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Boeing moving over 3,000 jobs out of Western Washington, there could be several new homes going on the Puget Sound market

Real estate agents advised to look beyond the headlines: How proactive realtors can serve their clients the best way

By Tom Brennan, Copyright © 2017, SoundListings.com
Boeing, one of the Seattle area's key employers, has announced that it is relocating a major department, Shared Services Group, to Mesa, Arizona. The division employs over 3,000 persons and the Corporation was slated to begin notifying those position-holders as to their options. At first glance this might bring a sense of panic to many involved in areas from local government, businesses and numerous suppliers of goods and services to those employees who are being offered relocation. But what does this actually mean for all concerned, including home sellers and realtors? Here are some basic facts to consider in what is actually a series of opportunities.

Moving Boeing jobs from Washington State to Mesa Arizona

First, although Boeing is relocating its Shared Services Group (SSG) Mesa, Arizona site, its headquarters will remain as a fixture here for some time. Today's international corporate market especially in aerospace is highly competitive. Boeing faces challenges from Airbus and from an energized China. What impact the possible cancellation $8 billion of airliner purchases from Iran if sanctions are re-imposed and the revoking of the JCPOA agreement occurs is a major unknown. Boeing is only one of a group of global corporations located here and others are expanding. The Seattle area continues to attract a well-educated, upper level salary affluent audience. When one group moves, several others move in. The Census reveals that educational levels are high here and this is always a major consideration for corporations seeking to relocate or expand.

Boeing and Seattle: a brief history and impact on Seattle real estate

Boeing has been a significant partner in the growth and development of Seattle since 1910. Boeing's world leadership in aerospace has made Seattle an example of the best of municipal and corporate cooperation. Corporate shifts and relocations are a major economic "fact of life" in today's global economy. Boeing admits openly that some jobs will be cut or combined through attrition. Internal restructuring goes on almost weekly in major corporations as they work to maintain profitability amidst a world of competitors. Many of the jobs being moved to Arizona are unique enough to be considered totally essential at their current and future status, so these employees are being offered some incentives in relocation. Boeing will still be a significant part of Seattle's economic future although jobs have been lost in restructuring moves to keep the company profitable. Boeing's space ventures are also in competition with other commercial space entrepreneurs as well and this area shows genuine promise and profitability.

Google and Amazon: Seattle's other tech giants affecting Seattle housing market

Other Seattle employers include Google and Amazon, each with a well-paid workforce who have expectations for their lifestyle that can feed and grow Seattle's economy. Corporations become a focal point for supply and support businesses owned by locals. Anything from cleaning services, restaurants, entertainment venues, health care and many more businesses supply the corporation and its employees with goods and services. The higher salaries these corporations pay enable their employees to buy more and spend more on leisure. The price they can pay for homes also translates in higher selling prices and benefits for peripheral industries such as lawn care, appliances and recreational equipment.

Google is expanding its current campus in Seattle. The high-tech giant pays generous salaries and has extraordinary benefits. These employees have expectations in housing and will pay for them. As high-paying jobs increase more employees with high salaries will seek upscale homes and this will keep the inventory moving and bring higher prices to savvy sellers. Amazon.com is the online purchasing giant that seems to innovate and grow daily. Seattle is its headquarters and employs over 40,000 employees and has huge amounts of office space. It is seeking to expand further and is seeking more room to grow .Working for such an innovative corporation draws the attention of energetic and ambitious people and they will move to the area when hired. Knowing the lifestyle of these newcomers, having an inventory ready to view online or in person will speed their move and closing date. Staying ahead of the news and anticipating the needs in housing of corporate workers is essential to success. The well-informed realtor is the most successful.

How do you serve homebuyers who are relocating to the Puget Sound?

Realtors can be a real source of help for those relocating because of a corporate decision to shift a division to the region when it fits best in the corporate plan. The informed and energetic realtor will have resources and personal contacts ready to anticipate the employee's needs and make this known to corporate HR departments. Being a corporate RELO package partner can be profitable, especially if a full range of services is offered.

Realtors and sellers need to be informed on local trends and world events. Today's headlines often cause gyrations in markets and stocks as well as seeing growth in international commerce. All these can have effects on price and timing. Area realtors should consider a global market as newcomers in high tech could be coming from anywhere and would most likely not be knowledgeable to the area's attractions.

Washington, DC is a classic example of an area with high prices for homes and a changing clientele. One realtor has developed a unique method of serving clients by keeping a database of potential buyers and matching their criteria to homes that come on the market. Both seller and buyer gain by having homes that fit the buyer's expectations readily available.

It's a good practice to consider relationship and referral as services for your toolkit. Your website will be one of many in the realty field. Although the web offers more information than ever before for sellers and buyers, it is difficult to discern which site is the most useful or which will be the best to contact for doing business. The same property can appear in multiple websites, searchers get confused as a rule. Working with a web developer who can extend your service range in a readable, informative and service-ready message will deliver the customers who become clients. Keeping the website up to date and maintaining a high-ranking for quality information and site visitors will promote your business. Regular articles, blogs, news and up to date prices and information will make your site stand out.

