Relocation Consultant v Renters Advocate – What’s the Difference?
For decades, Relocation Consultants have been the only real option for those looking for support for an interstate or international move. Whether you were shifting yourself, or managing your company’s relocation program, partnering with a relocation consultant could take a lot of the effort out of the process. However, a number of new players have recently entered the market, providing more choice and the potential for greater flexibility. Among these new specialised services are Renters Advocates, who are dedicated to helping those relocating find the perfect rental property to call home. But, what does a Renters Advocate actually do?
WHAT IS A RENTERS ADVOCATE?
At the most basic level, Renters Advocates act as a conduit between property managers and potential tenants. Working with renters who can’t (due to distance, etc.), or don’t want to (due to time constraints, etc.), conduct their own search, they aim to find their clients a property that suits their requirements, their family, and their lifestyle. While still a fairly new concept in many places (like Australia), the use of Renters Advocates is commonplace in some markets, particularly where competition for rental properties is especially strong. In fact, in arguably the tightest market in the world, New York, it’s almost impossible to find a rental without using an Advocate / Agent / Broker. Renters Advocates understand the significant impact one’s home can have on their productivity, mental health, and overall happiness. They also believe that the suitability of a property is as much about the lifestyle it affords as it is about the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Often coming from a real estate background, the best Renters Advocates will have strong relationships with property managers and landlords. As such, they are generally able to make sure that, when their client applies for a property, they get it. They are usually also able to access a wider range of properties, particularly off-markets.
HOW IS A RENTERS ADVOCATE DIFFERENT TO A RELOCATION CONSULTANT?
The main thing that sets a Renters Advocate apart is their singular focus. While a Relocation Consultant coordinates almost every element of their client’s move (from travel arrangements and packing to accommodation arrangements and unpacking), a Renters Advocate specialises in finding their client a rental property that they love. This difference is most evident in the approach to the actual property search. As a Relocation Consultant’s goal is just to find their client somewhere to move to, they measure property suitability against a few stated requirements (e.g. preferred area, budget, move in date). Whereas a Renters Advocate’s goal is to find their client a home, so they spend a lot more time getting to know who’s relocating (including any family members, pets, etc. moving with them and what they actually need (e.g. access to schools, public transport, sports groups, community organisations, etc.). Moreover, as the measure of a Renters Advocate’s success is how happy and settled their client is in their new home, they tend to think longer term. By contrast, as the role of a Relocation Consultant is to facilitate safely moving their client, their family, and all of their belongings from their previous location to their future location, their success is measured by arriving on time and in one piece.
IS USING A RENTERS ADVOCATE WORTH IT?
Given the broader scope of works delivered by most Relocation Consultants, it would be reasonable to assume that a one stop shop is a good option. And, if you regularly require full service relocations – and have a corporate contract in place with a major provider – that assumption is probably correct. However, with constrained corporate budgets making tailored relocation packages increasingly the norm, finding ways to deliver greater value for less money is critical. Acknowledging that key employee retention can be a challenge following relocation, and the significant impact feeling ‘settled’ can have on an employee’s choice to stay, supporting the search for a truly suitable new home can be a valuable investment. As such, in addition to being lower cost, the services of a Renters Advocate could pay greater dividends in the longer term.
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