What Are Some Reasons a Property is on the MLS for over 30 days?

27 Replies

For my first purchase, I will be house hacking in a multifamily property. The examples below just happen to be in PA where I have never lived. The questions apply to any property no matter the State. When I return to the US, I am happy to go anywhere only if there is a sports bar in sight!

While browsing the MLS, I notice that properties sit on the MLS over 45 days. Instantly, I think there is something wrong with them – termite damage, major plumbing issues, structural/foundation problems…etc. I've even seen photos with contractor's equipment lying around. It looks like they walked off - not very attractive. Perhaps financial issues with the investor?

However, there are some properties that are listed as “turn-key” or “newly renovated”, yet they sit on Redfin for over 100 days. (I take the property descriptions with a grain of salt.) My thinking is that this area really isn’t a renter’s market or that the house is too rural for a big interest.

What else can it be?

#1 For example – https://www.redfin.com/PA/Pittsburgh/7413-Duquesne-Ave-15218/home/74519930 this one looks like college aged party-goers live here, but it states that the two current tenants wish to stay. (Personally, I would renovate the whole thing (lightly) and get new tenants who would pay a few hundred more). An unfinished basement would be a dream!
*if there are two renters, why can’t this sell?* Why are there no investors interested?

#2 https://www.redfin.com/PA/Somerset/363-W-Church-St-15501/home/139058626 This one looks really fresh, but it's appears to be rural. Maybe too rural for an investor? Why do you think this has been sitting on the MLS?

I know to consult a REA to get a more clear story, but at first glance, what can you tell a new investor to be like me? If you came across these properties on the MLS, would you investigate or pass them up?

Thanks!

-Steph

Originally posted by @Stephanie Ro :

For my first purchase, I will be house hacking in a multifamily property. The examples below just happen to be in PA where I have never lived. The questions apply to any property no matter the State. When I return to the US, I am happy to go anywhere only if there is a sports bar in sight!

While browsing the MLS, I notice that properties sit on the MLS over 45 days. Instantly, I think there is something wrong with them – termite damage, major plumbing issues, structural/foundation problems…etc. I've even seen photos with contractor's equipment lying around. It looks like they walked off - not very attractive. Perhaps financial issues with the investor?

However, there are some properties that are listed as “turn-key” or “newly renovated”, yet they sit on Redfin for over 100 days. (I take the property descriptions with a grain of salt.) My thinking is that this area really isn’t a renter’s market or that the house is too rural for a big interest.

What else can it be?

#1 For example – https://www.redfin.com/PA/Pittsburgh/7413-Duquesne-Ave-15218/home/74519930 this one looks like college aged party-goers live here, but it states that the two current tenants wish to stay. (Personally, I would renovate the whole thing (lightly) and get new tenants who would pay a few hundred more). An unfinished basement would be a dream!
*if there are two renters, why can’t this sell?* Why are there no investors interested?

#2 https://www.redfin.com/PA/Somerset/363-W-Church-St-15501/home/139058626 This one looks really fresh, but it's appears to be rural. Maybe too rural for an investor? Why do you think this has been sitting on the MLS?

I know to consult a REA to get a more clear story, but at first glance, what can you tell a new investor to be like me? If you came across these properties on the MLS, would you investigate or pass them up?

Thanks!

-Steph

A seller may want to keep the listing open for a couple of weeks to produce a possible bidding war. Then, from the time an offer(s) is/are presented & accepted and then on to closing could be 30 days or more. Some agents keep the listing open because they are not confident the buyler will be able to complete the transaction or perhaps that the appraisal will not support the offer. Then it becomes a negotiation conversation with no guarantee how things will finalize. 

Cash offers close much more quickly. 

Most offers in the US require a bank's approval for lending. 

@Mike Hern Thank you for this. All of this takes longer than 3 months? I have seen several properties for over 100 days. There's lots to factor in. I suppose I shouldn't immediately think something is wrong with it. 

Originally posted by @Stephanie Ro :

For my first purchase, I will be house hacking in a multifamily property. The examples below just happen to be in PA where I have never lived. The questions apply to any property no matter the State. When I return to the US, I am happy to go anywhere only if there is a sports bar in sight!

