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Old 11-26-2012, 07:43 PM
 
1,341 posts, read 4,659,228 times
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Hi gang, long time lurker on this forum. I would like to solicit some opinions on becoming a relocation agent...but specifically when someone has arrived in the new place of residence. I am not interested in coordinated the actual move, expenses, or logistics planning selling (if its the case) their existing home. But rather integrating the new family/individual in their new home, basically becoming their "welcome wagon", schools, area, where to go, how to do things, and yes, if need be, I would like take them around and see homes. I would ideally like to drill this level of service to the foreigners incoming to this country, who really need the support.

I do understand that there are many relo companies out there who handle the business side of things, hook you up with a realtor.

But would you say in these economic times there is a market for a more personalized level of service? Technically I wouldnt be a relo consultant, but I guess I could fall into a relo consultant?

My background is in real estate and finance (15+ years). Mostly in banking..started out as a teller at bank of america, college degreed, worked my way up the ladder. But I have a passion for following trends in real estate, market research and I have been told I "should have gone in the business years ago right before the boom"..because I have the people and listening skills. However, I never took the plunge because we were starting a family, and I wouldnt be able to do the open houses, and there was just that risk of leaving a high paying corp job, to running my own business. So fast forward now where my youngest has just entered primary school, we are in a better risk position financially so I can "go for it".

But now the timing is iffy in this market, and I am not sure based on what I want to do, I would fall in the traditional lines of a realtor.

I have made up my mind that if I am going to do it, I would like to open up my own business. One option that I am not sure if its possible, is to set my self up as a relocation consulant, get my RE license, and

1. Have the Agent pay a referral fee in line with current standard
2. Work with the clients, find them a place and collect the commision myself
3. Work for a place like cartus, which I dont want to do becuase I am back to someone elses "terms"
4. Work for a traditional agency and learn the ropes of being an agent (but that would reshift the focus of being a relo consultant and would put me in the position of being an agent..which isnt bad in anyway)

I would really like to set myself apart in a niche business to the new people and corporations who are expating people into this country, build up the relationship and if leads to a real estate sale that is even better. It could be everything from showing them around on the looksie visit, showing them houses, visiting schools, organizing any language services....basically, I want to be there support person during that integration period when they get here.

Now the financials:

I was thinking of charging a flat fee for my consulting services.

1. What would the going rate in a large city market like dallas,new york, chicago be for an independant agent.

2. Would an agent pay me a referral fee as a percentage or a flat fee? Or would it be the 3%

3. If I take the 3% as a buyers agent, how much paperwork is involved on the buyers side aside from pre qual, mortgage approval, etc etc...is most of the paperwork processing done on the sellers side?

4. Is a one month rental fee still paid on apartment rentals?

Am I crazy to go out on my own or should I work for someone? Thanks..just thinking out loud here...


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Old 11-26-2012, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Columbia, SC
10,272 posts, read 20,057,556 times
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Agents won't pay you a referral to do work they can do themselves, you can scrap that idea. In addition I use that time to get to know the client and build repertoire so I'd rather do it myself. You won't get relocation business as a niche as a new agent so you can scrap that idea. People aren't going to pay a relo consultant to help them move, they'll get that service from their agent and the internet so you can scrap that idea. If you want me to go into detail on why I will, if that info suffices then cool.

I guess that leaves you at either working as an employee for Cartus or becoming an agent. If you decide to become an agent I suggest at least starting with a traditional company for the training.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:03 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
15,029 posts, read 37,048,263 times
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So how are you going to be different than Cartus, Move Guides, Sterling, Crown, et al? Why should people hire a one person show rather than go with a company with international branding?
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:11 AM
 
1,341 posts, read 4,659,228 times
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All very good points, that I will consider. I wasnt sure which avenue would be better, a traditional agent or working with a relo company, or venturing out on my own. I think based on what I read and have spoken to individuals, is that what I am looking to do is to help people transition their move.

Thank you for letting me know that agents would prefer to do it themselves... !

I think what I bring to the table is an international experience, since I have moved quite a bit, I have lived as an expat abroad for years and I know firsthand what it feels like to be in a foreign country. I have my own " I really wished that my relo company did this list". I have interviewed other expats and foreigners and they have concurred with me on some things, which led me to believe the big companies are pretty vanilla at what they do.

I might end up working for one to get my feet wet, but I would rather sell my services to newly landed transplants as I can relate to them 100%. I am currently abroad now and I can start building my book of connections with companies who will send people back to the states.

I was hoping to hook up and build a repoire with only a handful or realtors in the big market areas and solicit there feedback and see if they would consider working with smaller firm.

I just wanted to know if I should throw the real estate piece in the mix and get licensed for legal reasons.

