Relocating Buyers – Your Buyer Agent Could Be a Liability

Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty of California CA DRE #01490977

Relocating Buyers – Your Buyer Agent Could Be a Liability


As a relocating buyer you have a lot to think about and accomplish, especially if you are already a homeowner and are also selling your home. Finding a home in your new location can be a huge challenge.


Relocation is not for DummiesWorking with the right buyer agent to help find a home is essential, and when moving to a brand new area, this may be the biggest help in your home search.


But consider this – your agent COULD be a liability and not provide the help you really need.


One often thinks of liability as referring to a monetary responsibility. And if your agent IS a liability then it WILL cost you money…in terms of lost time, perhaps making the wrong choices, and other issues.


Here are some ways your buyer agent in your new location COULD be a liability:


Limited Knowledge About The Areas You Are Interested In

You don’t know these areas well, so you need someone who does. Does YOUR agent have the knowledge YOU need about communities and neighborhoods, or can help you find it?


Limited Or No Experience With Relocation

I realize some agents don’t feel this is a problem. Perhaps not. My belief is that having some knowledge of relocation, even if only from working with folks who have moved a significant distance, is a plus. Even better if you have relocated yourself so you really KNOW what it is like and have experienced the emotional and physical challenges one encounters.


Relocation A to Z blogLimited Use, or Understanding, of Technology

You are working with your agent from a distance, perhaps thousands of miles and in possibly different time zones. Being savvy about technology is critical – searching for homes, communication, coordinating the transaction and more.


Smartphones, voice mail, text messaging, scanning, electronic signatures are just some of the technology you should expect. The goal is to have an agent who helps make YOUR life and YOUR transaction easier and hassle-free.


RelocationPoor, Limited or Slow Communication

When you are relocating, timing can be critical. Working from a distance in different time zones complicates the process. You may have only a few weeks to accomplish a major task. Communication with your agent is essential, in any transaction, but I would argue it is even more important when dealing with a relocation.


Communication must be prompt, clear, and in a manner that gets to you when needed, whether by email, cell, texting, Facetime, Skype or a combination of these. Waiting hours to get critical information can derail a transaction and hold up other important decisions.


*     *     *     *     *


Need help with your relocation? Check out my Relocation A to Z blog by Jeff Dowler for lots of helpful tips, based on my own personal experiences with multiple relocations.


Or give me a call at (760) 840-1360 or email me with any specific questions.


And don’t forget to ask for my Relocation Checklist and a list of Questions to Ask Your Movers.



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  1. Dan and Amy Schuman 11/03/2013 11:49 PM
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Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

95% of of our small rural town marketing is list it, sell it, one broker. Buyers are smarter than many credit them. Inventory is king, queen, jack to start the real estate hokey pokey.

Nov 03, 2013 12:54 AM #17
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Not all relocating buyers have a choice of agent and that could be part of their problem in getting the home they want.  Take what the relo company assigns you so you can get your relo benefits.  Sometimes with the right independent lender and agent they can get a better deal on their own.

Nov 03, 2013 01:19 AM #18
Gloria Commiso
Keller Williams - Hermosa Beach, CA
Hermosa Beach
Thanks for this post and I. Going to check out your relocation A to Z blog
Nov 03, 2013 01:26 AM #19
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate

No agent likes to give up any part of their commission. That being said, if you take the relocation business, you still have to perform at your best, even with the discount.

Nov 03, 2013 01:31 AM #20
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

I do lots of relocation work so I loved this post of yours! Loved the relocation isn't for dummies picture, as well. Your link to relocation A to Z blog goes no where. Did you know that?

Nov 03, 2013 02:01 AM #21
Jimmy Faulkner
Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage - Wantagh, NY
The Best Of St. Augustine
Jeff: Very good points that you point out. Timely communication is on the top of my list and than do you really know the area realtor. Good computer skill and the like all follos
Nov 03, 2013 03:50 AM #22
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Jeff - The right agent makes a difference in a transaction and more so with reloction.
Nov 03, 2013 01:27 PM #23
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Joan - well I certainly agree. THe Google glasses will definitely be interesting.

William - I feel like I could write a book. Hmmm...

Gita - agreed. Some buyers working with relocation companies do no always have that choice

Lenn - I have only worked with a relocation company a couple of times. Most of my relocation business is direct. And no I don't want to pay that fee either.


