Capitol Hill Real Estate: How Long on the Market Is Too Long?

by Sponsor March 4, 2015 at 4:50 pm 0

Ask Tom Column Banner

This regularly scheduled, sponsored Q&A column is written by Tom Faison of ReMax Allegiance at Eastern Market. Please submit your questions via email.

Days on market (DOM) is a real estate term that strikes fear in the hearts of home sellers nationwide because time is a seller’s worst enemy, and the stigma of sitting on the market too long can be deadly. The correlation between time on the market and diminished sale price is well known. However the stigma, often thought of as the cause of a home’s poor performance, actually happens as a result of DOM.

On Capitol Hill, particularly within the Historic District over the past few years, a listing that’s still available after seven days on the market is enough to raise eyebrows. But for the rest of the country, 30 to 60 days on the market is when sellers are more likely to grow concerned.

In my experience, DOM is almost always about price. No matter what defect or deficiency a home may have, particularly those outside of the seller’s control, it can be cured by price. Whether it’s as permanent as limited outdoor space or as variable as noisy neighbors, it all comes down to the price. Cadavers in the closet can be cured if the price is right. A chef’s worst nightmare of a kitchen can be remedied by a seller, but how likely is that sort of improvement to happen once the home is on the market? Particularly if a stigma has become attached to the home.

Sellers: The market will tell you within 30 days if you have priced your home accurately. I’ve always said that Capitol Hill home value assessments are a moving target, particularly with fee-simple homes and especially within the Historic District. As homes increase in age, so do the opportunities for upgrades, modifications and style changes, some smart and attractive and some … well, not so much. If your home is a viable sale, you will know it very quickly. The vast majority of the ready, willing and able buyers for any given listing will see it within its first week on the market. What remains are those buyers who are either new to the market, or those who might come back for a second look after a price reduction.

Buyers: Follow those listings that you might like at the right price for a potential reduction, following a few weeks on the market. If offering below list, present the strongest terms possible to strengthen your case. Base your offer on logic and stick to it. If no response, spring is just around the corner. Just hope for more fish in the sea.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of


Subscribe to our mailing list