Larry Mitchell, Texas Realtor®

254 681 5115

Chris Mitchell, Texas Realtor®

254 291 2832

ERA Colonial Real Estate

Harker Heights, Texas

Click Here to See What Your Home is Worth

By Cathie Ericson

When homebuyers scan property listings, they’re typically focused on the location, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and, of course, the price. But some savvy homebuyers (or their real estate agents) are also paying close attention to another metric: “days on market.”

If your property’s been for sale for too many days, it can seem less desirable to buyers—especially in a heated, competitive seller’s market where most homes move quickly. Ultimately, it can negatively affect the offers you receive. But not to worry. In fact, sellers with a high days on market metric have plenty of options—and maybe some work to do—if they want to make their house fly off the listings page.

Here’s everything sellers need to know about how a high number of days on market can hurt them. And strategies to renew interest in a no-longer-hot property.

What does ‘days on market’ mean, anyway?

A property’s days on market metric is determined by the total number of days that a property has been for sale before it enters pending status.

Your days on market number, of course, will be low if you’ve recently listed your home. Newly listed houses get a lot of attention.

However, a home that’s been sitting for a while starts to look stale.

“It might lead buyers to assume there is something wrong with the property,” says Heather Bogenhagen, a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway in Santa Monica, CA.

What’s the average days on market for a home?

According to the latest data, the typical home spent a median 43 days on the market. But a listing hanging around for a month-plus might seem long to people in hot housing markets where you practically have to put a bid in the day something goes up for sale.

Of course, an average number tells only part of the real estate story. And your days on market metric could vary widely depending on where you live, how competitive the housing market is, and how desirable your home is.

A major factor that affects all this is the price. High-end properties often sit on the market for a year or more because the pool of potential buyers is much smaller, says Wendi Roudybush, associate broker with Garden Brook Realty in Prescott, AZ.

What to do if your house is languishing

Let’s say your house has been sitting on the market for a while, and is no longer the belle of the listings’ ball. Does that mean it’s doomed to never find a buyer? Not at all.

In some areas, the multiple listing service will reset the days on market if the property listing is withdrawn and then relisted, says real estate agent Jennifer Okhovat, with Compass in Los Angeles.

“When a property goes off the market and then on the market as a new listing, it gets pushed out to everyone whose notifications are set to receive updates when a new property is listed with certain criteria,” adds Okhovat.

Consider making some updates

Before you reset your listing, it’s a good idea to make some improvements that will make the house more appealing.

Start with cosmetic changes that you might have been avoiding but clearly must tackle.

“See if you can make a difference with paint, new flooring, updated staging, landscaping,” adds Bogenhagen. “Then take even better photos that show off your house to its full advantage.”

Think about lowering the asking price

More often than not, a high days on market is an indication that the house wasn’t priced correctly, says Bogenhagen.

“It could be that the prices are changing rapidly and maybe the price was fine two weeks before it was listed, but then there was fluctuation once the house actually went on the market,” she adds.

So when you make improvements, you might stick with your current asking price. Or relist at a lower price.

Remember to be realistic. Any property with a negative external influence—such as busy streets, power lines, or railroad tracks—should be marketed and priced accordingly against comps, suggests Bogenhagen.

The bottom line: If your house has a high days on market, you may have to acknowledge that it’s likely not going to fetch the price you had hoped for. Make the updates you can, and/or be prepared to accept a lower offer.

Or you can go the opposite route and ride out a high days on market metric and hope that the right buyer will eventually come along. If you’re not in a hurry to sell—and really want or need a certain price—you might decide to wait, and let those days on market rack up.