Here are just a few quick insights regarding Corporate Relocation tips......

When a potential corporate relocation is in your future, having information at your fingertips is critical. There are several different issues you need to deal with immediately in order to best evaluate whether or not his particular opportunity is right for you.

These issues can typically be handled smoothly and easily, provided that you have the best possible relocation professionals assisting you on all sides of the transaction. Someone who has helped hundreds of homeowners through this process can illustrate clearly the ways to approach the process from the most favorable angle for you and your family.


The Problem with Relocation Companies

One of the problems that exist within the relocation industry concerns the caliber of the real estate agents "assigned" by companies to market property for transferred homeowners and to find them homes at the new location. The reason for this is the very core nature of the relocation industry - the requiring of large "referral fees" to be paid by Realtors who want to be assigned these corporate relocation clients. Usually this is done with little or no knowledge of the corporation itself, they just think they are doing their best to help out their transferring employees by having them contacted by a local real estate firm. This isn't the corporations fault at all.

Typically the way most "common" relocation companies operate is as follows. At least 6-8 entities are involved in the process, often more, and all of them are trying to take a piece of the resultant commission money from the sale and purchase of your home.

First, when a move is about to happen, the Human Resource professional will typically contact "XYZ Relocation Service" in, let's say Michigan. They will act as the "National Relocation Service," who will handle all of the aspects of the move. This company will assign a "National Relocation Coordinator," lets call her Joann, who will be your contact person. Their compensation typically will be either in the form of a fee paid by your corporation, or a referral fee from the assigned real estate company.

Next the "National Relocation Coordinator" will contact the "Local Relocation Directors" at each 2 Local Real Estate firms, one for your old house and one for your new house. Upon speaking with, let's call her "Donna", the Relocation Director of ABC Real Estate, a Massachusetts-Wide company, she will "assign" you to her to "handle" your home locally. For having obtained this "lead" from XYZ Relocation Services, "Donna" will take a referral fee, often about 20-30% of any commissions earned off your sale.

So now, are you still with me? Your Human Resource manage "Kate" referred you to "Joann" at XYZ Relocation Services, who referred you to "Donna" at ABC Real Estate of Massachusetts.

Now "Donna" must find you an agent. She calls the office manager "Claudia" of the Shrewsbury office of ABC Real Estate and asks her to "assign" an agent to you. As the office manager and representative of the company, "Claudia" must collect all of the various referral fees, say about 30-35% of the money total, "assign" you to an agent in her office, and then of the 65%-70% that remains as the agents gross commission, "Claudia" will take out the "office cut" typically 40%-50% of whatever is left.

Her selection of an agent to work with you is critical to your ultimate success in selling your home. Yet what she now must do is to find an agent in the office who is willing to pay at least 65% of their total commission money to all of these other people involved in the transaction.

Needless to say, the "Top Agents" in the office, those "Most Qualified" to get you Top Dollar for your home typically don't want to have anything to do with marketing your home if they have to pay all of these fees. As a result, the agent who gets assigned to contact you is typically NOT among the office top producers.

Now of course, you couldn't care less about all of this inside stuff. You just want an agent who is the absolute best you can get. For only that type of agent has the proven track record, existing client base, and experience necessary to get the job done.



Fortunately, you have a choice. Do your own research on Real Estate Agents. Go right ahead and meet with whomever the local relocation company wants you to talk with. Have them preview the home, let them discuss in detail their marketing plan. Most importantly, ask them about their experience. VERY important, when you talk to an agent about their experience and track record BEWARE of "fluff."
This "fluff" consists of indirect answers to direct questions. For example, you ask, "How long have you been in the business as a full-time agent?" The answer should be a NUMBER followed by the word "years". If the agent uses phraseology such as " seems like forever, ha ha ha.." or "..a really long time",you probably should look for another agent, and fast! Another critical question is "How many homes have you sold in town in the last 12 months." The answer should be 10, 25, 36, 99 whatever - a Number! If the answer is , "Our office sells tons of houses here," run don't walk to another agent. They obviously haven't sold many and are trying to duck the question.


Here's another interesting tid-bit

"9 Important Questions You Should Ask A Potential Realtor"
BEFORE you agree to list your home with them.

Suggested Answers to be listening for are based on the
Central Massachusetts Market. Other areas in the USA will vary.

