I am always sad when I see a house sell that has been sitting on the market forever.
Sometimes a house will stay on the market for a long time because the initial listing price was too high, or the house didn’t show well. Both of those can happen to perfectly good homes. The reason those don’t sell is because of the seller, not the house. Often these houses sell once the list price gets reduced into the realm of reality, or the seller does some cosmetic repairs that make it easier for a buyer to want the house.
Any time I show a house like this, my client usually asks me why the house hasn’t sold yet. If I check the listing history and see that they started out asking a crazy high price and have reduced it, I tell them it is okay to buy it. If I look through old pictures or see fresh paint, new flooring, etc, I tell them it is okay to buy the house. Sometimes sellers just need to learn how the market works at the expense of their days on market.
Then there are those houses that don’t sell because of the property itself. Those are the ones that I advise my clients to not buy. These houses usually have some odd feature like a crazy floor plan, a poorly done addition, a neighbor whose yard is full of junk or has a dozen dog kennels in their backyard, the house backs to commercial or industrial zoned properties, etc. These houses eventually sell to somebody who doesn’t mind that particular negative. Whenever I show one of these houses, I like to tell my client that while they might not mind the negative feature that has kept the house from selling, it will be extremely difficult for them to sell it when it is their turn. The past 8 years have been a pretty strong Seller’s Market. If a house took a long time to sell in a hot market, can you imagine how long it would take in a Buyer’s Market?
I have lived through lots of markets. I have seen seller’s who paid too much in a hot market lose money when they needed to sell. I have seen people get their dream job and move out of town, only to have to make two mortgage payments until their old house sells. I have seen people who felt lucky to have gotten their house in multiple offers struggle to sell it in a Buyer’s Market.
I don’t want to see any of my clients go through any of this. In real estate, you often don’t see the consequences of a mistake until years later when you go to sell. Helping people avoid this mess is one of the greatest joys of my career.