UrbanTurf Reader Asks: The Higher the Days-on-Market, the Better My Chances?

by UrbanTurf Staff

Shaw condo that’s been on the market 137 days

In this installment of UrbanTurf Reader Asks, a would-be buyer asks if shopping among properties that have been on the market for a month or so is a better strategy than trying to get one that was just listed.

“I was recently outbid on a fixer-upper one bedroom in a hot area of Northwest DC. The unit received a whopping 20 offers after just over a week on the market. I’ve read similar stories on UrbanTurf and heard them from friends. It seems that newly-listed, desirable properties create a feeding frenzy in DC’s tighter submarkets, and that I just won’t be able to compete in such a situation.

So my question is how to strategize around this market reality. I’m wondering if instead of going for just-listed properties, going for homes that have sat on the market for over a month or so might be a better strategy. Any frenzy around these properties has already passed or never happened, and maybe the seller is getting eager to do a deal. Should I target these ‘older’ listings instead of monitoring the new listings every week?”

Post your thoughts on this strategy in the comments below. If you would like to submit a question for UrbanTurf Reader Asks, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

See other articles related to: urbanturf reader asks, home buying, dclofts

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/urbanturf_reader_asks_the_higher_the_days-on-market_the_better_my_chances/4638


  1. Janson said at 5:32 pm on Tuesday November 22, 2011:

    good question. I don’t know the answer, but I offered on the place I eventually bought after it had been on the market for 180 days. And the negotiation took a long time too - there was a lot of back and forth. This was just a couple years ago. And I was eventually able to get about 18% off the lowest listed price. So looking for places that are priced too high (and consequently on the market a long time) and helping the seller come to the right price definitely can work. But if it’s like my case, expect an arduous and (for the seller) not happy price discovery process.

  1. brad said at 5:49 pm on Tuesday November 22, 2011:

    I think something to consider is that some sellers are in a tight spot after a long time on the market.  If they aren’t renting it out or living in it themselves, then they are slowly bleeding - each month will cost them taxes, condo fees, and mortgage payments.  These costs can become a large burden after they’ve been paying them for 6 months.  This can create an incentive to sell it quickly and at a discounted price.

    I think that this situation can create a good buying opportunity.  Although, if the list price has been lowered by the seller (sometimes multiple times), it is because they have already come to terms with a lower price.  If they have already lowered the price, your bargain is probably already built in to the new list price.

  1. Anon said at 8:38 pm on Tuesday November 22, 2011:

    It’s all about feeling comfortable about the values.  Winning a bidding war these days doesn’t automatically mean you paid too much - may just mean you were smart enough to pay the right amount when so many still want the bargain price they weren’t smart enough to take advantage of a year ago.  Buy the property you WANT.

  1. mona said at 9:24 am on Wednesday November 23, 2011:

    I guess I would say that bidding on homes that have been on the market for sometime could be a good strategy but it could also be about going down a road with considerable grief headed your way. If a seller hasn’t reduced the price and not getting offers then you have to wonder what the issue is. Is there something going on with the house? Have they had offers and then fell through after inspection? Can the seller reduce the price without suddenly turning it into a short sale? Greed? I do agree with others post. Buy what you like and need and want. Also about mulitple offers…I was on the receiving end of a sale with mulitple offers. Alot of them fall off right away because they have contingencys for move in date, present home sales, wanting costly adjustments made. I had a home with 7 offers and was able to widdle down to 1 in about 2mins. It wasn’t the highest price it was the one that made sense for me and for what I was trying to do.

  1. anon said at 11:40 am on Wednesday November 23, 2011:

    Good question and an interesting strategy

    The length of time on market may reflect a number of scenarios, such as unrealistic price, unmotivated seller (ie willing to sell for ideal price but can stay put if necessary), flaw in property or location impacting saleability. . .

    I would first look at the transactional history.  If the house sold recently and then winds up back on the market, that may suggest a more motivated seller (then again, some employers will handle relocation costs for new hires, which provides a buffer in this scenario).  If the property hasn’t sold in decades, it probably has low carrying costs or could reflect estate situation

    Then again, some properties sit because sellers are unrealistic and intransigent.  These may be people you CAN’T deal reasonably with.

  1. Susan Isaacs Realtor said at 9:16 am on Thursday November 24, 2011:

    Each situation is different and timing sometimes plays a key role. As we approach winter, there are fewer buyers competing for properties, so your chances may improve. Your real estate agent can advise you best on each transaction. We try to find out what the key issues are for sellers, paving the way for more successful offers for our buyers. As Mona said, it is sometimes not the highest bid that is most important to a seller. My advice would be to combine strategies. Don’t give up on new listings, but investigate opportunities with high DOM as well. Good luck!

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