Relocation Clients: Tips and Challenges

There’s no doubt about it – clients who are relocating from another city, state, or country present unique opportunities, challenges, and rewards for real estate professionals.  On top of the usual stresses that come with real estate transactions, these clients are facing the additional pressures of acquainting themselves with new surroundings and career changes as well, oftentimes without their usual support system of family and friends.  Learning specifically how to help relocation clients can make the process easier and more enjoyable for everyone.

The first issue that may become apparent with relocating clients is time. Clients who are new to an area will likely require more time to acquaint themselves and become acclimated to their surroundings.  They may also need more showings than local clients to be able to decide on a house. This can be difficult if they are commuting between their old home and their new city, cutting down on the time they can spend looking at homes, or if their spouses’ visits are limited.  It often falls to the real estate professional to do more of the house hunting legwork and research to make sure that the clients’ time is maximized while they are in town.

Relocating clients may also have the added stresses of helping family members adapt to the move. Even if the move appears to be a positive development, a certain amount of anxiety is to be expected. It’s important to remember that clients may be carrying their own pressures as well as additional strains from loved ones.

Handling relocation clients may involve special paperwork and documentation.  You also may need to help educate them about how the real estate transaction and closing process works in your state.  Even terminology can be different, so make sure your relocation clients know that they can ask you questions along the way if they don’t understand something.  It’s usually helpful to send copies of the forms and contracts that will be used in the real estate transaction so relocating clients can become familiar with them before they are executed.

Here are some tips for making the relocation process easier for clients:

•             Send clients maps of the city with different neighborhoods highlighted where you will be showing them houses.  This will help them get their bearings in their new surroundings.

•             Before your clients arrive, find out some of their individual and family interests so that you can have some helpful information available.  For example, if you find out they like to attend sporting events, you can have the schedules of area sports teams ready to give them. If you find out they like tennis, print out some information about public and private courts in the area.

•             Make a list of your favorite things to do, places to eat, and sites to visit in the city. They’ll appreciate your personal recommendations.

•             Suggest some age-appropriate activities for children.

•             Give them a community calendar or a link to the calendar so they can see what’s going on while they’re in town, as well as what they can look forward to after their move.

•             If your clients have pets, be sure to provide a list of nearby pet boarding options and veterinary clinics.

•             Add an HSA Home Warranty to all your relocating clients’ transactions.  With HSA coverage, when a covered home system or appliance eventually breaks down, your clients won’t have to scramble in their new location to find repair help.

According to the Employee Relocation Council, there are approximately 1.5 million employer-assisted relocations each year. Each of these clients will be depending on real estate professionals to smooth the way and to help their relocation and transition to be as successful as possible.