Should You Buy a Home That's Been on the Market for a While?

If you’re like many home buyers, you’ve looked at plenty of real estate listings - and you may have seen some that look like they’ve been on the market for an extensive period of time. You’ll notice the abbreviation “DOM” on most listings, which means days on market. So how long is too long, and is it okay to buy a house that’s been on the market for a long time?

Here’s what you need to know.

Should You Buy a Home That's Been on the Market for a While?

Sometimes houses sit on the market for a long time - and there could be several reasons. Maybe the house is priced too high, or maybe there’s something fundamentally wrong with it (or maybe it has a funky smell that buyers simply can’t tolerate, terrible views of a power plant or talkative neighbors who come introduce themselves to every prospective buyer).

Here’s the deal, though: Not all homes that sit on the market for a long time have something wrong with them. It could be that the house had an offer that fell through because the buyer couldn’t qualify for financing, or maybe it was initially priced too high but now it’s just right.

Sometimes buying a home that’s been on the market a while gives you more bargaining power, too. If the seller really wants to sell the house (such as when he or she is making mortgage payments on an empty house), you might be able to offer a bit less than asking and have your offer accepted.

The bottom line: If you’re interested in a house that’s been on the market for a while, talk to your real estate agent about it. He or she will do some research and find out what’s going on - and take you to tour it, too. That way, you can make the best possible decision about your next investment.

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