By LISA MONTI
Years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for a large corporation to buy the house of a top executive who was being moved to a new location and pay the moving expenses. Those generous relocation packages aren’t as prevalent as they used to be but some real estate companies are seeing an increase in relocation services.
Broker Jeff Martella with Weichert, Realtors Martella-Clark of Brandon said relocating services for executives is a small but growing part of his business. “It’s improved in the last couple of years,” he said. “When the economy was down, companies quit moving folks around but we’re seeing it more often since 2008.”
Charlotte Smith of Charlotte Smith Real Estate in Jackson said, “Relocation is probably no more than 10 percent of our business, if that much. It’s really very limited in the Jackson area.” The firm’s relocation department assists corporate transferees with buying and selling their homes and offers services such as community tours and cost of living analysis in the Jackson metro area. Help is available to international customers in French, German and Spanish.
Since 1979 Smith’s agency has been part of The Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, an international network of professionals who provide real estate and relocation service.
“We are affiliated with 500 offices nationwide and abroad,” said Smith. “If somebody in San Francisco knows somebody moving to Jackson, the office affiliate in San Francisco will call here and send them our way.”
Cheri Pitts with Charlotte Smith Real Estate has been in the real estate/relocation business 23 years. “I love relocating people,” she said. “We’ve been very successful with relocation.“
Pitts said she offers full service assistance with “every part of living, not just buying a home.” She said she gathers information for whatever the client’s needs may be, including local clubs and activities for the family.
“I lived abroad for many years and know that it’s very stressful moving with a family and dogs and everything,” she said.
She helps foreign clients moving to the area with securing a driver’s license and other paperwork. “It involves a lot, it’s not your typical selling houses. I get all the information to get the kids enrolled in schools. We do whatever it takes to help our clients,” she said.
Pitts said the relocation services involve more than just getting the deal done. “I really want my clients not only to find a house but find a neighborhood to make them feel at home.”
Pitts said she deals mainly with corporations and executives.
“Typically it’s in metro Jackson, Madison, Ridgeland, Reservoir and Brandon, Byram and Clinton,” she said.
The process of relocating executives and their families doesn’t happen quickly, she said. “It just depends on when they’re moving,” she said. “They come in to apply for a job and then they go back home and decide if they want to take it. It’s a couple of months typically.”