based on that.

For instance, recently I was assisting a client with their search for a condo in the Back Bay.  First two things you should know about the Back Bay real estate market right now:

  • there is not a ton of inventory right now and
  • there is not a big discount in list price to selling price

So I was searching and searching the inventory but nothing was quite right from my client. But I did what I have been trained to do. I thought “out of the box”.  I kept going back to one listing in particular and researching it even though it was $30,000 over my buyer’s maximum price. And it had been on the market for over 700 days! I looked at the history and the seller had even raised the price 3 months ago.  But besides those strange facts, the condo was a solid unit that fit most of my client’s criteria. Great location, sun streaming through the windows, and recently updated. Pretty much everything on my buyers list – except perhaps a little overpriced.  Speaking with the listing agent, I explained that although the property was above my clients price range I had noticed it had been on the market for over 700 days. So I asked…..Is the seller really ready to sell? Ready to make a deal? Should I bother to show it to my client or was the seller completely unrealistic to make a deal happen?

The listing agent said the seller was willing to sell so I showed it and my client loved the condo!  The strange price increase 3 months ago was because the place had been recently renovated while it was on market. And not only was the seller ready to sell, he was ready to negotiate, and my client stayed within her price range and is now happily moved into her new place!

Bottom line, especially when there is limited inventory for sale, keep an open mind for properties that have been on market for a while.

Posted by
Best Regards, Susan Doig Realtor Charlesgate Realty Group www.Susan.LiveCharlesgate.com Cell 617-504-4381 Sdoig@charlesgaterealty.com

Comments (82)

Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Once again the case of the mixed message. Buy me dont buy me? Thats crazy-making

Jul 07, 2014 11:25 PM
Raymond Edler
Keller Williams Realty Dallas Fort Worth 214-552-2091 - Prosper, TX
#1 Real Estate Office in DFW

Good for you keeping your clients options open.

Jul 07, 2014 11:30 PM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Susan, welcome to AR and for the feature. That was clever to open the cap and see an opportunity where others just thought an issue. Your buyers were very happy to get an updated unit in their price range and the sellers would have been happy to finally get it sold

Jul 07, 2014 11:39 PM
Mike Carlier
Lakeville, MN
More opinions than you want to hear about.

Overpriced listings and long time on market listings are sometimes great opportunities for buyers. 

Jul 07, 2014 11:57 PM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Too many others like it waiting in line. Be proactive, reduce that price. Don't wait for a buyer to come along and try to whittle it. If you are very negotiable, highly motivated to sell, don't keep the price parked with all kinds of wiggle room!

Jul 08, 2014 12:26 AM
Beth Lester
Beth Lester Designs - Torrance, CA
Home Staging & Interior Decorating

I met with some staging clients last night who had been looking to move to Austin, but everything was selling so quickly that it was hard to find something from California.  The wife decided to drive the area she had narrowed her search down to, and she found a For Sale sign for a nice home that had been on the market for 700 days!  The agent didn't know how to get it properly photographed and online, so no one knew it was for sale.  The put an offer in and it was accepted.  Now they're quickly getting their current place ready to sell and they will be off to Texas!

Jul 08, 2014 01:31 AM
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

We tend to look at the LP/SP ratio to find the sweet spot for each neighborhood.  Ours can range anywhere from from 89% to 97% generally.  Exceed those parameters by too much and the waiting game begins Susan.

Jul 08, 2014 07:19 AM
Adrian Willanger
206 909-7536 AdrianWillanger-broker.com - Seattle, WA
Profit from my two decades of experience

Susan, good work. I've had listings where sellers think they need to  price it this way because they expect buyers will offer much less. 

Jul 08, 2014 11:25 AM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

You never know the real reason as this demonstrates.  Seems a remodeled home would have warranted a removed and newly listed campaign though. Nice job and feature!

Jul 08, 2014 09:56 PM
Elyse Berman, PA
Best Connections Realty, Inc. - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824 CRS, ABR, GRI,ePR

Susan,  Congrats on the feature!   I don't discount homes with long DOM either, at least not until I find out why.   Your buyer was very lucky she had such an astute agent.  

Jul 09, 2014 01:30 AM
JC Melvin - Commercial & Business Broker
JC Melvin - KW Southwest - Las Vegas, NV
The ONE Thing Workshop Trainer

Great post and I like the photo of the house also. You're right, we need to stay open minded.

JC in Vegas

Jul 09, 2014 03:19 AM
Chandler Real Estate Liz Harris, MBA
Liz Harris Realty - Chandler, AZ

What a great post today, I had a pleasure reading it, cannot wait for the next one, have a great day!

Jul 09, 2014 09:47 AM
Deleted Account
Fort Myers, FL

Great post Susan!  There are many reasons why a home is on the market for a year or more.  Yes, I agree that being overpriced is the most common reason, but there may be something else. 

I saw that difficulty showing was a reason.  I remember seeing one home that could only be shown 3:00-5:00 in the afternoon.  I had a client that worked 3:00-12:00, so he couldn't see it from 3:00-5:00.  the listing agent said, "Sorry, that is the only time the seller will allow it to be shown."

Another reason that I am very familiar with is a custom built home, where something is not normal about it and it would take a certain person to want to buy it.  One odd thing was a condo that was literally in the kitchen, not off the kitchen, but in it.  Another one I have shown was when you went in the master bedroom, you walked through a hallway with a closet on each side to get to the bathroom and on the other side of the bathroom was a full size room , which was 12' X 12".

Jul 10, 2014 08:47 AM

Seller wants his/her price, not market value. There's often a difference. In my early yrs of r.e. I was told "all houses sell, for the right price."

Jul 13, 2014 03:31 AM
Patrick Willard
Rio Rancho, NM

Sometimes you just don't know why a home isn't selling. On my very first listing, some 22 years ago, I had a pretty nice home in a fairly active market that we just couldn't move. I called every showing agent for feedback and those that did give any usually said "It was nice but they liked something else better". Every agent in my office and my QB said lower the price. We were at the high end of the neighborhood range but it was the biggest floor plan they built there and had a 2 car garage where 90% had a 1 car. Finally an agent I called for feedback said "They just didn't like the appartments behind it." Sitting at the dining room table, with the sliding door blinds open, you could see 2 fourplexes across the street. I asked the seller if they bothered him when he bought and he said there was a tree there but I took it out because it died. That weekend he bought the biggest tree he could find, planted it and by the end of the week we had two full price offers, one for cash

Jul 20, 2014 07:31 AM
Susan Doig
Charlesgate. Realty Group - Winthrop, MA


What a great story and reminder of the importance of a little honest feedback!


Jul 20, 2014 09:15 AM
Susan Doig
Charlesgate. Realty Group - Winthrop, MA


very true! There can be many different reasons that a house remains on the market. Unreasonable showing hours is definitely an issue. 

Jul 20, 2014 09:16 AM
Susan Doig
Charlesgate. Realty Group - Winthrop, MA


price definitely causes delays in a sale. Good advice to gain early in your career.

Jul 20, 2014 09:18 AM
Pete Xavier
Investments to Luxury - Pacific Palisades, CA
Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide

Great story and a good reminder for us all to think outside the box! I know I commented on this earlier, but seen a re-post of this by Winston Heverly today.

Mar 01, 2015 10:17 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

It depends on the price and uniqueness  of the property as well. 300 DOM for high end property is not a big deal. But if it is an enry level property, it still might be nothing wrong with the property. I can give you countless reason why.

Mar 01, 2015 12:51 PM