Relocation manager Tammy Chevalier and relocation director Liz Parker are the masterminds behind real estate franchise Keller William’s relocation department. “We started the department four years ago in May of 2013. It’s grown exponentially year after year,” Chevalier says. “Our relocation department is the first of its kind within Keller Williams.”
The department plays a big role in helping employees through the messy process of relocating for a new job or transferring through their current employer. “They usually get relocation benefits and have to go through a preferred vendor with a relocation company,” Parker says. “So, anytime someone is leaving Minnesota or coming into Minnesota, we help connect them with a relocation certified agent to help protect their relocation benefits.”
Before working in real estate, Chevalier represented professional hockey players and specialized in helping the athletes when they were relocated. “It happened to be my favorite part of that position,” Chevalier says. After joining the real estate profession, Chevalier made relocation her primary target. “I made it my goal and focus to start a relocation department that exceeded our clients’ expectations by making sure a client’s experience was a positive one … and we’ve been successful not just in Maple Grove, but now across the country,” she says.
Each relocation agent goes through an extensive training process. “Only certain agents qualify for corporate relocation. Those requirements are pretty extensive,” Chevalier explains. The qualifications are strict because Keller Williams is committed to closely following IRS guidelines. “One mistake can ruin them getting a dollar for their relocation benefits. So, we don’t ever want to put the transferee at risk of losing over $100,000 in benefits,” Parker says.
Keller Williams has about 50 relocation agents in the Twin Cities area but more than 300 relocation agents across the country.
Client Stephanie Adams relocated to Maple Grove from Omaha in May and worked through the relocation department at Keller Williams. “They really narrowed down where to look for homes. Moving here from Nebraska, we knew I would be working on one side of the city; my husband’s office is in St. Paul but he goes all over Minneapolis,” Adams says. “It was definitely a very positive experience. People were very willing to give good information and answer questions. They did a really good job doing pre-interview questions with us and matching us up with a Realtor who fit our personalities well.”
Chevalier and Parker have one large piece of advice—don’t be fooled by the internet. “They go online and meet someone through Zillow or Realtor.com and they’re going to assume that that agent is experienced,” Parker says. “They need to know that they need to use a relocation certified agent. … That’s what relocation departments are here for, to connect you with the right person.”
On The Move
Relocating for work can be complicated but here are a few tips:
- If your employer doesn’t typically offer relocation assistance, ask for it.
- Know the cost of living in the new city.
- Renting is a great way to settle into a new city.
- Build a social support network.
- Locate a certified relocation agent and let them do the hard work.