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January 21st, 2019 at 11:00 am

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What can our Relocation Department do for you?

Quite a lot, whether you are:

“First and foremost, our relocation team helps pave the way for a smooth transition for all parties involved in the real estate process,” said David Foggiano, our Vice President, Relocation. 

Because relocation can affect so many clients and their families, we spoke to David about how the department functions, and what to expect if they ever need its services.

Making big moves

“Let’s say a company is going to hire another 500 employees at a new site,” said David who, like the members of his team, is a Certified Relocation Specialist. “That company will hire a relocation management company, such as our own HomeServices Relocation. That company then tasks us with all of their employees’ real estate relocation services such as listing the home, selling the home, rental tours, and area tours. Traditionally, that’s how this whole umbrella works. A company has a need for employees to transfer, the relocation management company contacts us, and we work with them to ensure their housing needs are properly met.”

'First and foremost, our relocation team helps pave the way for a smooth transition for all parties involved in the real estate process.' Click To Tweet

A top priority here

Relocation services are a top priority at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. Mary Lee Blaylock, our President & CEO, became Vice President of Edina Realty Relocation in Minnesota in 1999. Five years later, she was named President of HomeServices Relocation. Under her leadership, the organization grew from a startup company to a global relocation provider with operation centers in Winston-Salem, N.C.; Philadelphia; and the Minneapolis headquarters.

“It takes specialized experience and training to become an employee relocation professional”, said David, who was a real estate agent for 13 years before assuming his current position in September 2018. Agents must close 10 to 12 transactions a year on their own to get started in relocation, he said.

“We must have seasoned, well-trained agents involved. The high scrutiny placed on transferring employees (transferees) is taken very seriously by their employer and by the relocation company as well. The first six years of my career, I was building my business, and then finally was able to get into the Relocation Department and work with these transferees.”

To become Certified Relocation Specialists, David and his team attended a series of webinars and passed certification tests from consultants Brookfield Global Relocation Services (BGRS) as well as the Employee Relocation Council (ERC), a governing body that sets the rules and regulations that Specialists must follow.

What else do relocation management companies do?

“There are about 100 relocation-management companies across the United States,” David said. “Their job is to provide relocation services far beyond just the real estate side: household goods, settling-in services, plus moving, storing, and shipping transferees’ belongings. In addition, there may be a need to assist them to get their driver’s license or Social Security cards–whatever the case may be.

“Our piece of the process is helping the employee with the home finding, area knowledge, home purchase, and/or rentals. We also will help them sell their home if it’s in Southern California. So if they’re moving out of state, that’s what usually happens.”

How relocation services benefit each party

We asked David to elaborate a bit on how the relocation process works, and how it benefits each participant.

For the transferee:

Per their employer, the relocating employee gets in touch with the relocation management company, who refers them to a real estate firm like us, David said. The employee then calls either David or one of his counselors.

“We work with the transferee, figure out what their housing needs are, then assign them to the right agent. Once the agent is assigned, that agent schedules an appointment to show properties, whether it’s rentals or purchase. If it’s a listing, we do a full market analysis for the transferee and provide all the information to them prior to getting a listing signed. Once we are awarded the listing, we execute a specialized marketing plan designed specifically for that property.”

For the transferring company:

“Transferring companies are the majority of our business. The No. 1 reason is that we can handle every facet of their real estate needs because we have Certified Relocation Specialists who are trained, go through a stringent vetting process, and are experienced to handle all of these types of needs.

“We cover a large geographical area in Southern California and have hundreds of agents under our umbrella. Our team includes three relocation counselors who handle San Diego, one handles Orange County, and two handle Los Angeles County. We also have an outgoing-referral specialist, who performs a lot of the work on behalf of our agents.

“The bottom line is, we handle all of the real estate needs and that’s what the transferring companies need to know. Between me, my counselors, and all of our agents, there’s not one thing on the real estate side of their relocation that we can’t handle. We cover all of Southern California up through the Central Coast, as well as Fresno and Riverside County, including the desert communities.”

For our real estate agents:

“Our agents should know we have a dedicated counselor for outgoing referrals. So for any agent who has a client that’s going somewhere else, whether it’s in San Diego, Southern California, or across the country, we have that resource for them. Our digital outgoing referral form sends the data directly to the dedicated counselor, who starts working the referral on the agent’s behalf.”

“The benefit to the agent is that they get their full compensation with very little extra work. That’s what our counselors are here for, to take the whole responsibility of tracking and following up on the referral.”

What kind of metrics can the Relocation Department provide?

“As of the end of 2018, we received around 2,000 referrals and we’ve closed somewhere around 800 of those referrals, with many more closing in 2019. If the transferee is renting, we check periodically for the longevity of their lease to ensure that if they are going to buy, they still come to us. A lot of times their rental benefits are a year long, so they try to move out of their rental to retain their benefits.

“Relocation is almost impervious to the market. We have diversified ourselves so we are not market-focused. In an up market, things are good, and we get referrals based off of that. And when the market’s more challenging, we tend to have more listings, more inventory, and companies are still coming and going whether the market’s up or down.”

Interested in learning more about relocation? Contact David Foggiano at dfoggiano@bhhscal.com.

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