Nov 03, 2013 02:34 PM #24
Tim Lorenz
TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team - Mission Viejo, CA
949 874-2247

Yes handling the relocation buyer takes all of the above.  Have a great week.

Nov 03, 2013 11:53 PM #25
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Susan - agreed. But in many cases the buyers get some financial assitance as a result of working with the relo company per their employer. But the fees are ridiculous

Sally and David - whether it's via a relocation company or just poor selection on the part of the buyer, a relocation requires the right agent iin my opinion - someone who truly knows what relo IS all about and will do what is needed to provide the right assistance and service

Fernando - I doubt it. Nor do they care since the buyer may have no choice

Bill - been there done that too. Yep, it can be a challenge. And I have been on that side of the fence too, a number of times. I know what I want and expect so it helps to deliver that

Michael - thank you.


Nov 04, 2013 01:22 PM #26
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Janis - I have experienced that a couple of time. Thankfully I have a great referral network. But most who are moving here have a pretty good idea of where they want to be or we quickly find out that the budget preculdes certain towns or neighborhoods.

Michelle - indeed. She's a sharp cookie

Andrew - I recently worked with a fellow relocating from Germany. Lots of additional challenges there because of the distance, time zones, etc. It all worked out well but I think it does take  more skill and experience

Sylvia - and that's true even if it is a local buyer

Marc - both good questions

Richie - that is so true, but not just in our business

Andrew - ah, real estate IS local

Cindy - it can be a big challenge for buyers who have to work with the relo company agent if that person does not really know what they are doing, or is not good with relocation services. Not everyone on the approved list may be what the buyer really needs. And buyers may not realize they may have some choices available to them. Depends on the company and how the relcoation package and services are set up with the buyer's employer.


Nov 04, 2013 02:19 PM #27
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

Relocation can be quite complicated and having an agent with experience, ideally direct experience, is key to making the move successful.  Someone just getting into it is unlikely to be prepared for what needs to be done.

Nov 05, 2013 07:08 AM #28
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Gloria - thanks. I don't put much new on the Relocation blog since it links from my site and I write alot here on relocation. But there are several years of articles there

Richard - it's pretty rare for me to work with relocation companies - most of my relocation clients are working on their own. Either way, you still have to know what you are doing so you can help effectively.

Thanks Nina. And thanks for letting me know about the link, I did not check it for some reason. It is now fixed, thanks to you

Jimmy - I agree. Communication is so important anyhow, but even more so with relocations. And knowing the area is key, since many who are relocating are not very familiar


Nov 05, 2013 02:17 PM #29
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Jeff, great information and definitely something that the wary consumer should read BEFORE becoming wary!  I've seen and heard too many horror stories of experiences with ill-informed, inexperienced agents who always seem to be the only ones willing to take the relo clients.  Here the company charges 40% that refers the client and then the brokerages put a very short cap on what the agents can make from the remainder.  It's next to nothing for them and there are very few here who have the know-how that will even take them.  In MHO, it may be best just to dump the relo company and have an experienced agent with the negotiating skills to save you far more than you would have gotten from the relocation company!  ;-)

Nov 06, 2013 01:05 PM #30
Patricia Kennedy
Redfin - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Jeff, when I worked for a big company with a big relocation department, the referral fees were so high that agents who were pretty new and inexperienced - or really in a slump - were the only ones who would take them. 

Nov 07, 2013 11:26 AM #31
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Dear Jeff -

Enjoyed your post and then read all the comments! The comments become posts of their own!

Have a happy day -

Nov 09, 2013 12:59 AM #32
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Jeff, it is not just the relocating buyer that needs to protect themselves with the agent, Any buyer needs to be confident that the agent is working to help them and not themselves

Nov 09, 2013 10:38 PM #33
Patricia Kennedy
Redfin - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Hi,  Jeff!  Just wanted you to know that I included this post in today’s Last Week’s Favorites.  Check it out, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!    

Nov 09, 2013 11:50 PM #34
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Jeff -- You raise a lot of great points about working with an agent who has experience with relocation.  I relocated from CA to NH and have helped many folks relocate to NH.  It does take some special skills and it is important to work with an agent like yourself if someone is relocating to Carlsbad, CA.

Nov 10, 2013 04:25 AM #35
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Someone else already made the comment...relo companies sometimes make many of the decisions for them by restricting the agents they may use.

Nov 10, 2013 08:57 PM #36
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Jeff Dowler, CRS

The Southern California Relocation Dude
What's my Carlsbad CA Area Home Worth??
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