Holiday Withdrawal Syndrome

Holiday Withdrawal Syndrome has reached epidemic proportions in San Francisco, with properties withdrawing themselves left and right for the holiday season. Within just the past 24 hours, 12 properties have been withdrawn (termed inactives in the graph below) from the San Francisco multiple listing service, and I’ve probably received just about as many emails from brokers that want me to know that while their listing has been withdrawn, it is still available over the holidays.
What is the cause of this annual syndrome? Long story short, withdrawing the property from the market for a minimum of 30 days (it used to be two weeks) will cause the San Francisco multiple listing service (MLS) to list the property with a reset (think zero) days on market (DOM) count. So, even if you’ve been flogging your listing since October of 1942, if you withdraw it for 30 days the next time you enter it in the multiple listing service it will appear as a “new” listing with a days on market (DOM) count of zero! It’s the real estate equivalent of a fountain of eternal youth, allowing stale properties to come back to market “new” with the exact same agent and brokerage.

Some multiple listing services have a metric known as cumulative days on market (CDOM for those of you lingo-lovers), which defeats the purpose of this little strategy, by picking up and continuing the days on market count from the prior  listing. San Francisco, it is rumored, will someday implement this metric. But as of today, we don’t. Unlike, say, Seattle.

So why so many now? Simply put, this time of year is slow anyway, so if you don’t anticipate many showings, your seller doesn’t want to show their home while it is filled with holiday decor and guests, and you expect minimal open house traffic, it makes sense (under the existing rules) to withdraw the property from the market, let other agents know it is still available, and bring it back on in mid to late January after a quick and painless dip in the fountain of eternal youth erases all those troubling wrinkles (er, days on market).

Leave a Reply