While browsing the MLS, I notice that properties sit on the MLS over 45 days. Instantly, I think there is something wrong with them – termite damage, major plumbing issues, structural/foundation problems…etc. I've even seen photos with contractor's equipment lying around. It looks like they walked off - not very attractive. Perhaps financial issues with the investor?

However, there are some properties that are listed as “turn-key” or “newly renovated”, yet they sit on Redfin for over 100 days. (I take the property descriptions with a grain of salt.) My thinking is that this area really isn’t a renter’s market or that the house is too rural for a big interest.

What else can it be?

#1 For example – https://www.redfin.com/PA/Pittsburgh/7413-Duquesne-Ave-15218/home/74519930 this one looks like college aged party-goers live here, but it states that the two current tenants wish to stay. (Personally, I would renovate the whole thing (lightly) and get new tenants who would pay a few hundred more). An unfinished basement would be a dream!
*if there are two renters, why can’t this sell?* Why are there no investors interested?

#2 https://www.redfin.com/PA/Somerset/363-W-Church-St-15501/home/139058626 This one looks really fresh, but it's appears to be rural. Maybe too rural for an investor? Why do you think this has been sitting on the MLS?

I know to consult a REA to get a more clear story, but at first glance, what can you tell a new investor to be like me? If you came across these properties on the MLS, would you investigate or pass them up?

Thanks!

-Steph

 Some properties have unseen issues such as water damage, foundation problems and more. You will have to call the agent to figure out more details but they will usually tell you if you ask. 

Originally posted by @Stephanie Ro :

@Mike Hern Thank you for this. All of this takes longer than 3 months? I have seen several properties for over 100 days. There's lots to factor in. I suppose I shouldn't immediately think something is wrong with it. 

Your Comment: "All of this takes longer than 3 months?"

Please reread your question. It says "30 Days". "What Are Some Reasons a Property is on the MLS for over 30 days?

Over 90 days would mean other factors.


@Stephanie Ro There can be lots of reasons. Maybe there were no pictures or no access to the property. Maybe is was grossly overpriced and now it has come down.  Some properties can simply just get overlooked. This doesn't happen much in today's hot market but it does happen.

The properties above don't mention rents. The rents may not be high enough to justify the price.

Of course it could be as you suspect there are problems with the properties. But problems are often opportunities. All problems can be fixed. It is just a matter of how much it will cost to fix. Then it becomes a negotiation. This is the key. virtually all properties are worth buying at some price. To be successful you need to be able to figure what that price is.  Then you need to negotiate and find sellers willing to accept that price.

Sometimes you will see a property on the market for a very long time because it is priced to high. One day the seller gets frustrated and drops the price substantially or accepts a very low offer. 

Basically your logic is incredibly flawed. You are essentially saying "If someone else hasn't bought it, it must not worth buying" This means nothing will meet that standard. If someone else has purchased it, then it is too late for you.  I base all my buying on how I evaluate the property and what it is worth to me.  

You have no control over what the seller will accept - You have total control over how much you offer.

Originally posted by @Mike Hern :
Originally posted by @Stephanie Ro:

For my first purchase, I will be house hacking in a multifamily property. The examples below just happen to be in PA where I have never lived. The questions apply to any property no matter the State. When I return to the US, I am happy to go anywhere only if there is a sports bar in sight!

While browsing the MLS, I notice that properties sit on the MLS over 45 days. Instantly, I think there is something wrong with them – termite damage, major plumbing issues, structural/foundation problems…etc. I've even seen photos with contractor's equipment lying around. It looks like they walked off - not very attractive. Perhaps financial issues with the investor?

However, there are some properties that are listed as “turn-key” or “newly renovated”, yet they sit on Redfin for over 100 days. (I take the property descriptions with a grain of salt.) My thinking is that this area really isn’t a renter’s market or that the house is too rural for a big interest.

What else can it be?

#1 For example – https://www.redfin.com/PA/Pittsburgh/7413-Duquesne-Ave-15218/home/74519930 this one looks like college aged party-goers live here, but it states that the two current tenants wish to stay. (Personally, I would renovate the whole thing (lightly) and get new tenants who would pay a few hundred more). An unfinished basement would be a dream!
*if there are two renters, why can’t this sell?* Why are there no investors interested?

