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Big Opportunity: the Relocation Renter

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By John B. Sculley, SCRP

Candidate/Pre-Decision Services. More employers are providing up-front counseling and informational support, particularly for external new hires, to ensure that individuals make personally realistic decisions in considering a new position requiring relocation. Housing choices are important to this, so an offering of an individual needs analysis and report of suitable rental housing can be an attractive option for an employer recruiting a renter. Adding an escorted area tour in cases where a familiarization trip is authorized can create an appropriate executive-level package at a commensurate fee.

Rental Market Subscription Services. In numerous major metropolitan areas, corporate-quality rental properties are in very short supply, inhibiting inbound rental transfers. Companies based in these markets need to keep up with rental market information to support their staffing needs. A local broker can focus efforts on monitoring and reporting rental availability and trends on behalf of local employers, possibly generating some revenue from subscriptions but more importantly positioning the firm as the prime area resource for rental assistance, with the goal of gaining ongoing fee-paid rental service agreements. A website and/or mobile app for subscribers (corporate HR, Relocation or Recruiting) could enhance such an offering.

Corporate Housing Lease Management. Some employers have sustained traffic of relocating renters, short-term assignments and international assignees. The volume of rental units they require may be difficult to fulfill in a timely way, particularly in complex and short-supply rental market areas. Employers can alleviate this problem by directly leasing a number of rental properties, or even an entire multi-unit building, and outsourcing the sublease rental administration to a brokerage firm. The brokerage works directly with those employees authorized by the company, to place them in the most appropriate available units. Since the company controls the rental rates, this can be a convenient way to subsidize housing costs where desired. The brokerage derives fees from the ongoing property management, from the individual rental placements and from potential future transactions by tenants leaving the company units for other rented or purchased housing.

Other opportunities for relocating renter services can arise from unique conditions in a local area and from the special requirements of a particular employer. Brokers and Relocation Directors seeking new ways to engage corporate clients should consider starting this dialogue about renters and their challenges for employers. Aside from becoming a worthwhile enterprise in its own right, the renter services angle can be the key to retaining and regaining local corporate relocation relationships by tapping your own market resources and knowledge.

John B. Sculley, SCRP, is Vice President – Managing Director of RIS Consulting Group, johnsculley@rismedia.com.

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