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How does this focus impact the real estate component?
This shift toward mobility means that the supply chain, which includes real estate professionals, needs to be aligned with the goals of the corporation. It’s not just about helping a client buy or sell a home. The decision to go (or not go) is heavily influenced by the real estate professional who can understand the objectives of the corporation and act as an ambassador for the new location, selling the client on why the new location will be a good fit for them and their family.

What tips do you have for real estate professionals working with relocating employees?
Real estate professionals need to understand the drivers of mobility and tailor their services accordingly to the particular assignment. If the corporation is moving talent to a new location because of an ill-equipped labor market or skills gap within the organization, the company’s identified talent may need to be sold on the move. For the agent, it’s all about making the sell side of the process as painless as possible for the relocating family. On the buy side, it’s about understanding the corporation’s objectives and selling the new market to your client. It’s also important for real estate professionals to recognize when the drivers are more personal or generational in nature. In these instances, recognition of your client’s motivations for moving can provide vital insight and influence into the services provided. For example, if your client is seeking residential locations that promote work/life balance, the success or failure of a relocation can hinge on this single element.

When it comes to employee mobility, are there any trends you’re anticipating as we continue through 2013?
Here in the U.S., in particular, we are moving away from traditional home sale programs as the worldwide economy begins to improve. The shortage of inventory in many markets and the challenges associated with the mortgage appraisal process are primary factors causing price wars, closing challenges and rental price increases, all of which are impacting transferring families and the types of services being provided. Going forward, relocation management companies—and everyone in the supply chain—have to be prepared to diversify and prioritize their services as talent management and mobility evolve. We see this evolution occurring in the real estate community as the definition of full-service real estate brokerage becomes even broader. For example, corporations now recognize that their talent pool contains more than just the homeowning population, and that renters demand comprehensive services as well. Once provided as a value-add, the real estate community has adapted to meet the need, while creating a new revenue stream.

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