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What Are Relocation Companies And What Do They Do?

Kevin Graham6-Minute Read
March 30, 2021

Whether you’re looking to make a big move for career or personal reasons, there are many balls in the air when you’re moving a significant distance. This is where a whole industry of real estate relocation companies has sprung up to help.

In this article, we’ll discuss what these relocation companies do and the services they offer. We also clarify some vocabulary and talk costs and how you can find the right one for you.

What Is A Relocation Company?

A relocation (or relo) company helps people manage major moves. Generally, the further you move, the more there is to coordinate. There’s selling your home while trying to find a new one, often in a completely different state. There’s also finding a good school district for your kids and the right medical team. Relocation companies handle a lot of coordination and also help sell your property or find a new apartment, depending on the situation.

A relocation company will often assign you a relocation professional to take the point on managing your entire process. This person will be your go to for any questions and concerns surrounding your relocation.

Corporate Relocation Management

Within the relocation industry, a fairly large subset of companies is devoted to corporate relocation management. These relos specialize in helping companies with the task of relocating employees being transferred to other offices. Companies often make the services of a corporate relocation company available as part of a moving package.

These companies move people domestically and even internationally. One of the big things they do if necessary is help your company buy your home and manage the sale of your home so that you can move right away if they need to be somewhere on short notice. They might also help with temporary housing and coordination of services and resources.

What Services Do Relocation Companies Offer?

Relocation companies offer many services, but they fall broadly into one of two categories: there’s coordination for everything that needs to happen when you make a major move, and there’s handling the buying of a new home and the sale of a previous property.

Coordinating For Individuals

Relocation companies should be able to manage your whole move. This could be everything from helping you list your property and find a new one to handling the packing and the actual “move” part of a move.

Moreover, if it’s an international move, they can help with the paperwork, like visas. It’s one less thing to worry about. They also offer advice on everything from which school districts are best in the area you’re moving to the right medical specialists to handle all of your needs.

The primary way that a relocation company is able to provide this specialized area knowledge is by relying on a network of local real estate agents. These agents are the key to giving clients a personalized view of the area to which they’ll be relocating.

Buying Or Selling Real Estate To Facilitate The Move

There are generally a couple of different paths these companies take when getting into the relo business. Some started out as brokerages that grew into relocation services. Typically, this would happen over time as they expanded their geographic area and network of agents.

Others have mostly catered to companies from the start. This subset added value to their clientele by getting into the business of buying and selling homes. It was one more option to add to a suite of services.

The option to have your employer sell your home through the relocation company is particularly important if you have a situation where you’re going from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market. You don’t have to sit on your house for a long period of time waiting to sell it and you can make the best offer possible knowing that your home is sold and you don’t have to worry about it.

Relocation Companies Vs. Professionals Offering Relocation Assistance

If you’re only moving a short distance, you may not need relocation services. Even if you’re moving some distance, you may not wish to partake in relocation services if your company won’t pay to have you relocate. Some piece of the package offered by relocation companies could be useful to you even if you’re not getting the whole shebang.

To begin with, most people find it beneficial to work with a real estate agent. If you’re moving far away, it’s worth working with someone who really knows the market. But even if you’re staying in the same area, working with a real estate agent is beneficial.

For starters, they’re negotiating deals all the time. Your understanding of the market is likely to be behind what’s actually happening because the data that gets published is usually at least a month old and usually more like 2 or 3 months back. If you’re looking for one, a Rocket Homes® Verified Partner Agent can help!

You might also have to go find your own moving service. There’s only so long you can rely on having young, strong friends to help you move that player piano. The difference with a relocation company is that you’re getting the whole package, whether you need it or not. If you do it on your own, you can pick and choose your supports.

Real Estate Agents Who Specialize In Relocation Services

There are a couple of different designations that real estate agents specializing in relocation can have. Depending on who they received their certification through, they may be either a Certified Relocation and Transition Specialist (CRTS) or a Certified Relocation Professional (CRP).

These designations often require some level of continuing education, so that you know these professionals are up to date with the latest developments in the field of relocation. In terms of providing services, each one is different, but generally they help you sell your old home and/or find a new one.

Additionally, they’ll be able to help you with paperwork and how to get places. In addition to business, if you are traveling internationally, different vaccinations may be required or recommended (this may be especially important in a pandemic). They may also assist with your child’s school enrollment.

Relocation Companies Vs. ‘Relos’

If you do decide to go with a relocation company, it’ll be useful to look for those designations among the people on their staff to say that they actually know what they’re talking about. There are many real estate agents who will advertise to people looking to move to certain areas in publications and on websites. Some of the advice they provide may even be useful, but it doesn’t mean they specialize in relocation.

Agents and companies focused on relocation can help offer individualized plans tailored to your needs and the timeline of your company.

How Much Do Relo Companies Charge For Their Services?

It’s hard to give an exact cost for relocation services because so much depends on what’s being offered as part of the package. However, the average cost can be anywhere from a few thousand dollars for a renter to $60,000 – $80,000 if the company has to take over a home and manage the home sale.

The good news is that in many instances, you don’t have to bear the cost yourself because companies often pay for relocation packages. If a team member is considered important enough to have in a certain spot, they may consider it worth the investment.

How Can I Find A Reputable Relocation Company?

If your company is paying for it, you may not actually have to worry about vetting these companies because your employer will have a preferred provider that they work with when these things come up.

If you do need to find one for your own move, online reviews and social media are never a bad place to start. You can take a look at average ratings that way. Word-of-mouth from people who have had good experiences in the past never hurts.]

If you’re looking for a starting point, Worldwide ERC is a trade organization for the industry of mobility experts. They can give referrals of people who have advanced credentials specializing in relocation.

The Bottom Line: Relo Professionals Can Offer A Hand To Hold As You Travel Into The Unknown

Relocation companies specialize in the logistics of cross-country and even international moves. Usually, these are team member relocations on behalf of an employer, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Relocation companies and professionals offer a variety of logistical services including everything from helping you buy and sell homes to helping you locate the appropriate medical team and giving you information on school districts.

It’s important that if you’re vetting relocation companies, you look for credentials that show a person specializes in relocation moves. Not everyone who advertises to those looking to relocate has the kind of experience necessary to offer individualized solutions.

Prices can vary widely, but will be a lot higher if the relocation company and takes over the sale of your home. The good news is if this is the case, the cost is often picked up by the company for valued employees. To that end, you shouldn’t have to vet companies because your employer will often have a relationship with someone, but if they don’t, trade organizations and social media are a good place to start looking for reviews and recommendations.

The services of these companies may be particularly useful if you’re forced to move based on an employment change in the current environment. Check out more on moving during a pandemic.

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    Kevin Graham

    Kevin Graham is a Senior Blog Writer for Quicken Loans. He specializes in economics, mortgage qualification and personal finance topics. As someone with cerebral palsy spastic quadriplegia that requires the use of a wheelchair, he also takes on articles around modifying your home for physical challenges and smart home tech. Kevin has a BA in Journalism from Oakland University. Prior to joining Quicken Loans, he freelanced for various newspapers in the Metro Detroit area.