More Days on Market?: A Sign of Trouble or Another Opportunity

There are definitely vital statistics when it comes to homes for sale.  Price, number of bed rooms, number of bathrooms, and size as measured by square feet are arguably the most important stats to most home buyers.Another number that many buyers focus on is the number of days the house has been on the market.  New listings, which have only been on the market for a number in the single digits, have that “brand new glow” about them, like a new toy on the play ground, a new item on the menu, or a new book at the library.  

Buyers just entering home search mode, who aren’t receiving automatic updates from either their Realtor or a real estate web site, are on Redfin and Zillow putting in their ideal vitals to see the available homes.  Both of these sites, and most others, allow you to sort the data by price, street name, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, and days on the market.Yep.  You can put all the homes that meet your vital statistics in order of how long they’ve been on the market.  And some people pay a great deal of attention to this number.  Why might that be?  Here are my theories.

  1. Newer is better!A new listing is a new chance that your dream home has finally hit the market.  A new listing is just sitting there waiting to be discovered, reviewed, evaluated, and either pursued or rejected by all the potential buyers trying to figure out if they love it enough to make an offer.
  2. Older is questionable.  As the number of days on the market continues to rise, buyer interest tends to wane. Who wants to pick up the leftover that no one else wanted?  What’s wrong with the house that it’s been on the market so long? 
  3. Older might be a sign of desperation!  While new listing have that brand new glow, if you’re really looking for a great deal, maybe sorting by the highest number of days on the market might reveal sellers who are in the right mood for a reasonable offer.  And we all know how subjective the word “reasonable” is in this situation.

Here’s the deal.  New listings that sort into the lowest number of days on the market get the most attention within the first couple of weeks.Call it the listing honeymoon.Then comes the normal time, when the feeding frenzy has come and gone and sellers hope that real, qualified buyers will see the awesome attributes of their home and want to come take a look and then make an offer.  Then there’s the scary time for home sellers, when you’re past the average number of days on the market for homes selling in your price range.  For buyers, don’t be worried about the number of days on the market, just strategize about what that means if you’re really serious about finding your dream home.  For home sellers, if you’ve been on the market for more days than you’d like, consider changing either the emotional appeal or the price of your home to attract more buyers.

I'm Leslie Eskildsen, Realtor.


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Helping you make the right move in Mission Viejo, Coto de Caza, Rancho Santa Margarita, Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Dana Point, Corona Del Mar, and other Orange County communities.