5 things to remember when selling a home for the second time

How to take a new approach to a familiar listing

It’s not uncommon for buyers we’ve represented in the past to get in touch when they want to sell; they remember that we provided great service before, and they’re confident that we will do so again. But sometimes it’s the home — not the homeowner — that comes back to us, and that requires a unique set of tactics and considerations.

It’s not uncommon for buyers we’ve represented in the past to get in touch when they want to sell; they remember that we provided great service before, and they’re confident that we will do so again. But sometimes it’s the home — not the homeowner — that comes back to us, and that requires a unique set of tactics and considerations.

Some luxury properties have a tendency to boomerang on and off the market, and when they do, my colleagues often ask me if I have any tips or tricks for handling them. Santa Rosa Beach in Florida, where my practice is based, is a second-home market, so turnover is sometimes higher. As a result, we are occasionally asked to list a property that was part of our own inventory in the past.

Here are the top five things I remind myself and my team of when a property comes across our desks again.

1. Remember that you know the property better than anyone

Simply take comfort in your pre-existing knowledge of the home, and have confidence. When you represent the same home multiple times, you know more about it than any current owners or future buyers, and that makes you uniquely qualified to market it.

Unfortunately, the flip side of that benefit is that it’s possible to know too much about a property — its hangups, hurdles, and any negative feedback you may have received in the past. Don’t dwell on the downsides. Instead, use your knowledge to anticipate upcoming challenges, identify the home’s strengths, and plan proactively for the next sale.

2. Find out what your sellers have changed

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Learn whether the owners have renovated the property. In the best-case scenario, your sellers may have already invested in some of the changes that you wanted to make the last time the home was on the market. But if that’s not the case, you can still prepare it for presentation.

Even when my clients aren’t planning on making full-blown updates, I always bring in my team to take a look at the property and suggest impactful tweaks. A lighter or more neutral paint job, a change in décor, or a revised color scheme throughout can help jazz up a home before putting it back on the market.

3. Change your partners, not your tactics

Your luxury real estate office is a well-oiled machine. When a property you’ve sold before bounces back to you for the second, third, or even fourth time, it may be time to take a different approach when unveiling it again to a fresh market.

Instead of changing your marketing strategy, consider working with different designers and decorators to help the home reach the right buyer. Styles may have changed since the last time you sold this property, and a different partner with new ideas might just be the thing that resonates with new buyers.

4. Refresh your marketing materials

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Speaking of not changing your marketing, some properties won’t merit new video and photography. But that only applies if they’ve come back on the market less than a year after they were last sold and have no significant changes. Any longer than that, and it will be necessary to produce new marketing collateral.

Now is a great time to refresh any photos, videos, or virtual materials you may need to sell a home. Many agencies across the country are taking this moment to breathe new life into their collateral as the market returns to normal for buyers and sellers.

5. Think twice about taking on a problem property

What should you do about those rare pieces of real estate that have returned to your office again and again? I make a point to compare the homeowners’ reasons for parting with the property. Do they receive frequent offers on the home? Or do they report frustrations with the floor plan? Is it just the price? We try to do a full analysis of those homes to find the common denominators before we agree to take the listing again.

In some cases, it may be better just to pass on the property. For example, if you and your potential seller are misaligned on the key issues of a home, things could get challenging down the road. The bottom line is that if there are problems, make sure you can actually fix them before committing to a client.

If I’ve learned one thing, it’s to never be one-sided. Bring a fresh perspective to properties you’ve sold in the past, rather than lingering on their perceived flaws. Luxury real estate is subject to trends, after all, and trends change. Look at everything through new eyes, understand why the home may have fallen out of favor, and find the opportunities to make it relevant in tomorrow’s market. Most of the time, the opportunities are there.

You’ve sold this home before, and that makes you the most qualified agent to sell it again.

Corey Ledbetter

Corey Ledbetter is an experienced agent with the Chris Abbott Group, serving both primary and secondary buyers, sellers and property investors, and builders and developers. Specializing in coastal properties from Destin to Rosemary Beach, Corey works tirelessly to help his clients achieve their real estate goals – providing hands-on assistance every step of the way. Corey credits his prolonged success in the Destin and 30A real estate markets to being genuine with each and every client. According to Corey, “Truly listening to my clients’ needs, and being able to have a deeper understanding behind their motivation allows us to work together to achieve their goals.”


About Sotheby’s International Realty

Sotheby’s International Realty was founded in 1976 as a real estate service for discerning clients of Sotheby’s auction house. Today, the company’s global footprint spans 990 offices located in 72 countries and territories worldwide, including 43 company-owned brokerage offices in key metropolitan and resort markets. In February 2004, Realogy entered into a long-term strategic alliance with Sotheby’s, the operator of the auction house. The agreement provided for the licensing of the Sotheby’s International Realty name and the development of a franchise system. The franchise system is comprised of an affiliate network, where each office is independently owned and operated. Sotheby’s International Realty supports its affiliates and agents with a host of operational, marketing, recruiting, educational and business development resources. Affiliates and agents also benefit from an association with the venerable Sotheby’s auction house, established in 1744. For more information, visit www.sothebysrealty.com.

The affiliate network is operated by Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, and the company owned brokerages are operated by Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. Both entities are subsidiaries of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY) a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services. Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC and Sotheby’s International Realty Inc., both fully support the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act.