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OFF THE BEATEN CAREER PATH

Relocation Coordinator Teaches All Things Beltway

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Trudy Bluestein explains the culture of the Beltway commute to newcomers. She answers questions about school districts, grocery shopping and what a townhouse is.

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Although she has a real estate license, Bluestein, a senior relocation coordinator at Long & Foster, sees herself as more of a detective or a counselor. During 20 years in the relocation field, she has moved several times -- to Hawaii, Washington state, Florida and three times to the Washington area, mostly for her ex-husband's career.

"I empathize with transferees," she said. "They're so stressed."

Sometimes she must make them understand that their hopes don't match their budgets. Other times she tracks down schools for special-needs children.

Some requests are odd -- such as a haunted house search or an apartment for someone with "two pit bulls, a ferret and a cat."

"No two days are alike," she said. She likes that, as well as the array of people she introduces to the area.

Most people transferring to Washington are at the pinnacle of their careers. "They work such incredible hours," Bluestein said. So she provides them with resources and connections. She manages pet relocations, temporary housing, moving companies and relocation policies.

Besides a deep knowledge of the region, she says that humor, flexibility and an ability to multi-task are key characteristics for anyone in the relocation field. During the busier months -- March through October -- 12-hour workdays are common, she says.

"I want to know as it's happening that it's working," Bluestein said. And she wants to know that clients are happy in their new homes, with that 20-minute commute or huge backyard they requested.

-- Vickie Elmer


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