Each year, U.S. companies transfer between 500,000 and 600,000 employees, and about 60 percent of those moves involve the purchase or sale of a home or both. Numbers like this mean there is a demand for professional real estate services in the relocation process--brokerage, appraisal, and even property management, to name a few.
While there are plenty of real estate professionals to choose from, the best bet in terms of ethical, efficient and reliable service, is a Realtor. Nearly 750,000 of the 1.2 million active real estate licensees nationwide belong to the National Association of Realtors, entitling them to use our registered mark, "Realtor," after their name. Unlike many real estate brokers and sales-associates who are simply licensed by their state to do business, Realtors have taken additional steps to become members of the local board of Realtors and have agreed to act under and adhere to a strict Code of Ethics. This membership obligates them to be fair to all parties involved in a transaction, be it buyer, seller or cooperating agent.
As of 1990, 15 percent of all real estate firms were affiliated with a third-party employee relocation management company. Realtors representing both large and small firms, have something to offer relocating families. And, the services provided by a good real estate professional are not limited to the home sales transaction itself. In fact, a Realtor will get involved in helping a transferee find the right neighborhood, schools, public services, and, sometimes, even job leads for the trailing spouse.
Realtors know how to price and market a home successfully, how to advise a buyer and seller through each step of the transaction, as well as help buyers find appropriate financing. Relocations--especially for persons and families who are moving to a market they know nothing about--can be especially traumatic. A well-trained, sensitive real estate professional is crucial to the success of a positive relocation experience.
Real estate markets are local by nature, and national trends or sales figures do not necessarily reflect the reality of a particular area. A move from a small town to a large city, for instance, will mean extreme culture shock, as well as sticker shock for the relocating family. A Realtor will work with that family, educate that family and help that family make the financial, as well as the emotional, transfer.
At the starting point, a Realtor can provide the marketing strategies to sell a home fast and for the best price, which is essential for a successful relocation. By listing a home in a Multiple Listing Service, the Realtor works with many other Realtors to assure a far wider range of prospective buyers than sellers who do not have their home listed in the MLS. The Realtor does a lot of homework back at the office in order to sell a home. It is listed, ads are placed, telephone inquiries are handled and appointments for showings are arranged with the convenience of the seller in mind.
At the "landing" point, a Realtor can help the relocating family determine how much home they can afford. Also, he or she can suggest ways to put together a sufficient down payment and can explain alternative financing methods. Also, as a market expert, a Realtor is familiar with current real estate values, taxes, utility costs, municipal services and facilities, and may be aware of local changes that could affect a family's decision about whether to and where to buy.
Through the MLS, a Realtor can research their housing needs in advance. Even before the relocating family has left their previous home, the Realtor in their future location can find out what's available in their price range and make suggestions about housing options that will fit their needs.
A Realtor has great value to bring to the relocation process. Whether hired through a relocation firm or referred through a relocation network, the Realtor can offer essential services at both ends of the transfer. Realtors take great pride in their professionalism and are eager to bring it to the relocation process.