Does It Matter How Long a House Sits on the Market?

A home's perceived value may decline as days on the market go up.
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So you're in the market to buy or sell a home but unsure whether the listing price is "right." Remember, the listing price is only a starting point for negotiation and not necessarily what the house will end up selling for. Houses that sit on the market for a long time may sell for less than the listing price, but they may not -- the supply and demand give and take comes into play here, depending on the price point and other factors. Still, a high number of days on the market may signal a problem.

Top Markets

Location plays a big role in whether days on the market will affect a home's selling price. Houses tend to move faster in some cities than others. In cities where it usually takes homes less than 50 days to sell, days on the market won't matter as much. The hotter a market is, the more people will want to buy a house there. If there's not a lot of homes for sale, there will be more competition. In June 2011, homes in Oakland, California, sat an average of only 24 days. Nationally, Oakland had the 12th highest average price.

Average Markets

If you're not in a top market, chances are the number of days on the market will affect sales price. The longer a home sits, the less likely it will sell for its original list price. You have the greatest chance of selling a place at full list price in the first 10 days. After 30 days, the sales price might be 5 percent less than list. Homes that sit for 90 days could lose 10 percent of their list price. After 120 days, the loss might be as much as 15 percent.

Over 180 Days

It's usually not good news if a home sits for more than 180 days. Although it could mean there's no one qualified to buy it, there could be something "off." The home's floor plan might not be appealing, or the home could need a lot of repairs. Someone looking to buy will probably question why it's been on the market for so long. As a consequence, homes like this will probably get low offers. The longer a home sits, the more open an owner may be to lower offers.

High-Value Homes

Days on market doesn't really affect high-value homes in the very top tier of the marketplace. Because the pool of qualified buyers is usually smaller, these homes can sit for longer without drops in perceived value. Also affecting this is the fact there usually aren't that many high-value homes for sale.

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