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How long has that home been on the market is a familiar question posed by many would-be home buyers. The real question is, does how many days a house has been for sale matter?

Years ago some real estate agents would use specific tactics to mislead prospective home buyers as it related to how long their listing was for sale. If the home were on the market too many days, they would withdraw it from the multi-list and relist it minutes later. By doing so the days on market (DOM) was reset to one day and the property became a fresh new listing.

The internet has certainly done its part to educate people. It has indeed brought more clarity to the world of real estate. Now we have statistics like Previous Marketing Period (PMP), Cumulative Days on Market (CDOM), and Average Days on Market (ADOM). Many multi-list systems will reset the Days on Market statistic if the home has been off the market for a specific period of time. The MLS that governs Berks County, BrightMLS, will reset the DOM after 30 days. If that is not enough, there is always public records which keeps a running history of every property, when it is listed for sale, how long, and when it sells going back almost two decades. Public records are where websites like Zillow.com get the property history statistics they display. These new accounting systems make sure the public is made fully aware of the actual time a home is for sale.

The practice of manipulating days on market has been dramatically diminished. The question is why did agents go to all that trouble to manipulate the days on market statistic and why is it so publicized? Why did multi-list systems nationally have to put rules in place to curtail the days on market manipulation? Are days on market that influential to prospective home buyers? That answer is an obvious, yes.

Often, a great home that may have small issues will see those issue blown way out of proportion as the days on market accumulate.

The buyer's thoughts... A home that has been sitting on the market too long apparently has something wrong with it. It could be way overpriced, have a nasty neighbor, be sitting on a landfill, or maybe a landfill is going in across the street sometime soon! No one wants this home so why should I? Either way, there is no hurry, we can think about it while we are looking at other homes.

What Home Sellers Should Consider ~ Price your home responsibly, be quick to act.

Lowering the asking price, especially more than once, is not a good marketing strategy overall. That said, it is better than sitting with an overpriced listing that is headed towards the dreaded massive days on market.

A home that has been on the market more too long can get stigmatized. You think the condition of your carpets, the color of your walls, and whether or not to move that couch will affect the eventual sales price? These things often pale in comparison to lofty days on market.

Click this link to read an article I wrote on the subject of How Days on Market Can Affect Home Values.

What Home Buyers Should Consider ~ Don't throw a home out because of excessive days on market.

The most prominent cause for high days on market is overpricing. With home inventory at all-time lows, I suggest buyers expand their search by looking at homes in a higher price bracket. They will likely find more properties to preview, and some may have elevated days on market due to overpricing. There is no guarantee that sellers with overpriced homes will consider a lower offer but it doesn't hurt to try. Sometimes the reality of property value comes in the form of an offer!

As always, counsel with your real estate professional to get the best advice for your particular situation. If you do not yet have an agent, call me:)

Knowledge is Power!

Jeffrey C. Hogue