Relocation buyers have a deadline. It may be immediate or it might be some way out. Relocation buyers may visit once, twice or several times before they actually buy a property. Many relocating buyers these days are not corporate driven. Corporate relocations have declined, at least as far as relocation assistance whether monetary or physically is concerned. I have always focused my relocation business on those with no corporate assistance provided, or no need for corporate assistance. That still amounts to a lot of relocating families who need the best in relocation help. I would estimate that it’s a lot less than 50% of relocation buyers that receive corporate help. Relocation assistance is expensive! Many companies have stopped offering buy-outs or monetary help.
- Moving to return to the home area
- Moving to be closer to extended family
- Relocation to an area with better employment opportunity
- Relocation for a job already accepted
- International job relocation
- Promotions within a national company with several bases
Chicagoland has a lot to offer and relocation buyers are plentiful, they all need to buy or rent a new home. I generally serve relocation buyers, if I am not swamped with those I may help those looking to rent.
The Relocation Home Buyer Decides on Location First
In two days I am meeting with my relocation buyers for an entire day of home shopping. We initially met back in mid February as a meet and greet, and to find out what their goals were. These buyers went home to CA to get approved for a mortgage. My suggestion was to do that first so they had an upper limit for the budget and to make sure they were then comfortable with the monthly payment. We had a timeframe for them to buy a home and for the family to move. These do not quite coincide due to school holidays, but the deadline to buy and close is short.
Over the last few weeks the buyers with my help have been fine tuning the locations to consider. This is always the first thing to do. No point in picking houses to look at in 20-30 different locations. Relocation buyers may not exactly target the final location but it should come down to no more than 3 or 4 locations and there has to be some logic involved.
Examples of why locations are picked by relocation buyers:
- Schools – Although a subjective part of moving, parents want “good” schools. That may mean different things to a buyer than to a Realtor. For that reason we cannot really answer the question about whether schools are good. It’s best for parents to review the school web sites for details of attendance and report cards. Just understand it factors into a location selection.
- Close or close enough proximity to a new job, or location of a new or relocating business. Traveling distance and ease of commuting play a big part. Buyers like being within 30 minutes of work but Chicago is often a location for a job, so within an hour is the target time. Here in Barrington we have a Metra station and we’re also about 40 minutes out of O’Hare.
- Type of real estate is considered. Does a relocation buyer want an open area like Barrington, or do they want smaller lots like Lake Zurich or Palatine, maybe they want acreage for horses, like we have in Barrington Hills or Woodstock. Perhaps on a is the location a relocation buyer wants.
- Style of homes is less important but does factor in. Ranch homes, Colonial, homes with space for a live in nanny. Fenced yards for dogs, a swimming pool or not, and so on.
- Community pricing may dictate whether a community is in or out!
Relocation buyers will take the information important to their family and narrow down the choice of places to consider living. Relocation buyers may already know exactly where they want to live.
Relocation Buyers Start Selecting Homes
Now the locations are identified, relocation buyers will start browsing homes in those communities. Barrington may have been the original target but nearby communities are now in the mix. As a relocation specialist, that’s fine by me. Many communities nearby have similar types of homes, similar pricing and school report cards show similar scoring. Based on price, bedrooms, personal tastes etc. relocation buyers start marking homes of interest. It’s important to understand that relocation buyers want two things:
- For homes that match their criteria to be sent via email from my MLS system.
- To be able to freely do their own home searching research.
While my MLS system can match exactly what a relocation buyer asks for, there’s always the chance something might spark an interest and the rules of what they want may shift! I understand this and am perfectly OK with it. My website has all the available homes for sale, unlike those big portal sites which only have about 70%. Buyers don’t even have to give up names and email addresses to access listings on my site. I simply trust my website is seen as a great resource for potential relocation clients and not for other Realtor’s clients.
