Welcome Home: Working with Relocators in Transition
People stage moves for all sorts of reasons. From the joyous and pre-planned, to the unfortunate and unexpected, new chapters begin with the help of an agent. When you’re working with buyers from a different region, state, or country, the typical complications of a transaction can be compounded. So, what’s a savvy agent to do?
For starters, envision the big picture. Relocators have extra obstacles between them and their dream home. They don’t necessarily know which neighborhoods are ideal for their lifestyle, what they should budget for utilities, what type of homeowner’s insurance is ideal, or how they can tour, let alone close, on a house from afar. All in all, it’s a tall order, but if you can manage a relocation transaction successfully, you could tap into a sizable pool of clientele. Think of it this way: if you’re the shining star of a relocator’s moving process, their word-of-mouth praise could be exponential. Likewise, a winning reputation within that client’s corporate sphere could lead to lucrative, stable referrals and partnerships for years to come. Here are a few key ways to help clients navigate the relocation process with minimal stress and maximum results.
- Create a full-scale timeline for you and your client that makes expectations clear.
Moving is already one of life’s biggest stressors, but relocations have a dozen more moving parts that your average deal. Consider creating a masterplan of sorts to help you and your client visualize the steps required to achieve success in the midst of a relocation. Even from afar, your client will be able to refer to the roadmap you’ve set. Likewise, this makes sure you and your client are on the same page regarding expectations, timelines, and checklists. Assemble an articulated, overarching gameplan also helps demystify the process and lower stress. Instead of clients wondering what’s next, what’s needed, who to call, and when to be ready—handy guidelines of your own devising will be at their fingertips.
- Attune your communication style so that nothing goes overlooked or miscommunicated.
Establish early on how your client prefers to communicate and which methods should be excluded. Also, make sure to outline what timeframes are ideal to communicate in, and how often they expect to hear from you with status updates or follow-ups. Some clients might prefer a more hands-off approach that lets you manage most details behind the scenes with updates only when progress is made. Most clients in the midst of a serious relocation, however, will prefer to be in touch more frequently. Customizing is key. If they prefer text messages and emails over calls, that’s a helpful detail to know from the outset. If they prefer face-to-face video chats or can only speak after business hours—those are also key parameters to work within. The less mystery and hassle, the better.
- Be a local resource with vetted recommendations and vendors on-hand.
Relocating homeowners may not know the best neighborhoods and their amenities, or where the best school districts are, which areas are high-traffic, or where their dollar might stretch a little further. Identifying your clients’ goals can help narrow this field, but you’ll also want to be careful not to overwhelm them with information. After all, they’re taking on a huge life transition and making a move as an outsider. You’ll want to serve as a one-stop-shop who can remove some steps and stress from their organizational obligations. Have a contractor who can get a head-start on home projects while clients make the move? Excellent. Or, perhaps you can provide an out-of-state agent referral so that clients can sell their existing property in a timeline that works in conjunction with their new purchase. Make yourself a community expert and a connector, and you’ve won a client—and their referrals—for much longer than a single transaction.
- Thing outside the box when weighing variables.
Relocations aren’t your typical transaction. You’ll need to do a bit more planning to avoid pitfalls along the way. For instance, have you considered how you’ll tour homes with clients if they live hundreds of miles away? Are there time zone differences to factor in? If clients are relocating from another country, are there any special visa or naturalization considerations? How will their belongings travel? Are there pets to relocate? There are plenty of questions to ask and plan for, but the key is to be communicative and thorough up front. The more information and planning time you have, the smoother the transition will go.
There are certified real estate agent designations you can pursue that set you apart for your experience when it comes to relocations, but in lieu of those—arm yourself with the planning details and methods that will make your client a raving fan. In the process, you’ll up your game, create a happy client, and hopefully field similar business for years to come.