Relocation clients and out-of-town buyers can be a lucrative niche for real estate agents who specialize in them.
For one, these buyers need extra handholding and guidance – and they’re usually willing to pay extra for it. On top of this, they can also be a good source of future referrals, especially if they have friends, family, or colleagues following in their footsteps.
Are you looking to pull in more relocation commission? Just want to better serve the out-of-town buyers you already have? Here are some ways you can do it:
Communicate — and be flexible about how you do it.
With out-of-town clients, you’ll rarely — if ever — meet them in person. This makes good communication of the utmost importance. Be prepared to communicate with your clients using whatever methods they feel most comfortable, be it by phone, email, text, or even video application. You should also be cognizant of any time zone differences. It might be 8 a.m. in your office, but if it’s 5 a.m. where they’re located? It might not be the best time for a phone call. Use this handy time zone converter when in doubt.
Go above and beyond the call of duty.
Usually, you’d just need to help a client with the home search, making an offer, and then wrapping up the closing process. But with out-of-towners? You’ll probably need to do a bit more. Since they’re not on the ground and in the area, they’ll need help with everything from home inspections and utility set-ups to buying furniture and coordinating movers. Be willing to go above and beyond if you really want to make these clients happy.
Have a list of local vendors at the ready.
Always keep in mind that your clients are newbies in the area, and they need help in just about every step of their move. To save them time on research (not to mention doing business with the wrong people), pull together a local vendor list that can help ease the process. Be sure to include movers, mortgage companies, utility providers, furniture stores, and more. If you can work out discounts with these providers, that’s even better.
Pull together educational resources.
Put together a folder of resources to help clients learn more about where they’re moving. Stop by city hall, the visitors center, and the historical society, and grab any brochures you can find. You can also include city calendars, maps, local magazines, and even coupon books. If the client has children, consider adding in kid-friendly details like parks, playgrounds, school ratings, and more.
Be prepared to fly solo for much of the search.
You’ll likely be doing a lot of the home search solo with out-of-towners on your hands. To do this, make sure you have detailed knowledge of what the buyers are looking for and come prepared with the right tools. At the very least, you’ll want a camera to take photos and a notepad to jot down notes. If the buyer is game for it, you might even consider FaceTiming or Skyping during your tours. This can allow the client to “see” the home, without actually being there in person.
Use tech to your advantage.
Skyping a home tour is just one good way to use tech to your out-of-town clients’ advantage. You can also utilize e-signing tools to make the paperwork part easier, and e-notary services can be a great option if they’re unable to attend closing. You might also consider setting up a shared Google Drive or Dropbox folder to share notes, photos, and other items with each other from your phones.
Get to know your clients.
You’re going to be doing a lot of heavy lifting on your clients’ behalf, so take the time to really get to know them — their likes, dislikes, preferences, and budgetary limitations. The better you understand where they’re coming from, the better surrogate you’ll be throughout the process. You might consider putting together a questionnaire at the outset of the relationship to help facilitate this.
Stay tuned in to community happenings.
You need to be a go-to resource for info on your community — both for your own sake and for your client. Where are new developments cropping up? What schools are top performers? Where are the best restaurants, museums, neighborhoods, and parks? Make it a point to attend plenty of events (networking and otherwise) in the area, and subscribe to city newsletters and publications to stay up to date.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking to attract more out-of-town clients or just better serve the ones you have, you’ll need a hands-on, thorough approach, some well-prepared resources and vendor lists, and the right technology to help you do it.
Do you need a mortgage lender you can trust with those relocation clients once they come around? Then reach out to Embrace Home Loans today. We’re here to help.