Question #1 - How many Millions of Dollars worth of property have you "personally" sold in the past year (personally - Not the Company)

Suggested Answer - Over $10 million would be the Minimum level. Also, ask if they are willing to document their claims

Question #2 - How many homes did you "personally" sell last year. How many of these did you sell yourself versus co-broke sales.

Suggested Answer - 50 Transactions (listings or Sales) would be the minimum. 75 would be even better. Should be selling >25% themselves at least. This shows that they can generate Buyers, rather than just "list property and wait for an offer"

Question #3 - Do you personally control when and where the property will be advertised, or does this need to be approved by a manager.

Suggested Answer - Never get involved in a situation where advertising needs management approval if you can help it. Managers will typically try to save money at all costs, that's their job, and advertising is the biggest expense of all.

Question #4 - How easily reachable are you? Do you take time off? When you do, who is covering for you? What other obligations do you have?

Suggested Answer - Your Realtor should be reachable 24 hours a day 7 Days a week - 365 days a year, just like your Doctor. Everyone is entitled to have a life, but your biggest investment should take priority. That doesn't mean your agent can't take the day off and take their kids to the cape. But it does mean that they should have their beeper with them, should there be a problem, or hot buyer call, or that someone as familiar with your listing as them should be "on-call" to cover for them in their absence.

Try this test on your Realtor before you even interview them. Call their phone number at 8PM Saturday night and 7AM Sunday morning. Leave a message for them to please call you back "regarding your appointment." See how long it takes for them to call you back. Anything longer than 30 minutes (10 is better) is unacceptable. To be fair, if you get their voice mail at the office and it leaves a pager number, use that.

Question #5 - How flexible are you on the commission rates you charge.

Suggested Answer - All things should be subject to negotiation and discussion. I have many different full service programs which I utilize regularly at fees ranging from as low as 3% Total depending on the situation. All of these things however, should be at the AGENTS total discretion. If you get one of those "I need to check with my manager" walk away and call someone else.

Question #6 - Which Multiple Listing systems do you personally belong to? Can you access all of them from your office computer system? In our area of Massachusetts, there are two Multiple Listing Services. One covers Westborough East (The REMIS System) and the other is Westborough West (The Bay State MLS System). It is vital that the property be in Both MLS systems, and yet some of the bigger agencies out here have access to only one, or worse - claim to access to both and don't. I just saw a home come on the market in Shrewsbury with an agent in Marlboro. The home is gorgeous, the Agent is a really nice person, but how can you market a Shrewsbury property from Marlboro? They don't have access to the Bay State MLS system which is the primary system in Shrewsbury, even though they said they will get it in somehow. Likewise, it is really useful if you have a Shrewsbury home to have it in the Boston MLS (REMIS) so that it can be pulled up on the computer by agents in the Metro-West areas.

Suggested Answer - The agent should have instant access to both MLS systems on-line from their office. This will not only provide for greater exposure, but will also facilitate the ability to make changes to your listing "on-line" as required, versus doing a mail in submission as a non-member.

Question #7 - What would you say are your biggest shortcomings?

Suggested Answer - This is a simple honesty test. There's no right or wrong answer. It's just a nice insight into a persons character. I'm one of the Top Selling real estate agents in the world, yet I have plenty of shortcomings and lots of things I'd love to improve. Listen especially for things other than "...I'm just too dedicated to my clients", or answers like that - they're just fluff.

Question #8 - Do you have a personal web site?

Suggested Answer - At this time, the technology has become so cheap and easy to handle, that there is really no excuse to not have your own site to market to potential buyers. So many of the Top Agents in the area already have them set up and they look great. Ask specifically if it's their own "site," as opposed to merely listings in Homes Magazine that the publishers post on THEIR site. Having your own web site illustrates to me two things; (1) a willingness to invest in your business and (2) a desire to utilize ALL of the latest technologies to try and improve your performance for your homeowners. If they don't have their own site, that's not tragic; but ask them what technology they have invested in over the past year. Ask them how what they are doing today is different than what they were doing 5 years ago.

Question #9 - Can I cancel my listing agreement with you if I'm not satisfied with your performance and/or service?

Suggested Answer - Your agent should be willing to put their money where their mouth is. They should be able to produce in writing an easy-out escape clause that gives you the right to cancel your listing if you're not getting the service and performance you were promised. Naturally, this should be totally at their discretion, not some office manager that you never meet or talk to.