When you look at listings for homes online, they usually
have a part of the listing that shows how long the home has been on the market.
After 90 days, most real estate agents deem that property as “stale.” This
stale property may get less money when it finally does sell. Why? Many buyers
see a longer time spent on the market and make assumptions that there’s
something incredibly wrong with the home. After all, it’s human to dislike
something that everyone else dislikes. Many home buyers see a longer time on
the market and assume that the other home buyers who viewed the property and
weren’t interested know something that they don’t, and just ignore the home
altogether. However, most real estate agents will tell you that it’s less
likely that the home has major problems or the home of a serial killer and more
likely something to do with the economy or the home’s pricing. Here are some of
the main reasons a home has gone “stale.”
Price is Too High
What’s the main cause of a home sitting on the market for
forever? The listing price is too high. Every home will sell at the right
price, and if it’s the wrong price, then it will just sit on the market for
forever. Buyers most likely jumped when the home was put on the market, and
after seeing the property, decided to buy something that was a better value.
Luckily, a home seller with a home on the market for a longer time may be
willing to negotiate more on the final price of a home.
Along with this high listing price, the seller may be
stubbornly refusing to lower the listing price. Many times, Zillow says, the
first offer on a home comes and the buyer is stubborn on the price. The buyer
leaves and the house sits on the market and when the seller finally agrees to a
price, it’s usually 5% less than the first offer they received. Sellers should
be willing to negotiate their prices in order to get their home off the market.
Hard to Show
Sometimes the home just doesn’t show well. The seller may
need professional designer or staging help. Other sellers need to open their
schedules to let potential buyers view the property. If a home is sitting on
the market for months, the seller may have a hard time getting the home ready
to show or making sure their schedule is clear. If the seller wants the home to
sell fast, they should leave the property and let potential buyers come through
It was FSBO and a
Realtor took it Over
Sometimes home sellers try to sell their home themselves as
a FSBO. Many times these stay on the market for months, simply because home
sellers can’t make time to show the home because they’re at work. A realtor may
have taken over the listing when the FSBO gave up on selling the home.
Housing Market may be
A long time on the market may have nothing to do with the
house itself – it may just be the economy or housing market. Gracee Arther from
Ewing and Associates said that more times the long market homes have less to do
with the home’s condition and more to do with the housing market.
The Home is in Bad
If worse comes to worse, the home may actually be in bad
condition. Sometimes sellers want to offer buyers credit for repairs that they
don’t want to do themselves. This usually keeps buyers away from the home –
they don’t want to have to fix up the home (unless they’re looking for a fixer
upper). The best way to see if the home
is in bad condition is to make an offer and then inspect the home. If the home
inspector sees major problems with the home’s systems and appliances, and the
seller refuses to budge on the price, and won’t fix the systems or appliances,
decide if you’re OK with fixing up the place yourself, or if you should find a
better home. Remember, even if the home comes with a home warranty, that won’t
cover everything. Read through the contract to see the home warranty coverage.
A home warranty is like home repair insurance (or an appliance warranty). It
may not cover known conditions.
If you’re worried about why a home is on the market still,
ask your real estate agent. They will be able to tell you what’s going on with
the home. Most MLS systems will show if a property was pending (an offer was
made on the home) and why the buyers backed out of the sell.
For more information on home warranties, go to