Selecting the final homes to look at occurs when a trip is being planned. Some relocation buyers will visit several times and wait until they find the exact home they want. Others have very little time and will visit once only. They are more likely to spend an entire day looking or a weekend. By the end of it, relocation buyers have selected the house they are going to buy. Usually a back up property is selected.
Is Your Home On The Relocation Buyers List?
You won’t know! As a home seller you need to understand there are local buyers and relocation buyers. The first may have more flexibility in looking at your home.
Relocation buyers may and often do, have zero flexibility . Let me play that out for you.
- A list of 16 homes has been selected for a day of home viewing.
- Relocation buyers have every intention of buying a home on Saturday. They are paying for two plane tickets on short notice to come to our area.
- They have left their relocation specialist Realtor (me) in complete control of their home viewing day.
- Their relocation specialist Realtor (me), is also going to collect them from O’Hare airport and take them back in time for their departing flight.
- On Thursday their relocation specialist Realtor (me), works out a logical sequence of viewing homes in 4 communities. Air-port pick-up, drop off and flight times all need to be factored in to a home showing schedule. A certain amount of time is being allowed at each of 14 homes, plus driving time between each, and 30 minutes break for lunch.
- It’s a very busy day and takes considerable effort on my part to keep relocation buyers happy, home sellers happy, me happy, listing agents happy and making sure a return flight is not missed!
My schedule is logical and of 16 homes on the short list, I had to remove two based on poor location by busy streets or junctions, and lack of time, so we’re left with 14. (A good relocation agent knows their service area well and can make these decisions based on clients needs). One by one my requests are approved, until I get to your house. Showing declined, not convenient! Could we go another day or time? Actually no. My relocation schedule is not being thrown together, it’s being designed! You are the last house for a reason, you are closest to the airport. Having spent a day on this, I am not re-organizing it! My buyers are relocating and are leaving this part of the process with me. I am making the decisions for the schedule. So as of now, you have just closed the door on a buyer that has money, a mortgage approval, no house to sell, wants to buy a home.
Do You Even Know You Closed The Door on Relocation Buyers?
Because you don’t know about my buyers, you don’t know they are ready to buy relocation buyers, coming to town for one single day with one goal, to buy a house. Instead of having a 1 in 14 chance of getting a buyer your chance is now zero. You increased the odds for the other sellers! Their odds went up to 1 in 13.
I have told your listing agent we cannot re-organize an entire days schedule for you. I have told them why. But will you get to learn about it? I don’t know, not my problem. I can only do so much. As it turns out it’s not you but your listing agent that cannot make the time. For some reason your arrangement does not include a lock box for Realtors to access after making appointments. It requires your listing agent to attend. Maybe she’s out showing other buyers homes, maybe she’s at her kids soccer match.
I respect that decision you made, or she made. It’s your house, not mine, those decisions are yours. I do want you to understand though how relocation buyers work and how many of them are trying to buy a new home. You need to know how it can affect your showings. As I said, likely you’ll never know what you missed!
So before you decline a showing again, remember there are relocation buyers who cannot come back. Relocation buyers are in town to buy a home, today! Relocation buyers are a large part of the home buying public. They are generally pretty motivated to do what is needed in a shorter timeframe. Don’t close the door on relocation buyers!
Make Your Home Relocation Buyer Ready!
Closing the door on relocation buyers might be as simple as not having a lock box on your door, so consider that. Homes need to be relocation ready in other ways.
- Are you ready to move? Have you though about what you’ll do if a buyer is cash and wants a very quick close? Moving out on 7 days notice for example is hard for most of us.
- Is your house appraisal ready? Hopefully you don’t have any unfinished upgrade projects. You may fail appraisal for some of them.
- Are you presented in perfect condition? Relocation buyers with one day are comparing your home to others and they are usually similar. Make sure your’s shines.
If you are ready to relocate to the Northwest Chicago Suburbs, especially the Barrington area, give us a call. Corinne is a local relocation expert by experience, both personal as well as helping others. You can reach Corinne at 847-363-3686.