More than 32 million people moved in 2018, mostly in Florida and other southern states. Individuals may choose to move for a better home, new job opportunities or family needs, but in most cases, real estate agents are their trusted guide.
Occasionally, you may work with a client who is moving from another state. Helping out-of-state clients is a chance for real estate agents to showcase their local community and establish new connections. However, it also comes with challenges they may not encounter when working with local clients.
Here are some ways you can become a valuable resource for clients moving from another state.
Be mindful of their timeline. The average time to close on a home is 47 days, but individuals moving from another state are typically on a strict deadline and tend to make quicker decisions than in-town buyers. Ask your clients about their target move-in date, and provide a checklist of documents and information they'll need to keep the process moving along.
Be attentive. Out-of-state buyers may have special limitations on when and how they can communicate. Try to adjust your availability to discuss listings, answer questions and provide guidance. Returning calls and emails promptly is crucial in showing out-of-state clients that they matter.
Help the buyer understand the new market. Every buyer has different needs, and each market is unique. Ask the buyer about their expectations and budget, and provide information about the average costs of homes in their new market. Also help them understand local trends such as the purchase timeline, things that can delay a closing and when new listings go live. This information can help the buyer establish realistic expectations, create a budget and set a plan.
Help the buyer navigate local laws and regulations. Laws and requirements vary from state to state, especially when it comes to car insurance limits and required coverages. For instance, uninsured motorist coverage is only required in 22 states and optional in the other 28. Plus, not every carrier offers coverage in all 50 states. New residents can benefit from knowing the state-required limits upfront, so they can shop for the best car insurance rates in their new location.
Schedule a date for showings. Once you understand the out-of-state client's needs, you can begin to search for potential properties. Most buyers want to see a house before they agree to purchase it. Help the buyer plan a visit, and schedule as many viewings as possible during that time frame.
Build a list of businesses you trust. Unless out-of-town buyers are moving to be closer to family or friends, a real estate agent is often their only local connection. Agents can help make the experience less stressful by creating a list or a buyer's guide of trusted businesses in the community. These may include service businesses such as roofing companies, HVAC contractors and landscaping companies, plus product businesses like local farmers markets and shopping centers.
Support the buyer's business. Buyers who are relocating their businesses may struggle to find new customers. Help them by learning about their business and reaching out to those in your network who can benefit from the business. Helping buyers build their business locally goes a long way in establishing long-term trust.
Make moving day easier for them. When buyers move from out of town, moving day can be hectic. Consider delivering a meal on moving day or recommending a local cleaning crew to make sure the house is in move-in condition.
The average person moves about 11 times during their life. The effort you put in today will likely be returned through referrals and repeat customers when a buyer is ready to move again in the future.