By Maria Patterson
RISMEDIA, May 6, 2008-Tracy Riba with RE/MAX Classic Realty in Clayton, North Carolina, admits that many of her clients don’t know everything they should about PODS.
“When I first became aware of PODS, only a small amount of people knew about them,” says Riba, “and those who had heard the name had no idea all they had to offer. PODS takes the stress out of the moving process.”
And in a time when buying and selling a home is more stressful than ever-thanks to current market conditions-any tool that helps ease the task of moving is sure to be welcomed by consumers, and used as a competitive advantage by smart real estate professionals. PODS is achieving both.
A PODS Primer
Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Tampa Bay, Florida, PODS (Portable on-Demand Storage) believes it has created an entirely new business category by reinventing the way people move and store the contents of their home.
The familiar white containers are becoming an increasingly common sight in towns across America, as home buyers and sellers in transition from one home to another utilize PODS for a variety of needs. PODS currently operates in 48 states, as well as Canada and Australia, and over 125,000 PODS are now in circulation.
Available in three sizes-8x7x7, 8x8x12 and 8x8x16-PODS containers are used by consumers to store part or all of a home’s belongings during a move or while the home is listed on the market. PODS can either be kept on the homeowner’s property or housed off-site at a PODS Storage Center, located in every area that PODS serves. Belongings can be stored with PODS for as long as the homeowner needs-a week, a month or even years. PODS offers the same price for one day or 30. After a home sells, PODS can move all a customer’s belongings across town or across the country to the new home location.
Of utmost importance, of course, is the safe-keeping of a consumer’s belongings during the storage period. The company’s special PODzilla lift system ensures that the PODS containers are kept level at all times in order to protect the contents within.
How PODS Benefits Realtors
With over 92% of PODS customers reporting that they would recommend PODS to family and friends, there is no question that PODS can serve as a valuable resource to real estate professionals and their clients. PODS takes it a step further by partnering with roughly a dozen real estate brands to provide agents with negotiated discounts that they can then pass along to their clients.
“Our goal is to partner with real estate agents throughout the sales process, from helping the agent prepare that home to show, right through the day the customer moves into their new home,” says Mike Gavelek, chief marketing officer for PODS.
“I started working with PODS at least two years ago,” reports Riba. “They’re a RE/MAX-approved supplier so we receive special deals that come to us through our RE/MAX connection. I can pass that savings on to my clients, which is so important because price is always a determining factor. All the PODS information is easily available online for my clients.”
Ready to List? Get Rid of the Clutter
A big part of preparing a home to show in today’s market involves “decluttering”-that is, removing cumbersome pieces of furniture, children’s toys, knick-knacks, etc. in order to accentuate the spaciousness of a home. In fact, according to Stagedhomes.com, a home decluttered by an Accredited Staging Professional can shorten its sales cycle by 80%.
“In a down housing market, decluttering a home is critical,” explains Gavelek. “Yet our data shows that agents think only 30 percent of their listings will actually be decluttered, creating a huge advantage for those homes that do. PODS makes it easy by bringing the storage to the customer and then taking it off-site to a Storage Center.”
Decluttering can be a big opportunity, agrees Lisa DiZio, an agent with RE/MAX Realty Services in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. “You want to make it look like there’s plenty of room in the house,” she says. “The longer you live somewhere, the more you accumulate and on many occasions you need to clean the home out before you list it.”
PODS simplifies decluttering for agents and their clients. A PODS container is deposited in the driveway of the homeowners who can then declutter their home and load the container at their convenience. When the homeowners are finished, the container is transported to a nearby clean and secure Storage Center. Once the home sells, PODS can deliver the container to the customer’s new home-eliminating the need to pack twice.
“Decluttering is important for presenting the home in its best possible light,” says Riba. “By removing bulky furniture or unused items, like an extra table or small knick-knacks, or items from the wall, it helps show the home’s best features.”
PODS on the Move
PODS also serves as a winning solution for those home buyers and sellers caught between houses.
In many cases, a home may sell sooner than expected-given today’s buyer’s-market conditions, a seller needs to move fast when the right offer comes in. This could mean having to vacate the home before a new home is found or closed on, or before a new-construction home is completed. In such situations, sellers often need to move in with family or rent until their new home is ready.
PODS answers sellers’ storage needs during this transition time frame, and helps prevent them from having to pack, unpack and repack. When the consumers finally arrive at their new home, PODS usually delivers the container the very next day.
“Most people need to sell a home to buy a home,” says DiZio. “They often go to a settlement on the house they’re selling and then a couple of hours later, to a settlement on the house they’re buying. They’re paying a moving company to sit there with their stuff and wasting money-they’re basically homeless for a couple of hours. Using PODS also allows you to take care of some things you might want to do in the new home before you move your things in-like paint or shampoo the carpets. With PODS, people can pack and unpack at their own pace-they could spend two weeks unpacking if they’d like to.
“I think it’s a great product for people who have to sell and move in the same day,” DiZio adds. “It’s definitely a competitive advantage for me to be able to offer them discounts on using PODS.”
PODS is also a valuable tool for those moving from longer distances or relocating from afar. With an extensive coverage network in place, PODS is well-positioned to provide low-stress local and long-distance moves. Using PODS alleviates the need to rent and drive or hire a moving truck, and removes stressful deadlines imposed by traditional moving companies. In short, using PODS keeps the consumer in control of when and how long they will pack and load-and then unload-their belongings.
A Growing Movement
According to PODS, the company now services nearly 70% of the U.S. population, quickly growing in appeal thanks to the flexibility and value it provides consumers; with PODS straightforward pricing structure, there is no need to worry about excessive insurance, gas charges or moving company prices that come in miles above the estimate.
“Our real estate partnerships are a key part of our strategy,” said Gavelek. “We believe that if we can do three things: provide agents with a strong brand to align with, offer value-added sales tools and-of course-delight the customers that agents refer to us, then we have a very powerful value proposition to offer the agents we partner with.”
For more information, visit www.pods.com.