In the UK we are very aware of the influx of foreign expatriates, particularly in London, as the housing bubble booms. Yet, do we ever really think about how they find these homes and who helps them? This is the job of the UK home search consultant, and it’s big business.
A UK home search consultant will typically work as a part of a larger relocation support team. This team could be an in-house relocation team or part of a separate organisation that specializes in corporate relocation. There are also plenty of property and estate agents in the UK who have their own corporate relocation divisions.
The main aim of a home search consultant is precisely that: to find their client a home for the duration of their stay in the UK. As the first contact in the moving process, there’s a lot of responsibility. It falls to the home search consultant to oversee all paperwork, including any tenancy agreements, contracts and renewal policies. Through updates to the client that occur at least weekly, it is the job of a consultant to build a relationship with their client, to successfully understand their every need. Customer service is key. By knowing the client’s needs, the consultant will know how best to assess all neighborhoods and residences for their suitability, as well as how best to arrange transport of their personal effects to the property. Departure and arrival dates also fall within their line of responsibility – the property must be ready for the client on the day of their arrival in the UK.
Yet, home search consultants aren’t just limited to organizing a property and its paperwork. Good knowledge of the relocation area is essential since a consultant could be needed to provide orientations and tours. This means knowledge of any local communities, such as places of worship, and an understanding of local schools, amenities, and recreation. Cross-cultural awareness is key – the client’s needs always come first in the home search.
The home search consultant’s job is varied, and as such there are key skills it requires. Relevant property consultancy qualifications are needed, and many available roles depend on prior experience in the property industry and customer service. As a very client facing position, a friendly persona is paramount: on the phone or in person, the client must always be reassured. Uprooting life from one country to another is a stressful process and the consultant’s role is to make this easier. The better you can communicate with clients, landlords and others involved in the property industry, the easier the home search will be.