If you’ve been scouring real estate listings for a while now, you’ve probably paid close attention to how long a particular property has been listed.
And if you haven’t, you should probably take note. Every little nugget you can take away from a property listing will help you better assess the situation, which could ultimately lead to you getting a better deal.
What is a Stale Listing?
First and foremost, let’s define a “stale listing,” which is essentially a real estate listing that has been on the market for a long time with no offers.
You know the one – where you remark, “that’s still on the market?”
And it always seems to frustratingly show up in your search over and over, at which point you need to look it at again and remind yourself why you weren’t initially interested.
There’s not necessarily a specific number of days a property has to be listed to be considered “stale,” but price reductions and stale listings tend to go hand-in-hand.
Price Reductions Common on Stale Listings
Once a property has been listed for a while, the seller will often initiate a price reduction to lure in more buyers.
It’s clear that the property isn’t selling for one reason or another at its current listing price, so the best way to attract more interest is through a price reduction.
A price reduction may also expose a certain listing to more eyeballs, especially if it crosses below a certain pricing threshold, such as from $500,000 to $450,000.
So it’s good in terms of getting more attention, but it’s also a negative because it displays weakness (and perhaps desperation) on behalf of the home seller.
And if you look at the chart from Redfin above, you’ll notice that the price reductions really start adding up after 45 days on the market.
If you’re a homebuyer, this is good news because you can negotiate. The opposite is true for home sellers.
This means a prospective buyer will expect a steeper discount, or assume they’ve got plenty of wiggle room to submit a low-ball offer.
With regard to home sellers, this is why real estate agents suggest that you price a home to sell, as opposed to listing it with your emotions (and pride).
[See: Listing a property high for more on that.]
Why is an Old Real Estate Listing New Now?
Finally, you may have seen an old listing reappear as a new listing. But how can this be?
Remember that stale listing that was on the market for 45 days with no bites. Now you’re receiving an alert about the very same listing, but it only says, “1 day on the market.”
What gives? Well, chances are the seller signed a new contract with a new real estate agent, and can put the home on the market as a new listing.
It can be frustrating, but it’s perfectly legal to do so. Just keep an eye out for such listings because they can obviously be deceiving, especially if the listing price hasn’t changed from one agent to the next.
Read more: Should I buy a house or a condo?