Houston relocation leaders discuss industry trends following RDC Conference

May 26, 2019

Earlier this month, RDC (Relocation Directors Council) held their annual spring conference in Atlanta.

I asked several Houston real estate relocation leaders who were in attendance to provide their key takeaways from the conference as it relates to what they do on a local level.

Here’s what they had to say:

Lynn Breedlove, relocation director, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Premier Properties:

“Current trends focus on the disruptors that are affecting every aspect of our industry. These disruptors are the companies that are offering discount brokerage opportunities to relocation sellers.

“Consumers want a faster, cheaper way of doing business. Many relocating employees receive a lump sum for their moving expenses, so they want to best utilize that money and sell their homes faster.

“We’re educating our agents, so that they will know what these companies are offering and any issues that could arise, and be able to discuss these issues with the transferees.”

Kristen Brown, relocation director, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene:

“The top takeaway that resonated with me and aligned with our relocation department’s core values was customer experience, as it was vividly expressed by Susan Benevides, CEO of Plus Relocation. Susan’s message expressed the importance of starting with empathy and looking at the customer’s journey.

“We believe fostering a customer’s experience ensures that our clients and customers are satisfied within the various levels of services that we provide, and we implement this by delivering a positive and meaningful approach from the very first to the very last interaction with our company.”

Renee Eads, vice president of global services, referrals and relocation, Greenwood King Properties:

“Excellent customer service remains important and a significant part of the customer experience; however, the best customer experience comes from anticipating the customer’s needs, being empathetic, and truly hearing those needs.

“Helping a client re-create their lifestyle in their new city helps put the client in their comfort zone. So, guiding and anticipating needs is paramount for relocating transferees.

“The relocation department is usually the first point of contact and begins the relationship and connection. Then the Realtor further develops trust and sometimes friendship with the customer.

“Going the extra mile makes a lasting impression on how a customer feels.”

Anne Incorvia, executive vice president, John Daugherty, Realtors

“The conference focused on an industry trend that our company has been relaying to our sales associates, which is the difference between just servicing our clients and understanding their role in the customer’s journey.

“It’s more than just giving your clients superior service; it’s delivering an unparalleled experience. The conference re-enforced what we teach our associates, which is the willingness to go above and beyond for our clients.

“The information shared through RDC conferences gives us insight into what is happening in other markets, and the newest technology tools, so we can better serve our Houston clients.”

Laura Jensen, director of relocation, Heritage Texas Properties

“Industry and technology advances make it more important than ever to keep service a priority.

“Relocating is stressful and timeframes are often very short, so our goal needs to be making a move in or out of Houston as enjoyable as possible for a relocating employee.

“Our area has many diverse markets and options for sellers and buyers to navigate. Agents must personally guide clients through the process to help them make sense of all the information that is available.

“Apps and online tools are better than ever; however, they should not and do not replace the human touch.”

Mary Piper, director of relocation and operations, Bernstein Realty

“We all use technology every day, and many of the relocation companies have portals for communication and updates, which is efficient, but removes much of the personal contact.

“Information regarding homes for sale or lease in Houston, school and neighborhood statistics, can be easily sourced and shared using technology, but relocating employees and their families need and deserve much more than efficient, fast communication.

“Even if moving is exciting, it’s an upheaval in their lives. They’re leaving their home, friends, family, and familiar surroundings.

“Many people are involved in their move, so it can be overwhelming and frustrating.”

Patricia Pollard, director of relocation and business development, United Real Estate

“The overarching theme was increasing inventory across the country. Houston’s inventory has grown to its highest level since last September, with an increase in new listings up 9.1 percent since this time last year.

“More listings mean more pending sales.

“With interest rates remaining low, oil prices improving, continued growth and a healthy housing supply, the outlook for Houston’s spring and summer market is very optimistic.

“While our market is still slightly in favor of the seller, it’s headed toward a more balanced scenario, making it a great time to purchase or sell in greater Houston.”

Michelle Sandlin is an award-winning writer, journalist and global mobility industry expert. Follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheMichelleSandlin and on Twitter: @MichelleSandlin. Also visit “On the Move” at blog.chron.com/onthemove.

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