Measuring Days on Market

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“Days-on-Market” is the measure of how long it takes to sell a home. When Hunter Rowe quotes “Days-on-Market” statistics, we report exactly what is shown in MLS. Days-on-Market (abbreviated “DOM”) is the number of days the property was active in MLS before a fully executed contract has been signed by both the buyers and the sellers.

Sounds simple, and MLS “Days-on-Market” IS the right number to use. However, for many years Hunter Rowe Real Estate has been using an innovative strategy to help our sellers. This strategy has caused some questions about how exactly to measure “Days-on-Market”.  We want to make sure you know… the REST of the story.

In 2008 we came up with an idea to better serve our sellers called “Coming Soon Marketing”.  You see, before we activate a property on MLS, we help our sellers prepare the home so it will make the most positive impression on buyers, so we can get them the highest possible price. Sometimes that preparation takes weeks or months. OUR IDEA was to market the home DURING THE TIME IT WAS BEING PREPARED, with a yard sign and through networking with fellow agents, just in case someone was ready to buy in that neighborhood before the home was ready. ANYONE can see the home during this time, as long as they are financially qualified and we can arrange a time convenient for the seller.

The Coming Soon strategy has worked very well. In fact, we sell 1 in 10 homes before they are activated on MLS. Several other local real estate agents have started using a similar strategy to help their sellers, and we think that’s great!

So what does this Coming Soon strategy have to do with measuring “Days-on-Market”?

So, in the NORMAL case where we sell a home AFTER it is fully prepared and activated in MLS, we mark it as “Under Contract” in MLS, we put a rider on the for sale sign saying how many days it was sold AFTER PREPARATION WAS COMPLETED, and that is the number MLS will show. Fair enough.

BUT… when a home is sold during the COMING SOON period — BEFORE it is fully prepared — there are differing opinions about how “Days-on-Market” should be measured. The majority of consumers think of it as being sold EARLY, before it was ready, and therefore say the “Days-on-Market” was actually negative, or alternatively, zero. OTHERS want to count the number of days the Coming Soon sign was in the yard, even though the home was nowhere near prepared for buyers. At Hunter Rowe, we put a rider on the sign stating how many days the sign was in the yard. So, for example, if we had the Coming Soon sign in the yard for two weeks before we got a signed contract, the rider would say “Sold in 14 days”.

However, it works differently in the MLS system, from which the official “Days-on-Market” statistics are calculated. When a home goes under contract during the “Coming Soon” period, no matter how prepared it is, we are required to enter it into MLS immediately, and since at this point all parties have signed, it is marked as “Under Contract”.  In this case, MLS will actually show the “Days-on-Market” as zero, since the home was never active as a fully-prepared listing. This reflects the opinion of most consumers, who feel it is common sense to start the sales clock ONLY after the product is 100% ready.

Another MLS rule impacts the “days on market” measurement in a different way. Let’s say a home is listed for sale on MLS by Acme Realty for 180 days, then expires unsold. If a new real estate firm takes over and lists the home on MLS within 30 days, the count will continue right where the last listing left off, showing “cumulative days on market” as 180, on the first day the home is re-listed. However, if the new firm and the seller waits for 30 days before re-listing, the clock will start over at 0 days-on-market. I cannot speak for MLS, but I think the logic is that a 30-day period is a long enough break to consider it a “new listing”. At Hunter Rowe our policy is that even after a 30-day break, the clock should not start over again unless the preparation and/or price of the home has been significantly changed. In fact, we frequently take over listing that have not sold, make effective changes to the preparation, and sell them quickly. In that case, our sign, and MLS, will show that small number of days. However, in the rare case that WE were the previous firm and WE are listing the home again after a 30-day break and sell it quickly after more preparation the second time, our policy is not to claim the low days on market of this second listing period on our “Sold” sign. In this case, though, MLS will show the lower days-on-market.

In any case, OUR priority is, and will always be, to serve our sellers in the way that helps them the best. Our sellers tell us its FANTASTIC when we sell their home at an acceptable price before it is fully prepared, often saving them significant money and effort.

As far as measuring “Days-on-Market”, you can decide what is fair. We just want to make sure you have all the facts so you can make the best decision for your family.  We’ll just keep putting our client’s interests first and inventing new ways to help them.

In the meantime, if you happen to run into someone thinking about selling or buying a home, who would appreciate our innovative approaches, we would be honored to help them. Just give us a call, or send us an email, with their contact information, and we’ll be glad to follow up and take good care of them for you.

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