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Buyers relocating? How to guide them in a cross-country move

In a highly competitive market such as real estate, every agent needs that competitive edge. Here's how to make helping relocating buyers yours.

Right now, there are more real estate agents in the U.S. than there are homes available for sale, which means competition among real estate agents is fierce. And it will only heat up further in the coming months as home prices continue to rise.

Being competent and doing an excellent job is no longer a guarantee of a lasting career. Buyers and sellers expect more from their agents than ever before. But standing out from your competition is all about leaning into your personal strengths.

Real estate professionals are natural problem-solvers, and one of the biggest problems your clients face is making a cross-country move. The number of decisions homebuyers need to make before, during, and after a move can be overwhelming. Hence, it’s essential to consider how you can relieve at least some of the burden.

Let’s explore the top ways agents can help their clients make better decisions about their cross-country move.

1. Help with budgeting

Your homebuyers will probably be very excited about purchasing their new home, but next comes all the hard work. Arranging to move from one home to another is enough of a headache when it’s a local move, but there’s a whole new dimension if your clients come from a different state.

You can start helping by discussing with them the budgeting for their upcoming interstate move. According to Verified Movers, a platform and app that offers reviews of long-distance moving companies, the average cost of a cross-country move is $3,000. Movers calculate costs based on the number of rooms, floors, and the inventory they will be moving.

2. Keep an updated list of 4-5 moving companies you trust to share with clients

Choosing the right moving company to suit your homebuyers’ needs is another challenge to take into account here. Eugene Tolk, CEO at Verified Movers, recommends that homeowners get four or five quotes and choose among them. On Verified Movers’ app, agents and homebuyers can check out reviews from actual customers, which is an excellent tool, especially for newer agents who might not have as much experience with movers.

The app allows you to do background checks and vet these moving companies so that your clients know they are your trusted partners. Your clients will have peace of mind and remember you go above and beyond when you send them a pre-sorted, pre-verified list.

3. Create a templated plan

Every move essentially requires the same steps. “Break down the timeline, and create a template or a handy checklist for your clients,” Tolk suggested.

Here’s a sample:

8 weeks out

  • Book your cross-country movers, and start decluttering.

6 weeks out

  • Go through each room, and throw away or donate all unwanted items.

  • Make a home inventory list.

  • Contact utilities, bank, doctor, loved ones, etc., to provide your new address.

4 weeks out

  • Start packing.

2 weeks out

  • Make your personal travel arrangements.

  • Get set up in your new location (find a new doctor, dentist, vet).

  • Deal with all the smaller tasks, so the week of the move is as pleasant as possible.

4. Remind clients that packing takes more time than everyone estimates

The most significant factor in making sure all of your belongings make it across the country without incident is how things are packed. But if they don’t start early, “crunch time” comes quickly. If affordable, hiring packing professionals is always a good idea.

“If professionals are going to come to help you pack and move, don’t stand in their way,” Tolk said. “This is what they do every day, and they know how to handle it, so let them take care of it their way. Keep in mind that refreshments are always welcome.”

5. Offer to have a cleaning company come into the new home to get it ready for the move

It’s lovely to move into a clean new home, but having to clean it yourself after a long drive across the country is the furthest thing from fantastic. So, if you have a cleaning service that can do a deep cleaning before your clients move across the country, they will be very appreciative.

Plus, everyone knows it’s easier to clean an empty home than one filled with boxes and furniture.

6. Remind clients of the little things

“It’s easy to forget to do everything involved with a successful move, and little things often slip through the cracks,” Tolk said. Because of this, a templated plan or checklist can save a few headaches. But also, agents can help keep their clients on track by reminding them of all the little things ahead of the big interstate move.

Tolk also recommended homebuyers add these little things to their list:

  • Quit buying food five days ahead of the move.

  • Pack liquids separately.

  • If you’re taking the fridge, make sure to defrost it at least two days in advance.

  • If you have kids (and pets), hire a sitter for moving day.

  • Cancel regular home deliveries (meal kit services, subscription services, utilities, mail delivery, etc.).

  • Hire cleaners to do the final cleaning (especially if leaving a rental).

  • Make sure you’ve secured parking for the movers.

7. Meet the movers and homeowners at their new home on the day of the move

Even as a busy real estate agent prepping listings for sale and putting new homebuyers in their dream homes, if you can spare some time to meet the movers and homeowners at their new home, it will make quite an impression.

“Clients may have questions that you can answer, and it’s nice to see a friendly face on an otherwise stressful day,” Tolk said. Meeting with your clients on a moving day shows them you care deeply and that you’re not simply fishing for referrals.

In a highly competitive market, every agent needs that competitive edge to put them ahead of others. Supporting your clients in their cross-country move is one of the more pleasing ways to stand out from the crowd and get your clients off to a fresh start.

By Victoria Kennedy

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