Buyers often ask me how long a particular house has been on the market. I dutifully give them the information but at the same time I am always shaking my head. In most cases I’ve encountered in the 9 years I’ve been selling, the time the home has been on the market has had no bearing on the value of the house.
Ultimately, homes don’t sell because of price, condition, features, location or market exposure. If we just look at price as the only influencer, every property will sell at a price that takes into account the condition, location and market exposure. Homes that have been on the market a long time are overpriced, plain and simple.
When shopping for a current-year car, do you ask the dealer if the car is new on the lot or it has been sitting there a while? How about when shopping for household items at Target? When a retailer want to clear inventory they will “clearance” it, but other than that, we know very little about how long something has been for sale.
Buyers often over think the seller’s motivations. While sometimes a listing agent will spill the beans and share more than they should, usually we are largely in the dark as to how low a seller will go. Buyers try to guesstimate the seller’s willingness to negotiate based on market time, when there are many other factors that go into a seller’s willingness to negotiate price.
Especially as the market begins to recover, the only true measure to use is the home’s value (condition, features, location) versus other similar homes nearby. If the house is way overpriced, you offer what it is worth (minus some negotiating room), regardless of what it is priced at or how long it has been for sale. The days of low-balling and getting the house for under market are largely over so it is often futile to try.
Photo credit: cvedovini on Flickr