Relocation Home Purchase
One of the most common and equally perplexing questions that an employee will ask him or herself after accepting a relocation to a new city is: “Where am I going to live?” This is obviously a very complex question that requires a complex answer. And that answer will vary considerably based on an employee’s unique list of housing priorities, which are often anchored by the individual wants and needs of that employee and his or her family.
To further compound matters, the employee may not be familiar with the new city and is thus unsure as to how and where to begin the home finding process. So, the chore of finding a place to live can seem very daunting, to say the least.
Fortunately, for employers that outsource their relocation to an RMC (Relocation Management Company), the stress of that process is eased significantly. This is because real estate services and home purchasing assistance are often provided to the employee as part of their relocation benefits package. The type of real estate assistance can also depend largely on the employee’s circumstance and preference.
For example, not all employees will want to buy a home in the new location at the onset of the relocation. Some employees might want to take more of a “try it before they buy it,” kind of approach. In this scenario, the employee might opt to lease a property for six months or a year before taking the plunge into homeownership in their new city. This allows them to become more acclimated to the city and get a better feel for a specific area or neighborhood.
For others, purchasing a new home in their new location right away might be the most ideal option. It means that they won’t have to move twice, and that they will be able to settle into their new life in the new location a bit faster. This tends to be the most common approach among employees who sell their home in their previous location with the intent of purchasing a new one in their new city.
So, let’s take a closer look at the relocation home purchase process.
Vetted Real Estate Partners
The success of the relocation home purchase process begins with the relationships that exist between the RMC and their vetted real estate partners. At VERSA, we only partner with the best of the best Realtors and real estate firms throughout the country. As such, we rely on their knowledge, experience, and expertise in the markets that they represent. This is based on proven performance and measurable results.
And when it comes to some of the largest cities in the country, with equally vast real estate markets, our real estate partners drill down to the specific areas, neighborhoods, and communities that are of interest to an employee.
Furthermore, it is a best practice in the relocation industry for RMCs to choose to work with real estate firms that have a Relocation Department with a dedicated staff that oversees the real estate activities between the employee and the real estate agent who is assigned to assist him or her. Thus, when moving to a city that is unfamiliar, working with a Realtor who specializes in relocation has many advantages.
Realtors Who Are Relocation Specialists
Realtors who are specifically trained in relocation typically undergo mandatory education in order to be eligible to work with their brokerage’s relocation clientele. In addition, they are generally required to have a certain number of years of real estate experience under their belt before being eligible. And, while these requirements might vary from one real estate firm to another, it is common practice for these firms to establish minimum standards in order for their agents to be eligible for relocation business.
The relocation training is also designed to help real estate agents gain a deep understanding about the needs and expectations of relocation clients, which can be very different from local buyers. For example, since relocation buyers don’t always know where they want to live, they might want to see many homes in several neighborhoods and communities before making their final decision. That means that the agent needs to be prepared to show them multiple areas, and must also be extremely knowledgeable about each one.
It is the role of the real estate agent to educate the relocating employee on the local market, discuss current housing trends and challenges, and to be a true advocate in representing that buyer throughout the transaction.
Additionally, the agent is expected to explain the homebuying process, and all of the other real estate nuances that might vary greatly from state-to-state. This includes contracts, customary disclosures and inspections, insurance, property taxes, homestead exemptions, and any number of other items that might come into question.
The Relocation Home Finding Process
The relocation home finding process generally begins with a detailed discussion between the real estate agent and the employee as to what the employee is looking for in terms of a new home and community. A good place to start is for the employee to identify their top priorities. This will enable the agent to assist the employee in narrowing down the available choices, and find a home and community that best fits the employee’s criteria.
The typical home finding priorities generally include:
- The type of area, neighborhood, or community desired
- Type of housing (single-family home, townhouse, condominium, mid-rise, high-rise, etc.)
- Housing attributes (size of the lot, living area square footage, number of bedrooms, floorplan, swimming pool, etc.)
- New construction or resale property (age of property)
- Price range
- Proximity to work/commute time
- Lifestyle preferences (urban or suburban)
- Neighborhood and/or area amenities
- Resale potential
The agent will show the employee neighborhoods and properties that meet the specified criteria when the employee arrives in the new city for their home finding trip. During that time, the agent will also help orient the employee (and family, if applicable) to the area by showing various points of interest, such as shopping, dining, healthcare facilities and hospitals, places of worship, parks and recreation, area attractions, and more.
Then, when the employee is ready to move forward on a particular property, the agent will provide market data and statistics to best enable the employee to make a fair market offer. The agent will negotiate the contract on the employee’s behalf and provide valuable guidance throughout the entire transaction. This includes the inspection period, negotiating any repairs to be performed on the property, and any other issues that could arise.
Additional Services and Resources
In addition to the home finding aspect of the relocation home purchase, the RMC also provides the employee with additional services and access to valuable resources.
Here are a few examples:
Mortgage Services: The RMC can help the employee secure their new mortgage through the relationships that they have with their preferred financial and banking partners. These partners are able to offer competitive mortgage programs that are tailored to suit the employee’s needs. In addition, they are able to extend special benefits, such as low relocation mortgage interest rates, discounted lender fees, and priority service for quick closings.
Temporary Housing: Temporary housing, also referred to as corporate housing, is a relocation benefit that can be provided to a relocating employee. In general, it provides them with a short-term interim housing solution.
School Search: A school search tool is a great resource for navigating the educational options in the employee’s new city. It provides information on public and private schools, including their performance statistics, enrollment procedures, and other pertinent data.
Cost of Living Calculator: A cost of living calculator is a great way to compare the costs and livability scores between your current city and your new location.
City-Data Community Information: City-Data is a website that provides informative profiles for every city in the U.S. It’s a great site for employees to gather important information about their new city.
A full list of relocation resources can be found via the VERSA website by clicking on the following link: Relocation Resources. And, don’t forget to check back often, as we are constantly adding valuable content to our Resources Page.
At VERSA, we are focused on the individual needs of the relocating employee and their family, whether they are moving for the very first time or have made many moves across the country. We do this successfully by simplifying an otherwise cumbersome process, and providing the right counseling, the right information, the right solutions, and delivering exemplary relocation management services.
Please contact us anytime and we will be happy to answer your questions about the relocation home purchase process, or any other aspect of relocation.