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 Understanding Relocation Clients
By: Darin "Sid" Cameron, CRS
Mon, Oct 22nd, 2007 8:04 am

Was asked about relocation by an agent who wants to specialize in it.  Here's what I've learned from having worked with relo clients.

12 OBSERVATIONS ON RELOCATION...

1) Surround yourself with people who have lived and breathed this because it's very different than dealing with a "traditional buyer."  We've had 4 people in our lives that come from this world that have been great help.

2) Relocation clients are different because they are under undue stress in every aspect of their life.  In many cases buying a house is just another check on their list of things that have to happen over a 2 day weekend before they fly home.

What are they stressed about?  Well, they're dealing with new jobs, new bosses, new schools, stressed out family, stressed out children and stressed out pets.

There are logistical problems to deal with- like shipping cars and pets.  They don't know where anything is, and little tasks like groceries and dry cleaning take more time.  Their personal finances are disrupted by the cost of moving, and they have to deal with personal items that get damaged, lost or destroyed.  They don't have a local support system to help them out, the spouse with the primary income is consumed with a new workplace and the secondary spouse might be on the street trying to find a new job.

Honestly, we have a listing right now that we sold a year ago to a great couple whose marriage fell apart after relocating here- it just didn't survive all the changes.  That's relocation.

3) Build a database of answers for the stuff above because knowing the answer is what sets you apart from other agents.  If your broker offers concierge services, abuse it.

4) Relocation clients, unlike regular buyers, absolutely, positively have to rely on the internet.  Open houses, the local newspaper, etc aren't an option for finding a home when you live 500 miles away.  So make sure your online home search solutions are top notch and that you can also handle remote closings.

What's interesting is most agents websites focus on buyer and seller services and barely reference relocation, so if you get relocation content heavy on your site (and I'm really not), they will ultimately find you.

Relocation clients also rely heavily on national sites like Craigslist.  If you use a call capture system in your ads you will be amazed at the percentages of out of state callers you get.

5) If you don't have a relocation kit or know what should be in one, talk to agents in other markets that specialize in relocation and find out what's in theirs.

Although ours is good for St. Louis, we're totally outclassed by other markets (so don't request mine).  I can give you some names of the best we've seen (which included a DVD tour of the city).

With that said, it's not uncommon for someone that's just thinking about moving or in the interview phase to contact agents, so we do have an abridged version that's cheaper which we send out to those prospects.

6) Respond quickly. We find other agents in our market can take days to reply to requests for relocation information but because of the anxiety associated with relocating, the prospects want information now.  We respond immediately, overnight or two day deliver relocation kits, and when they come to town (if it's a higher end client or we have competition) we have a second relocation kit along with a gift bag of snacks awaiting them at their hotel.  It's not uncommon for them to want to meet and interview multiple agents- so encourage it because if you are going the extra mile it just makes you look better.

Part two to this post, tomorrow!

[ Next Article: << Understanding Relocation Clients (Part 2) ]
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Darin 'Sid' Cameron, CRS

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Darin "Sid" Cameron spent 15 years working in tech sales which in 1998 relocated him to St. Louis. In 2004 he took over web development tasks for Kimberly's real estate team and later became the full-time Marketing and Operations Director. In 2011, he launched two brokerages, The Realty Store, Inc. and Realty Referral Partners, Inc. Sid holds a real estate broker's license in Missouri, CRS certification and was the first CyberStar in the St. Louis area.
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