Your interest in why a house has been on the market for a long time might be as the seller of the house or as the buyer. Either way this is extremely easy to find out. So let’s explore this further…
So how do you find out how long a house has been on the market? The easiest way to find out how long a house has been on the market is to look on Rightmove. The downside is if the there’s been a price reduction, as the first-listing date is replaced with this date instead. The listing date is also found on Zillow and Zoopla too, but, you can ask the estate agent or the vendor.
As a seller, and if it’s your houses that’s been on the market for a while, you may be at a disadvantage. A stagnant property becomes less desirable. The longer it’s on the market the more likely you’ll need to reduce the price. But of course this is likely to mean it is over-priced in the first place.
But as a buyer you may have an edge when it comes to negotiating the price and terms of the deal if you know how long the property has been listed for. Especially if it’s been listed for more than a few months.
How do you find out how long a house has been on the market?
There are a number of ways to find out how long a property has been on the market. These include:
- Ask the estate agent.
- Ask the seller.
As a seller you may be worried about how buyers can discover how long your own property has been on the market.
With the internet there’s nothing much hidden these days. You can quickly find out how much a property is worth, how much it was previously sold for and quite easily see the date it was first listed.
As a buyer of a property, be it as your next home purchase or as a property investor, you may be looking for a deal. In which case you may want to look at all those listings of houses that are not selling.
The reason the house isn’t selling may become obvious when you see it. It may be something quite simple that could be fixed. Or may simply because it’s over-priced.
But either way, this is a disadvantage to the seller and gives you the advantage as a buyer.
Watch out for property relistings
Be careful when you look up the date of first listing, as often times a property that’s been recently listed may have switched from another estate agent.
Or it might have been re-listed after a period of being on the market before and didn’t sell.
How to find out how long a house has been on the market in more detail
As a buyer or property investor the ways to find out how long a property has been on the market include simply asking the estate agent.
When they first present the property to you, ask them how long the property has been listed for. In the UK they are obliged to tell you this information and most will be happy to offer this information right away.
How do you find out how long a house has been on the market on Rightmove?
If you’re in the UK look on Rightmove – see in the image below in the red boxed area where it states “Added on 30/01/2020 by…” All property listings on Rightmove include the date they were first listed.
Price reductions on Rightmove mask the original listing date
However, be aware that if a property’s price as been adjusted, the date show will still state “added on…”. But this date now reflects the date of the price reduction, instead of the original date of listing.
For more details on how to find out how long a house has been on the market on Rightmove. Plus discover a neat tool that shows you all price reductions on Rightmove, together with the date of first listing, even with a price reduction: Take a read of this article here.
You are better to look on Zoopla instead for this information if a property has had it’s price reduced.
If you’re in the US look on Zillow. On the Zillow website, as per the image below, instead of showing the date the property was added, they say how many days it’s been on the market.
Another great property website with loads of useful information is Zoopla. And just like the above two websites this too includes the “First listed” date too.
On Zoopla, you need to scroll down to find it, but the information is there.
Failing all of the above, you can always ask the vendor when you’re viewing the house.
What does it mean when a house has been on the market for a long time?
When a house has been on the market for a long time it means the listing has become stale. Buyers psychologically think that stale listings are tainted in some way. But the shrewd buyer see it as a negotiating advantage and will actively search out properties that have been on the market for a long time.
The number of days a house is on the market becomes a barometer for it’s value. In America this is referred to as DOM (Days on Market). The date stamp from when a house is listed becomes a bit of a ticking clock.”
When a house doesn’t sell quickly, the listing becomes stale and buyers start to ask questions.
Statistics show that houses which don’t sell quickly tend to take a bigger hit on the asking price. This is not the case with a house that sells fast.
Listing at the right price is partly down to the seller, but it’s mostly the responsibility of the estate agent. Striking the right price to list your a property at the outset is critical to get right.
Why do houses sit on the market:
There are a number of reasons why a house may be on the market for a long time. But I will begin by saying that all houses will sell at the right price eventually.
All it takes is a willing buyer and a willing seller. Which translates to mean that a willing buyer will only pay what they think the property is worth. But also means that a willing seller will only accept what they consider their house to be worth.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the reasons why a house won’t sell.
The top answer is always likely to be “It’s listed at the wrong price.”
But what are the top reasons why homes sit on the market?
- House is over-priced.
- Wrong time of year to sell a property.
- Property market down-turn.
- The right house but in the wrong location.
- The property has subsidence or other structural problems.
- Property is in need of updating.
- Under performing estate agent.
- Other market forces: The Brexit of Covid Effect.
Of the above eight key reasons why some homes sit on the market, the number one reason why houses don’t sell is the asking price is too high. Ask any experienced estate agent why a specific home hasn’t sold.
