How to Buy a House From a Relocation Company

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Buying a house from a relocation company -- a "relo" -- isn't much different than buying a house from anyone else. A few of the rules are different. In a declining market, though, you may be able to drive a hard bargain.

  • Find a real estate agent experienced in relocation company-owned properties. If you can't perform a successful search online, contact the major brokerage firms, such as Re/Max, Prudential, Coldwell Banker or whomever you prefer, and ask for an agent with this specialization.

  • Ask the agent to show you a list of "relo" properties (relo is the trade word for properties owned by relocation companies).

  • Request the agent to provide you with price opinions (sometimes called a "CMA" for "Comparative Market Analysis") on the property or properties you select.

  • Write your offer subject to a home inspection by a contractor licensed to perform these.

  • Seek an attorney to review the documents. Most relocation companies require the use of their sales agreement forms, which differ from standard Realtor-approved forms.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ask your agent if she works with more than one relocation company. Be sure you don't get steered to one company's listings.
  • Relocation companies buy homes at a discount, but in today's market of declining sales and prices, they will be more eager than they were in previous years to sell the house. While overreaching may not be in your best interests, you should be able to drive a hard bargain.
  • Get pre-approved and not just pre-qualified by your mortgage lender. Pre-approved means you've filled out a mortgage application. Your offer, even if it's a lowball one, will get more attention.

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