CapRelo Blog

Barbara Miller

Recent Posts

Connecting the Dots for Transferees: Temporary Housing

Posted by Barbara Miller on Tue, Feb 12, 2013

Finding temporary housing for your employees is about more than just selecting a suitable place to live when they arrive at their new location. It's also about having a relocation policy that makes your employee's life easier, makes your life easier, and encourages many years of goodwill and hard work from your employee.

Using temporary housing is a multi-pronged solution that involves more than just finding an adequate way place to live! What's important is moving your employee in such a way that he or she feels well taken-care of, without spending time and energy that you could more profitably spend elsewhere.

Making Life Easy for Employees Undergoing Relocation

Relocating is never easy for anyone – even when their new job provides much better pay, benefits, or other conditions. The employee relocation process is a critical step in moving your business forward. The way your employee is handled – and what he or she communicates about this to fellow employees – is critical. It's not an exaggeration to say that picking the right relocation company now is an investment in your company's future.

It's important to make things as easy on your employee as possible, so that he or she can focus on their new position as quickly as possible – and with 100% of his or her energies. In the long term, it's also important for your employee to feel well cared-for by the process. The way that you handle relocation now will affect how your employee relates to you in the future, and also how he or she influences other employees to relate to you.

A good relocation policy will provide:

  • Adequate housing (or choice of housing) within an acceptable distance from the employee's new place of work.
  • Close and accessible storage for items that can't be moved into temporary housing.
  • Assistance moving from the original place of residence into temporary housing.
  • Assistance moving from the temporary housing location to permanent housing.

This last point is where many employers (and, unfortunately, relocation companies) drop the ball. It's easy to forget that the employee's relocation is not actually done with when they reach their new location and begin work. For the employee, it isn't truly over until they move into permanent housing.

This can cause a "hiccup" in their performance several months after relocation – one that can sometimes reduce the employee's overall morale, loyalty, and production. There are several ways to handle this transition out of temporary housing; the most important thing is that it is addressed so that your employee is able to spend the majority of his or her energies on work (for the short-to-medium term) and feels cared about in a way that is also communicated to subordinates and co-workers (for the long term).

Making Life Easy for You

Perhaps the chief reason employers seek help from outside relocation agencies is simply because it's easier, and will take less time. Unfortunately, the majority of relocation companies complicate the process: a system with too many moving parts, too many points of contact and/or a supposedly single point of contact that seems to rotate every few weeks – or days!

Download Our Free  Rental Services  Whitepaper

Your life will be much easier if you can find a service provider that will provide you with a single point of contact. Your point of contact needs to be able to answer every question you have - or at the very least, be able to know exactly where to get the answer, and get back to you quickly. But a relocation service can only provide you with this solution if they have adequate experience in the industry, and can leverage relationships and services from a number of sources.

Topics: Temporary Housing, relocating employees

What Does a Relocation BVO Program Entail?

Posted by Barbara Miller on Thu, Jan 24, 2013

house1.jpgA Buyer Value Option (BVO) program for your relocating employee can have several benefits for both your company and your employee.

For your employee, it provides peace of mind, both financially and otherwise. It also allows him or her to concentrate on moving and successfully acclimating to the new work environment.

For more information on real estate considerations for your executive relocation policy, read our free article. 

On your end, a BVO program ensures you get maximum value and productivity from your employee in the shortest amount of time upon relocation. Even more importantly, this type of seller assistance program can massively increase your employee's loyalty and productivity in the long run.

How Does a BVO Program Work?

There are several moving parts to a BVO program. While your company (or likely your relocation company) handles the closing of the property the employee is responsible to list the home up for sale and obtain a bona fide offer.

This doesn't mean that you and your business are left out of the process. In fact, many companies help their employees find a real estate listing agent. Unlike an Appraised Value Offer program, there are no appraisals of the home to determine its fair market value. Instead, the value of the home is determined by the bona fide offer from a prospective purchaser.

Once the contract terms are negotiated, your company - instead of the buyer - purchases the property, and sells it to the buyer. (If you use a relocation management company, they will buy the property on your behalf instead.) If the steps are handled properly and in accordance with IRS guidelines, a benefit of this for your employee is that he or she won't need to report any sales expenses associated with the sale as earned income since there are no reimbursements from the company to the employee. Instead, closing costs and other related fees are paid by you (or by the employee relocation company). This is more than just a pass-through - your company must actually own the home, then sell it to the original interested buyer.

As you might guess, there is some degree of risk involved - but the closing occurs a vast majority of the time. One benefit of this method is the immediate productivity you will secure when your employee can settle into their new position without having to worry about a home sale. This is also an effective way to make sure the employee stays in his or her new position, and doesn't leave due to failure to sell their home.