#2 https://www.redfin.com/PA/Somerset/363-W-Church-St-15501/home/139058626 This one looks really fresh, but it's appears to be rural. Maybe too rural for an investor? Why do you think this has been sitting on the MLS?

I know to consult a REA to get a more clear story, but at first glance, what can you tell a new investor to be like me? If you came across these properties on the MLS, would you investigate or pass them up?

Thanks!

-Steph

A seller may want to keep the listing open for a couple of weeks to produce a possible bidding war. Then, from the time an offer(s) is/are presented & accepted and then on to closing could be 30 days or more. Some agents keep the listing open because they are not confident the buyler will be able to complete the transaction or perhaps that the appraisal will not support the offer. Then it becomes a negotiation conversation with no guarantee how things will finalize. 

Cash offers close much more quickly. 

Most offers in the US require a bank's approval for lending.

this is RURAL PA not to be confused with much hotter markets..  there are more homes than buyers 

You had a ton of good advice already. I would like to highlight again the purchase price could be too high as well as the area might not be as hot as other areas. The logic that nobody else bought the house so it must not be a good house does not hold true in all circumstances.

I just closed on a property this week that was on the market for 4 months. Asking price originally was 200k. They kept lowering the price down to 150k. I got it at 145k. I’m really happy with it.

@Stephanie Ro

Well, it's late and I can't sleep, so here goes.

I can tell you a bit about where 7413 Duquesne Ave is located. That's Swissvale Borough.

Swissvale has a reputation for being one of the worst-run municipalities in Allegheny County, with one of the more entrenched drug trades of the area. If you have ever heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect, the idea that some mentally-incompetent people are so mentally incompetent that they develop a cognitive bias that no one could possibly be much, much better than them at something, well, the research that led to the discovery of this psychological phenomenon started right there in Swissvale.

In 1995, a guy in Swissvale named McArthur Wheeler mused to himself that if lemon juice could be used as invisible ink, well maybe it could make a person invisible to cameras! He proceeded to test out this idea by squirting himself with lemon juice in the face, picking up a Polaroid camera, and taking a picture of himself in a mirror. The flash on the Polaroid was on, and so in the picture, all Wheeler could see was a bright flash in the mirror. Everything else was dark and obscure. Based on this telling evidence, Wheeler concluded that lemon juice DOES INDEED make you invisible to cameras.

Wheeler robbed two Swissvale banks the next day. The local TV news played the bank camera footage, and the calls came in. Wheeler was arrested by 11 pm. He was absolutely shocked that he had been identified. "But I wore the juice..."

Do you really want to buy anything in Swissvale and live in it?

@Stephanie Ro

The simple answer is, if it sits, it’s overpriced.

As you’re trying to figure out, the question is why?

- If turn key, lots of times it’s just priced to high for what it is or yes perhaps they’re hiding something many people are noticing. There are many times this is the case.

- if not turn key, it's just the price and rehab with ARV doesn't make sense

Check it out, if you like it have your agent look at comps and see if priced OK, then get it pending and let the home inspector find the problem(s)

If home inspector doesn’t find anything major should be OK. If they do find “it” - it’ll make sense why is was sitting..

As long as getting a warranty deed title should find any title issues and insure the title. Most standard contracts will have a warranty deed.

@Joe Hammel I appreciate this reply so much. This community is fantastic. I didn't know about the warranty deed title. I feel like advertising high is very common. Like selling a car. You want to go higher that KBB b/c people always haggle and negotiate the price. Another is at garage sales :) 

@Jim K. This is my favorite response in the history of threads. I feel like we could be besties. I **** myself laughing. (Aussie saying). I was just bopping around Redfin just checking out places and having a look. I, indeed, need to rent first and not dive right into a Swissvale type area. Maybe I came across this property to learn about Lemon Juice dude and interact with you. I need to ask people in the community about properties before I buy. Surely. 

Secretly, I needed to hear this because one cannot just look at a picture/property and get a feel for the place by looks alone. 

