Houses that have been on the market for a long time
Your interest in a house that’s 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. So let’s explore this further.
To find out how long a house has been on the market there are a few simple ways. These include asking the estate agent, looking on the internet on Rightmore, Zillow and Zoopla or asking 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 as a stagnant property can become less desirable. But as a buyer you may have an edge when it comes to negotiating the price and terms.
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.
As a seller you may be worrying about how buyers will 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 any property was sold for and quite easily see the date it was first listed.
But as a buyer of a property, be it as your next home purchase or as a property investor, you may be looking for those listings where houses are not selling. The reason may become obvious when you see it, but it may be something quite simple that could be fixed. But either way, this could give you an edge when it comes to negotiating the price and terms of the deal.
Watch out for relistings
Be careful when you look up the date of first listing, as often times a property that may be recently listed may have switched from another estate agent or might have been re-listed after a period of being on the market before.
How to find out how long a house has been on the market
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.
Be aware of price reductions on Rightmore
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. You ware better to look on Zoopla instead for this information where 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?
The number of days a house is on the market becomes a barometre for it’s value. The date stamp from when a house is listed becomes a bit of a ticking clock.” When a house doesn’t sell quickly, it can become stale and buyers start to ask questions.
There is a trend that shows houses that don’t sell quickly tend to take a bigger hit on the asking price than a house that sells fast. This is partly down to you, but is a lot to do with the estate agent you choose. Striking the right price to list your a property is crucial to get right.
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 translated means that a willing buyer will only pay what they think it’s worth.But it also means that a willing buyer 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.
Why do houses sit on the market:
There are the eight key reasons why some homes sit on the market. But the number one reason why is the asking price is too high. Ask any experienced estate agent why a specific home hasn’t sold. The answer will likely be “It’s listed at the wrong price.” But what are the other reasons why some homes sit on the market?
- House is over priced.
- Wrong time of year.
- Property market down-turn.
- The wrong house in the location.
- A property with subsidence.
- Property in need of updating.
- A bad estate agent.
- Other market forces – like Brexit and the Brexit Effect.
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
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 wrong house for the 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 are 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. Property with subsidence
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. A bad estate agent
If you don’t choose the right estate agent, you may find your property doesn’t sell.
8. Other market forces – like Brexit and the Brexit 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.
Houses that have been on the market for a long time – the implications
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 get 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.
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