Relocating for a job or personal reason is not easy. Relocating these days can be even more difficult especially if you have to sell your home first.
According to USA Today, “The leap is especially big for the nearly 25 percent of U.S. mortgage holders who owe more than their homes are worth–or will likely bring at sale.”
However, the housing slump may not have as much of an impact on employee mobility as some may think. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that moves associated with job opportunities remained steady from 2007 to 2009.
With a high unemployment rate, people are opting to take a job even if it means relocating or taking a loss on their home.
The good news is that companies are realizing how difficult it can be to relocate. About a third of 100 companies in various industries throughout the nation changed their relocation programs in 2009 and 2010 to help with the move, according to a survey by Worldwide Employee Relocation Council (ERC), a national trade group.
In the past, it was common for companies to cover real estate commissions and closing costs, but today’s companies might have to fork out more cash for quality employees. Due to today’s market conditions, there are companies that will pay some of the loss of a home sale. According to USA Today, depending on the employee’s job level, that can range from $10,000 to more than $100,000.
However, the “buyout” programs that were more common before the recession are not as popular today. These programs, offered by some companies, helped get the relocating employee’s home sold. Typically, there would be a time period of 60 to 120 days and after that if the home didn’t sell the company would use a private third-party firm to initiate the buyout. Then the employer’s mortgage service would sell the home. This is not common today.
It’s much more common for companies to review each employment situation and then decide. It’s no longer a blanket relocation policy; benefits are decided on a case-by-case basis.
If you’re facing a possible relocation, then knowledge and action are two key ingredients for a stress-free relocation. Here are a few tips.
First, understand that companies want to help valuable employees make their move. The majority of companies surveyed believe that the relocation policies/benefits in place in their company help retain quality employees.
Be sure to ask about the specific relocation policies/benefits. Don’t think that just because something wasn’t mentioned it doesn’t exist. Companies now have policies that accommodate short sales “while others have increased the cap on their loss-on-sale assistance,” according to the Worldwide ERC.
Negotiate with the company and make sure your needs and wants are known. Companies are customizing benefits to fit their relocating hires. Make sure that you are clear about your financial picture so that you can accurately negotiate with the company to get your needs met.
Weigh your options carefully before agreeing to accept the relocation. Find out about any tax benefits of a move. Some moving expenses are tax deductible.
Consider renting your home instead of selling it. Using a qualified third-party can make the process successful.
Relocating doesn’t have to be stressful. Be sure you understand a company’s relocation offer and then carefully think through the entire process.