One of the mistakes I find buyers often make is passing up on good deals because they wonder why, if the price is so good, no one else has bought the property, and think there must be something wrong with it. In a hot market, that kind of logic makes sense.
But in a market like the one we have in Ottawa (where it can take on average almost three months to sell a house and much longer for a condo), the fact that someone hasn’t bought a good property has more to do with the market than anything else. Look at condos for example, where the prices have dropped 13% year to year.
There will never be a property that is absolutely perfect, but when you find one that meets all your needs and is well-priced, don’t let it get away because you are worried that someone else didn’t see the value in it before you did. If you do that, you’ll always be the buyer who lost out to someone else.
Besides, how other people react to a property shouldn’t be your concern: you are looking for a home for yourself, not for strangers, and what you like and need should be based on your needs, not theirs. (That said, of course you have to keep resale in mind. But don’t freak out because a home has been on the market for a few months or longer; right now, at least in Ottawa, that’s pretty average.)
Sometimes the sellers simply started out over-pricing the property, and it’s become stale-dated. The longer it sits, the lower the price has to get for buyers to be attracted, after all, they saw it at a higher price initially and thought it was over-priced. That’s not a problem with the property but with the sellers, and when an overpriced property doesn’t sell, the price will come down.
Ask about the neighbourhood. Make sure it’s not gang-ridden or has some other kind of stigma that’s depressing the price on this property. If it’s a good neighbourhood, ask what the history is on the property, what the sellers paid for it, what renos they did to it, and if your realtor can find out, why they are leaving.
Sometimes sellers’ lives change and they have to move and the price is low because they have outgrown the home, or are expecting a child, or got transferred, or have health issues and can’t manage stairs. In those situations, you might be getting a great deal.