How To Determine How Long A Home Has Really Been On The Market

Not too long ago, it was common for many real estate agents (especially in Contra Costa County) to routinely withdraw a listing after about 30 days and re-enter it into the multiple listing service (MLS) a few minutes later.

They did so to reset the Days-On-Market counter to zero, thus giving the illusion that every home which showed only 5 days on the market really had just been recently listed.

Back then, whenever I showed homes to prospective buyers in areas where this was a common practice, I’d always pull up a property history report for the homes my clients were interested in, so they could see how long the home had really been on the market.

Often, they would see something like this:

  • 1/10 – Listed – New
  • 2/9 – Withdrawn
  • 2/9 – Listed – New
  • 3/10 – Withdrawn
  • 3/10 – Listed – New

And unless their agent pulled such a property history report, hundreds of unsuspecting buyers would assume that a home that showed up as a new listing truly was fresh on the market rather than having been relisted in the MLS as New every 20 or 30 days.

Thankfully, our MLS updated its rules a few years ago to prevent agents from “churning” their listings and misleading prospective buyers about the length of time the home had been on the market.

Today, our MLS reports show two figures — Days On Market (DOM) and Cumulative Days On Market (CDOM). The latter is a field that was added several years ago, which shows how long a home has really been on the market, even if the seller switches brokerages, which will reset the DOM number back to zero.

It was a change that was long overdue when it happened. Sellers loved the old way and many old-time real estate agents did, too. But today we live in an age where transparency is expected. And fortunately, buyers today don’t have to read between the lines. They can look at an MLS printout and see just how long a home has really been on the market.

So if you’re looking a homes and feel a sense of urgency about a home that looks like it just came on the market, be sure to look at the CDOM figure…for that’s the one that really tells the full story.

About the Author

Most real estate agents don’t start their work careers in real estate. They come from some other industry, so there’s usually a lot of trial and error before they settle into a routine. But our path was a little different.

Prior to starting at Coldwell Banker in 1995, we worked in various other segments of the housing industry…in new homes, title and escrow and Rod even as a long-time weekly real estate columnist. So when we launched our practice, we were able to integrate that experience into our real estate practice from day one.

It was as title & escrow professionals that the light finally went on. We routinely saw countless instances where a little foresight by the real estate agent would have saved the client a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety. So many last-minute crises could have easily been avoided with proper care a few weeks earlier.

So we knew there had to be a place in this industry for someone who could anticipate potential problems ahead of time to keep those little pebbles in the road from turning into huge deal-threatening boulders.

As you can probably tell by our name, we’re husband and wife but we also work together as a real estate team. That means there’s always an extra set of eyes, ears, and hands to ensure that your real estate needs are handled properly and on time. Not to mention an extra dose of attention and compassion.

We’ve always taken a Golden Rule approach to our business by treating our clients with the same level of care that we’d expect if the roles were reversed. And that’s a huge reason why we’ve been fortunate enough over the years to receive so many referrals from happy past clients.

You’ll never hear us tell you we’re too busy to help or make you feel rushed or hurried to make a decision. Your real estate needs will always receive the attention they deserve. That’s a promise.

And while we’re always happy to make suggestions and provide advice, we never lose sight of the fact that you’re always the decision maker. Whether you agree with our recommendations or not, we’ll always represent and defend your decisions faithfully, honestly and professionally. That you can count on.

A real estate transaction is definitely a complicated endeavor but it doesn’t have to be an exercise in futility nor a 30-day financial and emotional roller-coaster ride. Let us guide you. We’ll introduce you to a style of real estate that most real estate clients never get to enjoy.