RISMEDIA, January 13, 2010—After nearly two decades of moving up and down the West Coast, as well as moving to—and back—from Asia, a Seattle real estate agent who was managing a home for public relations expert Mark Lamb recommended he get himself a Move Advocate.
So, Lamb took the advice and got in touch with the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company and made the acquaintance of Jan Mascheri, a 15-year moving coach. This was a move Lamb wished he’d made a few years earlier.
“Honestly, you’d think it would be a nightmare to move to China, or between Hong Kong and Peking. And even moving back to the U.S. was OK, given the amount of things I had,” says Lamb from his home in Sammamish, Washington, where he and his wife have, hopefully, settled for good. “Where I really experienced the horror story was with a relatively easy transfer from Sunnyvale [California] to Seattle.”
Lamb found what he thought was a reputable big-name company to handle the move. “But the company had a subtle name difference from a much larger national outfit, and boy did we pay the price for that,” he recalls. “They didn’t pack properly; they lost a rug I owned and made me drive to them to pick it up. They broke items; and worst of all, the crew really treated my wife badly—very unprofessionally. It was truly a miserable experience.”
At that point, Lamb was pretty sour on movers all together, but he took some friendly advice, and as a result, his next move was a much better experience.
“My agent, who helped us move to Seattle, recommended Move Advocate,” he says. “We gave them a call and were totally surprised. They weren’t asking anything from me, but they supplied several quotes. Within a day, several companies contacted me. Our coach, Jan, followed up that afternoon and the next day to ensure that I was completely satisfied. Any follow-up questions I had, she gladly and promptly answered.”
After the initial calls Mascheri arranged, Lamb worked directly with the moving companies and had each one visit his home and give an estimate on the move.
“Within a few days, I had all the rates and contracts to consider,” he says. “Throughout the process, Jan kept checking in. Once we identified the mover to contract with, she even took care of informing the others that we had chosen someone else.”
An avowed “people person,” Mascheri says she just loves being helpful during a person’s move—an activity she counts among life’s most stressful experiences.
“It’s all about educating folks about the move process—which can be pretty scary for some people,” says Mascheri. “We help consumers make an educated decision on their own like Mark did. We also pay close attention to the TLC certain clients may require for special possessions. We’re there for clients 24/7, and we never push them to make a decision; their comfort level is very important to us.”
According to Mascheri, Move Advocate’s agent partnerships across the country bring substantial and positive returns by helping them ensure their real estate clients are treated like gold.
“This program was designed as a tool for agents to give them an advantage over their competition,” she says. “The fact that Realtors know they can turn their clients over to us is important. We’ll eliminate potential nightmares clients might have because our movers are screened to ensure they are meeting our high standards for performance. This not only provides peace of mind to the client, but to the agent because we are in touch with both to be sure they know everything is running smoothly.”
Move Advocate’s also instrumental in helping its moving clients understand pricing structure, Mascheri explains.
“We’ve heard too many stories about movers upping the price while holding their client’s possessions hostage,” she says. “But this will never happen with our van lines because Move Advocate provides a binding estimate—the price we help provide will not go higher, but it can go lower.”
According to Lamb, besides the verified minimum discount Move Advocate pre-negotiates with its movers, as a busy professional, the company’s involvement saved him “a lot of headaches and a lot of time.”
“Time is money, and that’s why I called them for a second move,” Lamb recalls. “And sure enough, on the day of the move, they checked to be sure that the driver arrived on time, checked in as the movers were there, and followed up again once the move was done. Having that third party brought us a lot of peace of mind.”
Lamb can’t stress enough how much the referral to Move Advocate cemented a lifelong relationship with his agent. “We’re very thankful our agent recommended the Move Advocate,” Lamb says. “The interest he took in ensuring our entire transaction went smoothly proved to us what valuable resources agents can be. Our agent really became more of a friend, and he ended up managing my home while we were gone for a year.”
Lamb says the total homeowner experience is enough of a responsibility, “so if or when someone has to move, you need somebody you can trust,” he adds. “I don’t think a lot of people consider working with an intermediary when it comes to their move. But their level of service surprised me. If I were a real estate agent, I would be telling my clients that Move Advocate is a company I trust.”
In addition to the benefits of a move advocate in their corner, clients receive financial benefits through the Move Advocate program. Discounts, free valuation coverage and multiple, guaranteed estimates are also part of the package. “I really think our value is that of educators,” finishes Mascheri. “There are a lot of options, regulations and considerations when managing a long-distance move and they can become overwhelming. People need to remember they don’t have to do it alone. There are independent, third-party move advocates available to lead them to a hassle-free move.”
For additional information about the program, marketing tools, moving tips, and resources, agents or their clients are invited to visit www.moveadvocate.com/agent/downloads.asp. Or real estate agents can refer clients to 800.617.1918 to speak with a move advocate today.