Welcome to the First Time Home Buyer Series where we help newbie NYC home buyers navigate through the most thrilling (and sometimes most headache ridden) process out there.

As an agent, there’s one question I get time and time again when taking clients out to look at homes: “why has this been sitting on the market so long?” Especially in a hot market like NYC, it comes as a surprise to jaded New Yorkers that all homes aren’t flying off the shelves unless something is wrong with it.

There are so many factors going into why a home is purchased that just because it has been sitting on the market for more than 30 days doesn’t necessarily mean there is something wrong with it. If anything, you as a buyer may have more bargaining power on a perfectly fine home that may have just been overlooked.

Below some of the more common reasons a great home may have been sitting on the market a little longer than its peers:

1. Greed is (not) Good

The most common reason why a home doesn’t sell is poor pricing (or being overpriced), plain and simple. Hubris on the seller’s part (or their broker’s) is typically to blame for this and doesn’t get remedied until the home sits on the market for some time when the hard reality sets in that its just priced too high.

2. Too Much To Choose From

Another big reason why a home can sit for a while is that the current market around the home is saturated with other properties at similar prices. When sellers see a strong market, of course they all want to cash in at the same time, but that often leads to an oversaturation of inventory.

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3. First Impressions Are Everything

Getting buyers through the door is a beauty pageant and staging plays a crucial role in how quickly a home can sell. Most buyers want to walk into a turnkey home and imagine themselves living in it immediately. If it is staged poorly (think something out of Animal House), I can guarantee you no buyer will be interested.

4. New York Problems: Condos versus Coops

This point is specific to the NYC market. When buyers are mainly trying to purchase for investment (ie stash some cash), condos will be the flavor of the month, which is why we are currently seeing condos going into contract faster than co-ops. This is magnified by the relatively lower condo inventory in NYC.

5. Is the Seller’s Agent Selling?

In some cases, a home will sit due to how the seller’s agent handles the listing. I remember walking into an apartment one time with my buyer client, and every question I asked the seller agent came back with an answer of “I’m not sure.”  Another time, I could have sworn the seller’s agent was trying to convince us NOT to buy the apartment! At the end of the day, a seller’s agent makes the sale when touring buyers through the property. If they can’t represent the property correctly, the home will have a tough time selling.

So take a chance on a home that’s been on the market a bit longer than the others. You might be surprised what hidden gems you can find at great prices!