Finally, it's also a great way to secure employee loyalty, which can have huge real-dollar benefits for your business in the future. Add up all these benefits and you'll see why many so many businesses are still utilizing BVO programs inside of their relocation packages - even given the risks involved.

It's also possible to gain all of the above-listed benefits with none of the risks. An employee relocation company can take care of the entire process for you.

In fact, an employee relocation service can usually take care of it better than most HR departments. They have the knowledge, experience, and connections to make it happen more quickly and work more fluidly than anyone who isn't involved in the relocation business.

Free All-Inclusive Guide  Relocation and U.S Taxes


Topics: corporate relocation program, relocation taxes, Real Estate, Buyer Value Option

Employer and Employee Benefits of House Hunting Trips

Posted by Barbara Miller on Tue, Oct 09, 2012

family-house-for-sale.jpgWhether you are a homeowner or renter, when relocating to a new, unfamiliar area, you certainly would appreciate assistance from your employer. Whether you're a senior executive or a new lower-level hire, all relocating employees can use employer help in finding a new residence.

The best employee relocation policies contain this important feature. They can take various forms, all of which are helpful to transferees. In addition to the obvious monetary benefits, home finding assistance greatly reduces the employee's stress level.

Learn more about developing relocation policies with our free guide.

Employer Benefits

This result is particularly beneficial to employer expectations of transferred employee productivity in the new location. Happy, stress-free employees are productive employees.

Setting reasonable parameters offers cost containment and management benefits for employers. Expense management and control must be matched with valuable benefits for your employees. Home finding assistance and one or more reimbursed house hunting trips achieve this goal.

Common Components in Relocation Programs

Finding a new home is stressful for employees in good or bad real estate markets. Reducing this stress level by offering home-finding help is always important. The best executive relocation policies usually feature some consistent benefits, like:

  • Hasten and smooth the procedure of locating, buying and occupying the employee's new home
  • Provide for one or two home-finding excursions, for seven to 10 days total, for both the transferee and his/her spouse or domestic partner
  • Help selecting a trained and experienced real estate professional.
  • Reimbursement for normal and customary house hunting expenses on an "as-submitted" or lump sum basis.
Often, the most vital component is selecting the "right" real estate agent. The most respected, experienced professionals deliver more than just knowledge of the area and the best homes for sale or rent. These agents have a strong network to find preferred homes, condos or apartments for the transferee. They also assist in narrowing their search criteria, hastening the process of selecting the most appropriate properties.

While neither employee nor employer wants transferees to "rush to judgment" in selecting their new home, speed and efficiency are essential. The move must be completed as quickly as possible to have your employee become productive at the new location. Employers need this result. Transferees also need to minimize moving stress and get their families settled into new homes as smoothly as possible.

Most Common Home-Finding Expense Reimbursements

Transportation costs. Including airfare, auto rentals, mileage costs and appropriate miscellaneous expenses (tolls, parking, auto service, etc.)

Temporary lodging. Including hotels, motels or other short-stay options for the house hunters.

Food and meals. Most solid relocation policies offer per diem allowances of around $40 per day, per adult house hunter, without requiring receipt submission. When no per diem allowance is offered, transferees submit receipts for family meal reimbursement.

Daily child care costs. Common allowances are around $50 per day per child, up to a maximum $100 per day for all minor children.

These covered expenses, along with other miscellaneous reimbursements, apply directly to the home finding activities of the transferee. Home sale and/or purchase assistance is covered in additional policy areas. House hunting assistance reimbursement parameters and maximum amounts, if any, are specified or negotiated as needed, per policy language.

Free eBook:  A Guide to Developing  Relocation Policies


Topics: relocation benefits, Home Buyers, destination services, House Hunting Trips

The Current State of Real Estate

Posted by Barbara Miller on Tue, Aug 21, 2012

After several years of sluggish sales, declining markets, and increased REO's we finally see a light at the end of this tunnel that should help transferees trying to sell homes. Across the country, markets are starting to recover with increased sales and decreased inventories, causing a modest increase in prices. In addition, overall mortgage rates are the lowest in 50 years with 30 year fixed mortgage interest rates as low as 3.66%.

We also see the "shadow" inventory of foreclosures and REO's starting to fall. This is good news for the economy, but it also means that there aren't as many homes available to purchase. Distressed properties are still available, but aggressive refinancing programs, as well as the normal foreclosure process, have removed many homes from inventory. In addition, asset management companies have now started looking to the investor community to sell distressed properties in a packaged arrangement, further reducing available inventory.

Another great piece of news is that Congress has passed a five-year reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, extending the program through September 2017. This means that homeowners who have been waiting can now sell properties and no longer have to pay for expensive private flood insurance.

Topics: REO, Real Estate

Do Your Employee Loss-on-Sale Relocation Policies Need a Second Look?

