Tapping into Relocation Referrals
One of the best ways to grow your real estate business is by establishing a niche or specialty. Real estate agents often all seem the same to consumers. Adding specific expertise can set you apart from the competition and open up opportunities. One niche possibility to consider is relocations (RELO). Corporations and government agencies often relocate employees for new positions or projects. The employees likely come from out of state or even another country and need help finding a place to live. Relocation companies manage the financial and logistical issues involved in moving employees. Sometimes, they refer the buying and selling of houses to local real estate agents.
Getting Relocation Referrals
Relocation companies may require some relocation training. A percentage of your commission will be paid to the relocation company, typically 20% to 40%. While you have to pay a referral fee, you’ll save time and money on farming and developing leads. RELOs can provide a steady stream of clients who are extremely motivated to buy. Here are some tips to tap into relocation referrals:
- Become a REALTOR®
- Complete relocation process training
- Research relocation companies
- Get Military Relocation Professional certification from the National Association of REALTORS®
- Network with relocation companies and real estate professionals
- Sign up to be a relocation agent with reputable companies
- Become a local expert
- Tout your relocation skills and local knowledge on your web site and social media posts
- Write blog posts or create YouTube videos offering advice for people new to the area or about the relocation process
Helping Relocation Clients The transferee will be stressed about selling and buying houses and moving in a short period of time while keeping up with job responsibilities in two locations. The real estate agent may the only person the buyer deals with face-to-face. The transferee will need the agent to educate him or her about area, market, and schools. Try to put yourself in their situation and think of ways you could make their lives easier. You’ll need to go above and beyond what you usually do for buyer clients. Before you meet them in person, gather and send them the following information:
- Relocation packet: Put together information on the neighborhoods, amenities, schools, local culture, maps, public transportation, crime, and helpful web sites. The local visitor’s bureau is a great resource.
- Kids’ packet: Do a special packet for transferees with children, including more info on schools and daycare, parks, entertainment, zoos, and stores.
- Transaction folder: Put sample sales contracts, home inspection reports, addenda, and mortgage application in a folder so they know what to expect. Moving checklists and a summary of the sales process would also be helpful.
- Food and lodging packet: Compile a list of reputable local vendors for the products and services the transferee will need. Also, include the locations of quality hotels, grocery stores, banks, restaurants, and the post office.
Have these packets assembled ahead of time so you can just put them in a priority envelope and drop it in the mail. Then, after you get together to look at houses, find more ways to help, including:
- House hunting sheets: Create house viewing sheets for each property they see with the address, photo, listing information, unique details, and a space for comments.
- Help with food and lodging: You can help them find a hotel while they are in town looking at houses. Send a basket of snacks and fruit.
- Help moving: Give transferees a moving to-do checklist, including lists of movers and contractors.
- Help settling in: After the relocation buyers have closed on a house, help get the utilities set up and provide a list of local providers they’ll need. Provide information about local cable and internet providers, change of address forms, getting a new driver’s license, registering to vote, and anything else new residents may need.
Relocation Client Info Packets To assemble the information packets mentioned above, visit the local Chamber of Commerce and grab those fliers for local activities and restaurants you see at roadside information centers and large hotels. Chamber of Commerce web sites may include helpful information on:
- Local businesses
- Real estate market: median and average home prices in various neighborhoods
- County employment services and staffing agencies
- Local health care providers, clinics, and facilities
- Public school districts
- Nearby universities and community colleges
- Local government
- Community events
- Major employers and manufacturers
- Transportation services
- Outdoor recreation
- Shopping, dining, and entertainment
While relocation transactions require extra effort, they are often more rewarding. People relocating from out of state may not know anyone in their new town, and they’re juggling several high-stress situations at the same time. More than traditional buyers, these clients will rely on the advice and counsel of their real estate agent. And if you provide excellent service, you’ll have a new source for client referrals. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to increase your sales volume. The more you know about the real estate business and the local market, the more you can help your clients. Expand your knowledge or complete continuing education at 360training.com. Tons of self-paced, online real estate courses are waiting for you right now. Sources: http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/sales-coach/article/2004/04/make-relocation-part-your-business http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/sales-coach/article/2008/09/how-make-relocating-clients-happy