Let’s now take a look at each of these in a bit more detail.
1. House is over-priced
A house that is being marketed at over the current market value will not sell. The only way to sell it is to reduce the price to a more realistic asking price. Remembering the saying “willing buyer and willing seller“.
2. Wrong time of year to sell a property
There are times of the year when the property market slows right down. December and leading up to Christmas is one of the worst times of the year to list your property to sell.
Often times I find vendors don’t listen to me when I give them the advice on this. I tell them to hold off listing their house for sale until the early part of the new year. I also explain that if possible to hold off until after January, as January isn’t a good month to sell a house either.
Waiting until the end of February and leading into March and spring can make a big difference to how quickly a house sells.
The problem with listing your house at the wrong time is that it can stagnate. By the time people are looking to buy in late February/early March, a house that was listed back in December has already been on the market for possibly over two months.
Buyers become wary and worry what’s wrong.
This is where a property that’s been on the market for too long becomes undesirable. But it is also when property investors swoop in to find a bargain!
3. Property market down-turn
As we all know, there are ups and downs in the property market. When there’s a down-turn, properties will remain on the market for longer than normal.
However, even in a slow market, properties will sell. But the only way to beat the market in this situation is to price your house competitively.
4. The right house but in the wrong location
Sometimes home owners will extend or improve a property way beyond what it would sell for in a particular location or street. Certain people who are prepared to pay up to a certain budget for a particular type of house will not necessarily consider certain locations.
If you are improving a property, always be careful about the ceiling price of the street.
For example, and to exaggerate the point, you’re unlikely to sell a 5-bed detached executive style house to an affluent buyer in a run-down street where many of the houses are boarded up.
No offence intended if that’s the type of street you live in.
5. The property has subsidence or other structural problems
A property with subsidence is more difficult to sell and may only be suitable for a builder or investor to take on. Properties with subsidence will sell, but need to be priced accordingly.
6. Property in need of updating
A property in need of updating or refurbishment will sell, but it won’t sell at the market price of a similar size and type of house that is in good condition.
7. Under performing estate agent
If you don’t choose the right estate agent, you may find your property doesn’t sell. You need to pick an estate agent who is going to proactive. Take a look around your area to see which estate agents have the most ‘Sold’ signs.
An agent that’s selling other properties is more likely to sell yours too.
8. Other market forces – like Brexit and the Brexit Effect or the Covid-19 effect
There are other market forces that will impact on the time it takes to sell a house.
The most recent market force has been the “Brexit Effect”. Brexit has cause havoc across many industries and businesses, and the property market has suffered too.
People have put off buy a house due to the uncertainly around Brexit. But with the election of a new prime-minister Boris Johnson and a decision over Brexit, this have begun to move forward once more.
But we now have another problem to face, which is the Covid-19 effect on property. Whilst there has been a bit of a surge in property sales, this may not last in the short to medium term.
What are the implications for houses that have been on the market for a long time?
Depending on which side of this fence you’re on, will depend on how this will affect you.
If you’re a buyer and if you’re looking for a property deal, then you may wish to look for properties that have been listed for more than one-two months and not sold.
Savvy property investors who are looking for a deal will often hunt out properties that have been listed for a longtime.
Vendors who become desperate to sell are more likely to take an offer when their house has been on the market for longer than they want to wait. Or if they have found a property they want to move to and don’t want to lose the opportunity, may take a cheeky offer.
However, on the other hand if you’re the seller, if your house has been on the market for long time, this isn’t good news.
You might find you’re at a distinct disadvantage and find your viewings are from investors only. If this is you and you are able to wait, you are better to de-list your property for while. Then wait a few months before re-listing it once more.
Houses that have been on the market for a long time are put under a microscope
It’s true to say that any house that’s been on the market for longer than is the norm will get put under a microscope. Or if not a microscope, as least a magnifying glass.
What might ordinarily not be a problem might come into focus. For example, buyers may begin to ask extra questions about why it isn’t selling. The location will come more into focus.
The proximity to the road may become a problem when ordinarily for that person it wouldn’t have been so. A small crack in the wall may become a worry for subsidence.
We all have something in our brain that’s is there to protect us from danger. This is used in everyday life and is what’s a play when you’re viewing a property that’s been on the market for too long. Your subconscious brain will be working overtime to stop you from making a mistake.
Often times someone will walk away from a property where ordinarily they may have been interest, but for the fact it’s been on the market for too long.
Please don’t forget to read this before you leave…
Please don’t forget to also read this article to discover how you could save £71,475 on your next mortgage if you sell your house and rent before buying again. As I said earlier, even I was amazed when I did the calculations!
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