Jeff MacKinnon

Honest, hard working and thorough

Ask for cumulative days on the market, not just days on the market


Interesting story in Tuesday's Globe and Mail about the practice of terminating listings and then relisting so the 'days on market' or DOM starts from scratch. Kind of like turning the odomoter back to zero.

The story focused on the Toronto market, but it's done everywhere.

Just a couple of minutes ago, on my morning scan of new listings, I saw a brand new listing where this was just done. First day on the market? Not really.

I opened up 'Property History' — which is not available to the public — to discover it was taken off the market in September after a rather lengthy time without any action. By leaving it off the market for a month the clock started back on Day 1. Pulling it off the market one day and putting it back on the next does the same thing in the public eye.

So, if you are working with a realtor make sure you ask them to send you the property history for every home you are considering. It tells you if the sellers had it listed before, for how long, at what original list price and as well any price reductions along the way. It also tells you when it last sold and for how much.

You want to know how long it has been on the market in total —  cumulative days on the market (CDOM) —  since it first became available and if there were any price reductions since that time. What did it start out at in terms of price?

Days on the market (DOM) can be a bit of trickery. Sometimes, though, the listing period just ran and it just needs to be relisted all on the up and up.

Same thing if you walk into an open house — ask for CDOM not DOM.

The story details one home in Toronto that was listed three times between Sept. 11 and Oct. 15 then sold on the third try with a $400,000 price reduction. The record would only show the DOM of the last listing period so it affects the market statistics for that area.

It could also be that the listing expired a month ago and it took the sellers a month to find another realtor to go with.

However, the most important consideration in all this is: Do you like the house or not? If you do, does it really matter how long it's been sitting there? It may just be the sellers listed too high and it's taken them awhile to get to a realistic price. Maybe they had a conditional sale and it fell through over financing? Your realtor can find out.

If there's something wrong with the home, a good home inspector will tell you, so you can't sign a non-waiver of conditions and move on.

Days on the market can be longer these days because it's not exactly a great market and there are fewer sales than in past years.

You want to know everything you can about a property and CDOM vs. DOM is an important distinction.

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