Filed under: Services
The needs of the wealthy often require quick moves and the ultimate in discretion. That's where services like The Home Zone Company come in. Laura Naramore, a former corporate consultant, specializes in helping clients make lifestyle transitions whether it's creating a new life for retirees or helping an executive get a new footing in a strange city. How does one get into the business of helping the wealthy relocate and what does it entail? Laura Naramore gives me more details in our mini-interview:
Can you define in one sentence what The Home Zone Company does?
The Home Zone Company manages the entire process of lifestyle asset acquisition, which starts with location research and property scouting and ends with a fully renovated, staffed and provisioned lifestyle asset. ("Lifestyle Asset" is the category for boats, jets and homes.)
How did you decide to start this business?
I was frustrated by the inefficiency I experienced securing my own homes. First, the real estate agents are paid by sellers, prohibited by law and discouraged by self-interest from sharing relevant information and limited in scope to very tight geographic boundaries. The system works fine for people with narrow geographic options, but it is a time-wasting business model if you want to buy a secondary home "where it is warm in the winter". After months of research, hundreds of phone calls, dozens of look-see trips and finally finding a property by navigating all those agents, the demands on my time just got more intensive: I realized that I was the only nexus where my banker, lawyers, real estate agents, general contractors, designer, mover and employment agencies met.
All we wanted was an enjoyable bolt-hole but in order to get it I had to indulge this overwhelming, otherwise irrelevant cast of characters in my daily life. I joked one night to my husband that what we really needed was a lifestyle COO to manage all these P&Ls, and the company was born.
Who is your typical client?
What my clients have in common is cash flow, a sense of urgency, a deep sense of privacy and a preference for results without process. The circumstances for which they hire me vary. A pending divorce, transitioning senior parents, a change in financial circumstances and other "dislocation" events drive the majority of my referrals.
What's the strangest request you've ever gotten?
The strangest requests for me are the conspiracy paranoia ones- -recently, I was asked to pose as a prospective buyer to unmask a coalition of realtors who were suspected of intentionally driving my client's multi-million dollar property into foreclosure so that they could buy it themselves, flip it and share the profits. And what seemed exotic to me at first, like setting up love-nests or tucking away children, is now just part of the lifestyle ecosystem.
What's the average cost for your services?
We are hired on a project basis for individuals or on retainer for family offices. Our average retainer is $25,000 and our average project fee is in the $6-8k range. We are not paid in any way by the service providers with whom we engage on behalf of our clients.