Posted by: Daryl & Wendy Ashby | February 22, 2010

How Long is Too Long?

While each demographic and every market climate may view the answer to this question differently, Moneysense magazine recently asked the question of a number of professionals in the field:

“Ever wonder why that house on the corner of your street has been on the market for two years?   So does everyone else.”

Keeping a “For Sale” sign parked on your lawn for more than three months is a mistake, says Gary Bachman, a real estate agent in Winnipeg. “People start saying, ‘What’s wrong with the house?’”

In Toronto, where homes, on average, don’t sit beyond 27 days, people start asking why a house isn’t selling after just a month. In most cases, says Bachman, the answer is because the listing price is too high.

Some sellers hike the price because the market is hot—but even in hot markets, no one will buy if they can get a similar house for less. Sellers also tend to add a premium because we all have a natural tendency to overvalue the things that we own.

Toronto agent Michael Kallis says that if your house isn’t moving, one solution is to take it off the market after 30 days, then re-list a week or two later. The listing is technically new, so agents who missed it the first time around may notice it.

If that doesn’t work, after three months on the block in today’s searing market, it’s time to cut the asking price. After all, says Bachman, “it’s not what the property is worth—but what the market will bear at the time.”

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