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A Guide To Buying A House From A Relocation Company

Katie Ziraldo4-Minute Read
March 31, 2021

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or an experienced real estate investor, finding a good deal on a property is exciting. If you find a good deal on a property that also happens to check all your boxes, it can be tempting to jump on it – and for good reason, considering these homes typically sell quickly. But if the deal is brought to you by a relocation company, it’s important to understand what you’re facing before jumping in headfirst.

So, what are relocation companies and how does buying a house from a relocation company differ from a traditional sale? Keep reading to learn more!

What Is A Real Estate Relocation Company?

A relocation company, or relo, is hired by a corporation to help its employees move from one area to another for employment purposes, such as one office location closing and another opening.

Corporate relocation services often offer employees relocation assistance, up to and including the sale of the employee’s current residence as well as the purchase of a new home in the desired location.

Why Do Relocation Companies Own Houses?

If the employee, or client, is currently renting, the relo company may hire movers and assist in finding a new rental home. But if the client is a homeowner, the relo company will often take on the responsibility of selling the property.

Typically, this means the property will remain in its owner’s name for the first few months on the market, with the relo company offering advice on pricing, marketing and other sales techniques. But in some cases, the relo company may offer to partially or completely buy out the property – therefore freeing the funds for the client to buy a home in their new location. This is the main reason relo companies own and sell houses.

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How Does Buying A House From A Relocation Company Work?

It’s important to note that both the relocation company and the house offered for sale are often referred to as “relos.” Buying a relo property is not unlike any other real estate transaction, although there are a handful of differences throughout the process.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Buying A House From A Relo Company?

When compared to a conventional home sale, buying a house from a relo company can offer a few distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

Bargains Are Possible

Although relo houses aren’t necessarily steals, they can offer great value due to the fact that it’s a business, not an individual, selling the home. Relo companies are primarily focused on getting back the money they spent on the property, so you can rest easy knowing these properties will always be fairly priced.

Houses Tend To Be In Good Shape

Relo properties are also generally well-maintained because when the relo company buys the property, they will often take care of any necessary repairs.

Negotiations Without Emotions

Homeowners have invested time and energy to their house, so when you’re dealing with an individual seller, emotions can sometimes get in the way of negotiations based on fact. Relo companies have no history with the property, removing emotional bias from the equation.

Cons

Delays Are Possible

Due to their corporate structure, relo companies often take longer to respond to prospective buyers, as most follow a Monday through Friday schedule, and then must take the offer to the seller.

Paperwork Abounds

Buying a relo property also comes with additional paperwork. To minimize the liability of the relo company, buyers are required to sign additional riders, amendments and disclosures.

Fewer Contingencies Accepted

A contingency is a clause in an offer stating that specific conditions must be met for the deal to close. If those conditions are not met, the buyer is able to break the contract without worrying about financial repercussions.

Relo companies often prefer clean, no-contingency offers, which means less risk protection for the buyers. By waiving contingencies, you can make your offer more appealing, but be careful to ensure there are no surprise costs down the line. If you’re thinking about making a clean offer, we recommend consulting a real estate agent.

You Must Be Prepared To Move Quickly

Despite the delays that working with a relo company may cause, the company will still expect prospective buyers to move quickly, so they are encouraged to get preapproved for financing before they start looking for homes. Be prepared with earnest money, a preapproval letter, and clean offer at the ready.

Properties Sold As-Is Or Without Warranties

Relo companies may offer the home as-is, meaning that they will do no further repairs or offer any warranties regarding the condition of the home. In this case, it’s more important than ever for your home inspector to take an in-depth look at the property and identify any major need for repair.

Where Can I Find Listings For Relo Houses For Sale?

If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably wondering how and where to find properties for sale by relo companies. If you want to explore this avenue, there are real estate agents who specialize in relos, often working with more than one relo company, who may be able to help. Relo companies also list their properties through the traditional channels – meaning you may come across a relo house in your search even if you aren’t actively looking for it.

The Bottom Line: Another Avenue To Explore If You’re Looking For A Bargain

Whether it’s a traditional sale, short sale, or a relo sale, it’s possible to find bargains on the market. If you’re considering buying a house from a relocation company, it’s important to consider all the pros and cons to minimize your risk and give yourself the best chance of approval.

Looking for more ways to save? Learn more about buying a home!

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Katie Ziraldo

Katie Ziraldo found her love of writing through her experience working with various newspapers, such as the Detroit Free Press. Her financial literacy stems from her four years as a Recruiter, when she learned the details of every role in the mortgage process. As a writer, she uses that knowledge to create relevant content for homeowners to help them reach their goals.