Thanks again for the reply :) 

@Stephanie Ro ,

Often, properties languish in the listings because the price does not match the condition of the property.

I have a good example near me ... an investor picked up what should have been a sweet deal, but messed up on renovations. She put a high end urban modern kitchen in a 100 year old "farm" house and expects to go on the market (she's FSBO now) for 20% over FMV. Around here, people looking at older homes expect a more traditional decor. The non-matching kitchen - to them - represents a remodeling expense and does not justify an over-market asking price.

My $0.02 ...

i look for those properties alot of time. iv found to often alot of people think the same thing your thinking oh its been on the market to long must be bad. i think oh its been on the market long  they will take less let me see if i can add value to the property some other way people havent thought of. recently purchased 2 single families on one lot. one was built in 2012 the other was older but decent shape. mostly cosmetic work needed. got it for a good dedication from listing price and found out i could condo the properties very easy adding a good chunk of value right there.

@Judy Parker

Hi again, Judy. 7413 Duquesne and Swissvale are right next to my cabbage patch. For everyone here stating that properties that stay on the MLS in a hot market are overpriced, yes, of course, that's why THIS property is staying on the MLS. It was last bought in 2018 for $125 and they're asking $199,500 for it now. But there are other red flags as well with this property. Here's a collection of them I can get from my PC. While I may be local, the resources I used to put this together are available to any long-distance investor.

1. It's not in the best neighborhood -- not in the worst, either, but this is a well-known D-class pocket hood. Gradually, that's changing, but even though it's less than 2 miles from the Swissvale police station, it's on the wrong side of the MLK busway.

2. The county website lists it as built in 1910. That far back, you need to do your own research. This could have been built anytime between 1890 and 1930. The brick columns appear to support a largish steel beam, so maybe this is 1920's vintage. The mortar in the bricks outside is crumbling away, Google Maps makes that clear, so that's not the improved mortar that only started making an entrance in the late 1920s.

3. It's still mostly K&T wired, that's obvious if you look at the spaghetti wiring above the boards.

4. There are three gas meters shown, three electrical meters, three water heaters, but only two furnaces, a large one and a small one in a closet. Water is not separated, and I don't see any copper pipes gleaming anywhere in that basement. Galvanized original pipes? Maybe.

5. The electricity looks a bit strange. Note the apartment with only six circuit breakers and no double-pole breakers.

6. The whole obviously aftermarket gambrel roof arrangement and the obvious exterior significant remodeling look pretty scary to me. This has seen a LOT of remodeling over the years. Swissvale was be a nice borough until the post-WW2 flight of the steelmills started. This Frankenstein humpback seems to have been created out of a big old single-family home.

7. The current owner is "Joy Real Estate LLC" listed as located in Monroeville, a suburb about twenty miles out. Joy Real Estate only owns three properties in Allegheny County. One of them is a single-family place that was just bought on 4/7/20 in Homestead, my cabbage patch, the other is another single family place in a slightly nicer part of Swissvale that was bought just about a month after this place was bought in late 2018.

8. This is far and away the most expensive property Joy Real Estate owns. Judging from the facts I've laid out, we seem to have a small rental operator who decided this place is just too much for them to operate, even from just 20 miles out in Monroeville. Someone who might be looking to trade up to Homestead from Swissvale after they sell this place.

9. The tenants in the Swissvale triplex that are there are signed through to summer 2022. That's not particularly encouraging, no smart operator signs D-class tenants to 2-year leases (the maximum residential lease length allowed in Allegheny County). The last apartment is empty.

@Stephanie Ro I'd like to suggest a reason that no one else has mentioned, and it may or may not apply to every listing you see that sits for over 30 days... But maybe the previous deal(s) just fell apart.

Case in point, I had some buyers looking at a property that had been listed for 45 days. It was too good to be true. Large house, middle of town, great price. How has it been on the market for so long?? Because they had been under contract twice - the first time, an inspection item that the sellers intitally didn't want to fix, until after the buyers walked away (and then the sellers ended up fixing it).

The second deal fell apart because buyers financing fell through.

I don't know why listings (at least in my area) don't restart the Days On Market counter when a property is re-listed after being under contract, but that's just my $0.02