Thanks so much...you guys have been quite helpful. Lots to think of and consider.

Last edited by mom2gurls; 11-27-2012 at 01:27 AM..
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:52 AM
 
Location: Louisville KY Metro area
4,825 posts, read 13,584,333 times
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Mom, it appears to me that everything you feel qualified or believe would be marketable would require a real estate license. Most states require 1 to 2 or more years of affiliation with a "managing/principal broker" prior to being solo.

You are in a perfect time to get your license. You may never activate it, but most states acknowledge that once you have had your pre-license training, you'll have it for life.

I recommend live training rather than internet because of two factors. One is the networking. I have friends for life (I hope anyway) from my classes. The other reason is the opportunity to keep asking questions until you fully understand the concept.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Columbia, SC
10,272 posts, read 20,057,556 times
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I've been to the dentist lots of times, but I'm not qualified to work on other people's teeth. If you want to work with helping people move you need to learn the other side. There aren't short cuts. You would need to get your license and go work for a company to learn the business. Based on your experience I believe you to be fully capable of learning, just recognize business won't fall into your lap. You're going to need to get out and work at it. If you don't you won't actually be helping people but would probably end up doing more of a disservice.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:33 AM
 
Location: Salem, OR
15,029 posts, read 37,048,263 times
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If I were going to do this, I would get my real estate license and go work for one of the relo companies. You'd want to be a one stop shop. A real estate agent with concierge services, if you will. I think there is a designation for international real estate agents, right guys?

I'm just thinking that if I were moving overseas I wouldn't want to be dealing with a real estate agent, relo person, and my new company all at the same time. You can have too many people involved which isn't helpful either.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:13 PM
 
Location: Baltimore
1,759 posts, read 4,821,068 times
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I don't really see a compelling way to make a living doing this without a license. Relo business isn't that great and other than steering them away or toward neighborhoods, which is illegal under HUD guidelines, most of the information can be gathered via google.

Good on you though if you can make it work. I just don't really see the point.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:40 AM
 
11,115 posts, read 17,648,188 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davecj View Post
I don't really see a compelling way to make a living doing this without a license. Relo business isn't that great and other than steering them away or toward neighborhoods, which is illegal under HUD guidelines, most of the information can be gathered via google.

Good on you though if you can make it work. I just don't really see the point.

That's right Dave. Companies are not relocating employees to the extent they did in years past. Company paid relos are expensive and cutbacks have been made except at the highest levels of executives. I worked especially with relos for several years and truly enjoyed that aspect of the business. Many times they would send the employee out for two, maybe three, interviews at the new location ( same company, different state). They assign him/her at least a few weeks ahead of time to a Realtor for an initial introduction to the area for may one day. If he/she accepts the position, then the heavy lifting begins; and the person or couple has a limited amount of time to find housing. The Realtor concentrates on working with that buyer from start to finish. And you don't get repeat relo business unless that executive and the family is very happy both with you, and what you have available to present. The company also is interested in knowing from you how the person or couple like the area, and you have to keep the HR Dept. or Relo Dept. posted as to progress. I've had it happen where the employee cannot find suitable housing (if they are coming from a low cost of living area to a high cost of living area), have had some wives throw a hissy fit and couples arguing openly in the car.

The buyers (normally) just don't have the time for a preview of the area without their Realtor by the time they both come house hunting. They also have been provided with information from other executives of the company who may have already given them a tour of "where to live", they attend dinners, cocktail hours etc. while they are on the interview path. Sometimes they are allowed a week to "look", go home and think about it, and come back a few weeks later for a fast track few days to actually get into a contract.

Buyers who don't have company assistance are totally on their own most of the time unless they are again, they might be in executive positions and get "slight" incentives from the new company, but often are not. Those are "potential" buyers, they don't have the job yet, they may be interviewing in several states as well. In other words, they only want "the tour" at your expense.

With good advice and some planning, you could find a niche for your services. But most important is the license; companies are not going to put their employees in your hands without the legalities being covered. You can drive by properties all day long, but you cannot give real estate advice.

I can see your idea maybe working with retirees who want to change locations and have plenty of time; but I don't see that as being lucrative either. People would rather "use" a real estate agent's time and expertise about an area, and then you get a "gee, thanks for your time", "we'll call if we decide on this area".

Interesting idea you have though, let us know what you decide.
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Columbia, SC
10,272 posts, read 20,057,556 times
Reputation: 9119
Quote:
Originally Posted by davecj View Post
I don't really see a compelling way to make a living doing this without a license. Relo business isn't that great ...
Also, not sure if you're aware but most relo companies charge 25-40% relocation fee off the top of the commission so you also make less money than a traditional transaction. Just worth noting if you're banking on the commission for a living.
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