Have you ever had the pleasure of relocating from one city to another? You have the stress of the move compounded by the fact that you are losing all of your trusted resources and most importantly your “local knowledge”.
Let’s say you’re moving because you’ve been promoted to run a new division out of state. You have a young child so you’re looking for good schools within your area and a family-friendly neighborhood.
How about if you are a young professional moving for a great job opportunity? The last thing you want is to “live in the burbs” with people like your parents.
What if you have lived in the city, in the “happenin’” part of town, but now you’re expecting your first child and want to find a quieter place with a backyard?
Your logical first place to go to begin your research is on the web. You can find boatloads of places to look at information about home pricing, number of bedrooms, number of baths and even if the house has a fireplace or not. But what if you want to narrow your search a different way? Perhaps you want to find
a home near a dog park for your new puppy, or close to a health food store because you’re a vegetarian and you thrive on organic vegetables? What if you are retiring to a new area and want to be sure there are several golf courses nearby?
Finding a Home – A 3-legged Search Stool
A homebuyer’s fundamental, baseline needs are the same whether they are moving across town or across the country.
1 – Property Details – Every homebuyer will search based on standard home features like: 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, $175,000-$300,000, 2-story.
2 – Lifestyle Needs – Consumers want to understand the neighborhood “context” for a home. A beautiful home that fits their property structural criteria perfectly can be in a bad quality school district or too far from the office or the church of their choice.
3 – The local culture and vibe – Consumers are also looking for that somewhat intangible feeling or “vibe” that resonates in a neighborhood. They want to know things like – Does the neighborhood have an outdoorsy feel? A creative/artsy vibe? A family friendly scene? Doggie paradise?
As an industry, we do #1; we do it well – it’s called IDX. That’s about it. We rely on REALTORS® and customers to navigate their way around the Web, the Chamber of Commerce, the pavement, etc. and gather tidbits of information to make #2 and #3 come to life in some accurate, reliable manner. So, essentially, we’re doing 1/3 of our jobs for homebuyers…is that good enough for you?
Consumers today are often more interested in the neighborhood they like and the lifestyle it provides than the minute details of a home. They want to live in a community that meets their physical, emotional and even spiritual needs. Traditional property search offered by REALTORS® just doesn’t cut it. If
REALTORS® want to stay in the center of the home buying process they need to become advisors on a lot more than the size of the lot and the number of garages.
Don’t ignore the needs of RELO Customers
I remember when we moved to California several years ago from Buffalo, New York. We were absolutely lost. We were moving to a new culture, climate and community and leaving our “cushy” corporate jobs to come and run a start-up. Talk about uncertainty! We drove our REALTOR® crazy because we were so
unfocused in our search.
We had a few rules: 20 minute commute, close to shopping, ocean view, large yard, professional community, great restaurants. These criteria didn’t help much though because there was no way for us to do research using those types of criteria. Had we had the ability to learn more about these community factors important to us, the process could have been a lot more productive and certainly
a lot less stressful.
Now many would say that is the role of the REALTOR®. They are best suited to provide “insider knowledge” of an area and guide their customer in finding a home that meets all of their needs. This is absolutely true. The problem is that many consumers do not want to engage with an agent until they have done their own homework. They will go to the Chamber of Commerce, their social network
sphere and even to third party real estate websites NOT offered by REALTORS®. Every time a consumer has to seek out a non-Real estate professional to help them in the process of finding a home, the value of a REALTOR® is diminished in some way.
TO READ THE FULL REPORT CLICK HERE: The Lifestyle Search Opportunity.
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