Posted by Barbara Miller on Mon, Apr 23, 2012

The fear of losing money on a home sale is one of the key factors that keeps employees from wanting to relocate. It's a valid fear in today's market, especially if employees homes are already “under water” (that is, they owe more on the mortgage than the home is worth) due to increased interest rates, second mortgages or home equity lines of credit.

One way corporations are making the decision to relocate easier for homeowners is with loss-on-sale policies that help employees recoup some of the financial loss they may face when they sell their current home. If your company doesn't have any loss-on-sale relocation policies -- or if you have one that hasn't been effective in increasing your workforce mobility, it may be time to give your employee loss-on-sale relocation policies a second look.

Loss-on-sale policies can add as much as 33% to a company's relocation costs. But not having such a policy can make employee relocation difficult, if not impossible in some cases. The most successful loss-on-sale relocation policies share financial responsibility with the seller in a way both parties find equitable.

3 Benefits of Incorporating  Property Management

Capital Relocation Services has been successfully implementing consistent and equitable loss on sale relocation policies for its clients since the start of the real estate crisis, and will help your company keep from reinventing the wheel each time you deal with an employee with a home that faces a loss-on-sale.

Topics: relocation benefits, loss-on-sale relocation policy

How to Beat the Stress of Relocation in the Current Housing Market

Posted by Barbara Miller on Wed, Oct 05, 2011

If the stress of buying, selling, packing up and moving into someplace new has your workforce quivering in their boots about relocation, work with an executive relocation company that has a proven track record of delivering a stress-free, hands-off experience.

These days, there’s enough worry about the real estate market without having to overburden your employees with the stress of relocation. For many of your employees, the notion of uprooting their lives to follow a greater job opportunity halfway across the country is simply not an option – or least not one they’ll enter into eagerly, considering all of the work they’ll need to put in to find a real estate company capable of selling their home in a down market. To be able to place your best people in positions they’re perfectly suited for, hire an executive relocation company to help expedite matters.

Executive relocation companies don’t just arrange for a moving van to show up on the day your employee is scheduled to uproot to a new city. The involvement on the part of the executive relocation company actually begins much earlier than that, considering the needs of the individual employee and their family, and plotting a unique strategy to handle all challenges quickly and with minimal complications. This includes:

• Matching your employee up with a real estate agency that can sell their property quickly.
• Putting your employee in contact with a realtor capable of finding them a new place to live.
• Offering your employee valuable resources to help them determine in what area to settle down.
• Facilitating arrangements between your employee and the moving company.

3 Benefits of Incorporating  Property Management
If the stress of buying, selling, packing up and moving into someplace new has your workforce quivering in their boots about relocation, work with an executive relocation company that has a proven track record of delivering a stress-free, hands-off experience. You won’t regret it, and your employees will thank you for it.

Topics: relocation management services, Relocation Services

Your Relocation Policy Should Address What Your Talent Wants Most

Posted by Barbara Miller on Thu, Sep 22, 2011

It's hard to achieve 100% in anything. For baseball players, getting on base 33% of the time makes them excellent in their field. But relocation isn't baseball. If you want to manage hidden corporate relocation costs and achieve a successful group move, retaining 33% of your employees just isn't enough. How can you improve your retention average with a better corporate relocation policy?

Address Key Employees' Biggest Concerns

Prior to a move, it's important to ascertain your key employees' biggest concerns about relocation. Are they worried about how aging parents will make the transition? Focused on finding the best schools for their kids? Apprehensive about whether or not their spouse will be able to find a job? Or the big one: selling their home in today's real estate market. These are just some of the worries relocating employees face.

decision2 resized 600

“Just Ask”

If you're planning a group move, you'll want to address your key employees' biggest concerns prior to the move. If you're not sure what's most important to your employees, there's an easy way to find out: Ask them. Once you know the questions your employees considering relocation will ask, you'll be able to provide the answers that will help sway their decision to move.

Group Moves Are Still “Human” Moves

A group move or other corporate relocation is a huge undertaking, but at the heart of any company relocation policy is one objective: keeping people happy so they stay with your company and get back to work faster, with their minds on their jobs and not the move.

At CapRelo, we understand people. If you need help with the process of surveying your employees and convincing them that your new location is not only a great place to live and work, but an area where employees and their families will thrive, we can help.

We can structure a corporate relocation package that addresses your employees' key arguments against moving, whether those arguments involve home sales, logistics or quality of life. If you're stressed about the prospect of relocation and need a new corporate relocation policy to ease your worries, we can help.

