Thursday, May 20, 2010

RELOCATION SERVICES--What a Broker and a Realtor need to know

Pocono Mountains - Several years ago the relocation business in the Poconos did not warrant a full-time department let alone an actual Relocation director with a support staff. Our relocation business consisted only of those referring Brokers that we may have met in our real estate career that had a buyer or seller that they wanted to send to us. At the end of the day, it didn't add up to a large percentage of our business. But all of that has changed.

About four years ago, we started a full-time Relocation Department catering to corporate moves into the Pocono region. We were astounded at the number of transactions that we generated in just one year. We found that people who were being transferred into New Jersey (to work) preferred to live in the Pocono Mountains because of the affordability and with the expansion of Sanofi Pasteur, Mount Airy Resort & Casino, Tobyhanna Army Depot, Piccatinny Arsenal and Nestle, just to mention a few, we found out there was quite a lot of corporate grade business to be had.

We became members of ERC (Employee Relocation Council) to enhance our business and when we became a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate broker, we immediately took advantage of CARTUS® Broker Network which is the arm of Realogy that handles relocation business. Although it's very expensive to be a part of the Cartus network, it pays off in the end. We're the only Broker CARTUS® uses in the Pocono Mts.

There are really three types of referral business, (1) Affinity referrals, those referrals that come from various civic, professional and other organizations whose members utilize the services of a relocation company for the savings; (2) Corporate referrals--(with the change in the economy are not that much as it stands right now) which consist of corporations that offer relocation packages to their employees for accepting a position in either the originating or destination cities and (3) Broker to Broker referrals which through a third party company can represent a good amount of business that's kept within the elite brokers that are members of those organizations. The typical fee that's charged is 25% - 35% with the average being 30%.

We actually developed a rebate program where our sellers, if they use our services to relocate, are able to earn rebates on the commission that they paid of us to sell their originating home. It was a raving success with those people that were relocating out of the area and then buying a home. It also worked very well for those people that were upgrading their homes; they were able to save some commission dollars at the same time. The rebate part of the relocation business is exclusive to Wilkins & Associates.

What started four years ago now represents 20% of our overall business and we're averaging between 12 and 18 referrals (both outgoing and incoming) on a monthly basis. We've developed an "A Team" which consists of six Brokers that are trained in relocation business as well as stand-by teams which handle the Broker to Broker referrals or the ERC directory referrals.

Relocations services--you just can't say no to that type business in today's market.

Thomas R. Wilkins is CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Wilkins & Associates. He started the company in 1988 with three people in Mount Pocono and grew it to over 14 offices throughout their tenure. Now, after consolidations the company has 2 primary offices. Their Corporate address is 304 Park Avenue, Stroudsburg. Toni Jones is the Relocation Department manager and supervising her position is Jessica Miller, Director of Support Services.

Learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Wilkins & Associates at

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