“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.