Download our Guide: How to Increase Employee Retention After a Relocation



Topics: group move, Home Selling and Purchase Assistance, Corporate Relocation Costs, corporate relocation program, relocating employees

Business Relocation Policy: Understanding “Tiers” and “Status”

Posted by Barbara Miller on Fri, Sep 09, 2011

If you are restructuring your business relocation policy or introducing a corporate relocation policy for the first time, one of the questions you may consider is how to differentiate employees in a tiered policy.

pyramid resized 600

First, it's important to understand the difference between “tiers” and an employee's status. An employee's status refers not to their status within the company, but their moving status. In other words, it addresses the services an employee may need when he or she moves. For instance, is the employee:

  • a homeowner or renter?
  • single or married?
  • a new hire or current employee?

Additionally, an employee's status may address individualized needs. Does the employee have:

  • kids in schools?
  • elderly parents that may require care or special services?
  • pets that require transfer and licensing?

Understanding Tiers

An employee's tier is related to their standing within the company. Employee tiers may be determined based on salary, title (job level), seniority or a combination of all three. It's important to be consistent in determining employee tiers and to set your business relocation policy and stick with it, in order to avoid resentment from employees if exceptions are made for certain relocating individuals and, similarly, to avoid lawsuits if one employee believes another is receiving special treatment or added bonuses or incentives to encourage the move.

If you need help restructuring your tiered relocation policy, give CapRelo a call. Our experience in the industry, ability to provide benchmarking studies to help you create a competitive package, and extensive business relocation package knowledge will help you keep corporate relocation stress-free.


Free eBook:  A Guide to Developing  Relocation Policies


Topics: Home Selling and Purchase Assistance, Tiered relocation packages, corporate relocation program, Buyer Value Option

Home Relocation Packages that Work for Everyone

Posted by Barbara Miller on Mon, Jul 18, 2011

home relocation“Compromise” is an important word in the real estate industry right now. Sellers may have to compromise on their asking price, offer sellers' concessions or take other steps to ensure the fast sale of their home. Buyers must navigate a tricky mortgage approval process that could involve extra paperwork, delays or interest rates higher than they could get a few years ago.

But no one is compromising more than companies attempting to relocate employees quickly and efficiently. Home relocation packages are skewed toward fast home sales, nearly at any cost to the company. After all, a quick home sale:

  • Creates less stress for the relocating employee
  • Improves the chances of employee retention following a move
  • Contributes to a faster return-to-productivity

Learn more about real estate considerations in your relocation policy with our free article.

Encouraging Fast Home Sales

There are several ways to encourage fast home sales, including:

  • Loss-on-sale benefits
  • Fast home sale bonuses
  • Home staging services
  • Hiring the most qualified real estate agents

You must find that balance between fast home sales and staying within your corporate relocation budget. Sometimes, it's more about the approach to home sales than it is about spending more money. For instance, the top real estate agents that work with you or your relocation management company don't necessarily cost more than an agency your employee might hire to sell his home, but they may get the job done more quickly. Or, by spending extra for home staging services, your employee's home may sell at a higher price, minimizing loss-on-sale benefits and resulting in a happier, more productive employee.

Real Estate Considerations Article

Topics: relocation packages, Corporate Relocation Costs, corporate relocation program, relocating employees, relocation management company, executive relocation package

Relocation Assistance: The New Reality

Posted by Barbara Miller on Mon, Jun 13, 2011

During the real estate boom, the challenges of providing relocation assistance to employees had a completely different face. Homes sold quickly—usually at a substantial profit. With interest rates so low, most relocating employees could find (and finance) an even nicer home in their new region while lowering their monthly mortgage payments.

For many people, the view was on the short term, with the attitude that if they didn't like the new location, they could move again. After all, both jobs and houses were easy to come by. And that Adjustable Rate Mortgage? They could worry about that—or just re-finance—when the time came.

Relocation assistance packages emphasized generous bonuses to keep top talent, but relocation (for employees and companies) was still less expensive in the long run.

Today, relocating could mean:

  • Selling a home at a loss
  • Moving into temporary housing while waiting for the right house at the right price
  • Jumping through hoops to be approved for a mortgage
  • Months of stress and traveling from a current home to the new location while waiting for a home to sell
  • Home staging for a quick sale at a fair price

Relocation Assistance Packages in the New Decade

V  CRS KristinS Blog Posts Blog Photos real estate agent handshake resized 600

Today's best relocation assistance packages emphasize lining up the right people and processes to sell homes quickly while minimizing a loss (rather than to maximize profits). It means forging alliances with the best real estate agents and home stagers to get a quick sale. It also means connecting employees with mortgage experts who can walk them through the approval process and do whatever it takes to get a mortgage.

Selling a home is stressful; relocation assistance should make it less so. If you find real estate issues to be a major stumbling block in successful employee relocation, give CapRelo a call to see how we can help you with our Low-Stress Relocation Process.

Topics: Corporate Relocation Costs

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