Developing a network of out of state service-minded realtors can help when a seller is becoming a buyer. Out of state moves are extremely stressful, especially in corporate relocation situations. Being able to refer someone to a reliable realtor in the new location helps everyone. Knowing you client's needs and particulars will make the best match for a home purchase in the shortest time and make that client a source of future referrals and business.

How do you promote Seattle real estate's main selling points?

You site can link to newspapers, local online magazines, clubs and associations; there's no limit to resources. Corporate employees such as those at Boeing, Amazon and Google are as a rule well educated, affluent and culturally involved. Highlighting cultural attractions, nightlife and other relevant opportunities will be a way of introducing newcomers to their new home.

There will be a mix of newcomers, families and singles. Each will have certain common expectations in a new home. Families will place schools at the top of the list as well as recreational and cultural opportunities. Homes that can expand to fit family needs such as play and media areas as well as a room for a new baby will be on their list. Singles will expect convenience, up to date media access through high speed fiber optics and energy saving appliances. They will also be likely to entertain and having room space for that purpose will be on their shopping list. Convenient travel to work, access to fitness and health centers, cultural and sports outlets and shopping that suits their lifestyle will be expected.

Location, location, location for a home should be equaled by communication

The location of the home to be purchased will be fit to the lifestyle, leisure and other personal qualities of the potential buyer as income allows. Higher salaries allow for more consumer purchases and for a more active leisure and social life.

Knowing how to attract customers into satisfied clients involves a great deal of social skills coupled with your ability to find the right home and close the deal, aside from other offers that also come in for that particular home.

The Boeing move as well as the growth of Amazon.com and Google will involve dealing with a more tech-savvy audience. Having a reading knowledge of the types of jobs (and personalities) with whom you will be dealing with is a tremendous asset in communications. It is also important to remember that moving is a stressful experience and making the process as smooth as possible will be appreciated. Local professional moving companies in Western Washington include Careful Movers (state wide and long distance) and Lake Union Movers (Seattle and Bellevue). Having "welcome packages" with information coupons, lists and websites of places that the buyer will enjoy will all make the entire event of moving into a new home more exciting for any buyers new to the area.

Seattle newcomers are going to be smartphone users so your website should have a mobile companion. Video tours of homes listed, apps such as Google Maps and local newspapers are essential for re-locating professionals to get to know where they will be living, working and playing. Knowing how much groceries cost, distance to parks, recreational features, restaurant menus, fast food stops and traffic patterns and route information long with up to date weather information are at the top of a newcomer's list. Providing information such as auto licensing, tax rates, school districts and other municipal items is best accomplished by links to those agencies.

One thing to remember is that newcomers may likely be located outside your time zone, so keep a note of that so you can be available. Consider using Skype for video calls, face to face communication is a great way to begin a relationship in home buying. Older realtors may not be as comfortable with smartphones as newer ones. Many of your clients will be serious users and it is essential to communicate on their terms, so perhaps some technical homework is in order asking how your out of state client wants to communicate, being knowledgeable of their schedule and when is the best time and way to contact them and avoiding unnecessary messages will keep the relationship productive.

Smartphone "smarts" and security measures are essential for realtors. It is important to change passwords regularly and report a lost phone as soon as possible. Remember to avoid storing any personal or business financial data, passwords or links on your phone or in your laptop. If you use a cloud service make sure all data is secure and report any breaches or suspected "hacks". Also, be careful and cautious about wifi at public places such as libraries, coffee shops or other businesses which provide it for free. When on the road remember to safely store any laptop, phone or other data device to prevent theft. FICA regulations are strict and can cause serious financial problems for violations.

Transparency is a real estate agent's best seller when finding homes for buyers

Being up front through total transparency with relocating buyers is an essential part of building and maintaining trust. Providing a link to the Washington State Licensing Commission as well as links to any Google or Yelp reviews can give your clients a sense of security and make all the processes go smoothly. Providing a list of mortgage resources that you personally know and trust is another step.

One key to success in working with relocation buyers is the business practice of customer satisfaction. Today's professional is totally networked. They connect with co-workers in the office, on the corporate campus as well as nationally and globally. Relocating workers can come from anywhere and satisfied homebuyers eagerly share success stories with friends -- this means referrals from happy clients. Satisfying each client, anticipating their questions, concerns and needs and being accessible in a manner and format they prefer makes the relationship a success. Even in the ever- expanding world of the internet, word of mouth still carries the greatest influence in influencing financial decisions. Making new friends, earning their trust and having them refer you as the realtor they trust makes a world of difference in the complex environment of real estate.

Competition in real estate is heavy, serious and requires the best effort, tools and communication skills. Knowing how to read behind headlines and anticipate responses to opportunities to serve clients will pay off well for everyone involved.

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