Original Article Published in the Houston Chronicle: Relocation Spotlight
Agents who specialize in relocation often do much more for their clients than provide real estate services. Just ask Renée Eads, vice president of relocation for Greenwood King Properties.
During a recent interview, she said that because of the unique nature of relocation, that agents are selling much more than houses; they are selling Houston.
Eads added that agents who regularly assist relocation clients, understand the importance of being advocates for those clients, while also being true ambassadors for Houston.
Following are excerpts from our conversation:
MS: What does the role of ambassador usually entail for your agents?
RE: The agents take relocation clients around and show them the culture of our city, and what is available for them to see and do in different areas, so that they can get a feel for what Houston is about. They might be working with a transferee, or maybe even a candidate who might be moving here. So, they show them the city as well as a sampling of homes.
MS: Do your agents take a different approach when working with someone who is looking at Houston in terms of a possible move versus a definite move?
RE: Usually, when we are assisting somebody who might be accepting a transfer, it will have a lot to do with the spouse and finding an area that is mutually acceptable. So, we have to really show them what’s available based on commute times. That can be a little easier if they will be working in the Energy Corridor or downtown, but more of a challenge in the medical field, because they might be working in any of the satellite offices. But again, we act as ambassadors for Houston and advocates for each area, and we always put the client’s needs and wants at the forefront of everything that we do.
MS: How many homes do your agents typically show to someone who is a candidate?
RE: They show them one or two homes that fit their needs in a particular area, so that they can get an idea of what the value is for their money. For example, if the client will be working in the Medical Center, the agent might show them urban living options, as well as Pearland.
MS: How do help the client feel comfortable about working with you and your agents?
RE: I let the transferee know that my department works hand-in-hand with the agent, so that if anything comes up, we are here to help them and that we are all working together as a team.
When people are moving here, it doesn’t matter where they’re coming from, or whether it’s a corporate move, or a personal choice. Moving is a challenge and it’s stressful, whether they have done it five times or whether it’s their first time, and we are here to help.
MS: How do you and your agents try to alleviate a little of that stress?
RE: Communication is key, and understanding the client’s communication style is something that we ask about at the onset. So, it’s about listening and hearing what is being requested, because we sometimes have to listen between the lines. It’s important to understand the client’s lifestyle and to do a proper needs assessment upfront, and to share that information with the agent. The agent then builds on that information, which might change a little bit, or even completely, once the client gets here.
MS: What do you love about Houston that you like to share with people who are considering a move here?
RE: I love the diversification and the culture. We are truly a loving, caring community, and no matter what happens, good, bad or otherwise, we all are in it together. We play hard, we work hard, but when someone is in need, we also pull together hard.
MS: What encouraging advice can you offer to someone who might be a little nervous or reluctant about moving to Houston?
RE: I was a relocation child, and we moved every four years. I’ve been in Houston for about 24 years. I love Texas, and I have grown to love Houston over the years. At first, I was a little nervous too, because Houston was so large and intimidating. With all of the freeways, I thought it would be hard to maneuver and learn my way around. So, I worked temporary jobs when I first moved here, which forced me to learn the area, and things just evolved from there.
That’s why being an ambassador for the city is so important. We are opening the doors for our relocation clients, making them feel more comfortable, and showing them everything that Houston has to offer.
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