With so many impediments to relocation today, from traditional issues such as spouse career concerns to more recent problems such as “upside down” homes, companies, employers and relocation management companies are clamoring for a more creative, flexible approach. Without creativity and flexibility, many moves simply won’t happen.
This is where “cafeteria”-style relocation benefits come in. A cafeteria approach can help meet employees’ needs for flexibility, control overall program costs, and most importantly, enable companies to achieve their business objectives in a challenging environment. Cafeteria relocation benefits had a flash of popularity in the 1980s and 1990s but faded from the spotlight as more structured, tiered polices gained favor. (more…)
Careful cultural assessment and training can mean the difference between a successful assignment and a costly, failed one. Companies commonly invest $1 million or more in an international assignment, yet about 30 percent of assignees end up returning early – and an alarming 70 percent fall short of the goals established for the assignment. Too often, these failed international relocation assignments are blamed on poor housing choices, unhappy spouses and children or misdirected emotions, when in fact the real reason is cultural disconnection.
Select the right candidate
One of the mistakes companies commonly make is to pick the candidate with the best technical qualifications, with little consideration of how he or she (and his or her family) will function in a different location and culture. For example, it’s typically assumed that a hard-charging, effective New York executive will be equally successful in Tokyo. In fact, taking an employee out of his or her comfort zone can disrupt both professional and personal rhythms, upsetting the family unit and compromising workplace effectiveness. To succeed in a markedly different environment, the candidate (and his or her family) must possess flexibility and a sense of adventure.
Before an offer is made, a certified cross-cultural training provider can use targeted tests and exercises to assess the family’s flexibility and adaptability for an international assignment. Human resources professionals and hiring managers can use this information to determine the likelihood of a successful assignment and even to build a pool of vetted, prospective assignees.
One of the things we’ve seen time and time again in our business is that the best relocation policies reflect current realities of the real estate market, with aggressive home marketing assistance programs and incentives to employees to price their homes realistically. Still, in today’s environment, it’s inevitable that some properties will end up in inventory. Here are a few of the best practices we recommend to help minimize total program cost and the amount of times homes spend in inventory.
It’s important to understand how a home value was determined as well as the current status of the listings that were used in the appraisal. Circumstances change over time. You may find that the home should be listed at the anticipated selling price — or even below — to gain the attention of buyers.
Are you a corporate professional looking for solutions to your employee relocation challenges?
Join TRC Global Mobility this September for a complimentary relocation summit! Network with fellow professionals in a friendly, stimulating environment.
September 14-16, 2011 at the Intercontinental Milwaukee.
Worldwide ERC® has approved the Summit for 9 CRP recertification credits!
Culturally Thriving…or Merely Surviving: Why Cultural Training is the Critical Determinant for Success on International Assignment
– Dean Foster, President, Dean Foster Associates
Relocation Tax and Legal Update
– Peter Scott, Tax Counsel, Worldwide ERC®
The Economy, Housing Demographics and the Housing Market
– Mark Eppli, Professor and Bell Chair in Real Estate, Marquette University
Trends & Topics: What’s Hot, What’s History and How it Will Affect our Industry and Your Program
– Moderated by Alan Trippel, CRP, President, Trippel Survey & Research, LLC
Today’s Mortgage Market: Strategies for Success
Tom Dempsey, Vice President, Relocation Program, Quicken Loans
Policy RX: An interactive discussion of policy prescriptions for your relocation headaches
John Sculley, SCRP, Vice President & Managing Director, RIS Consulting Group
Cathy Bauman, CRP, GMS, Account Executive, Global Mobility Services, Runzheimer International
Contact TRC Global Mobility to learn more!
How to Handle a Loss On Sale
As a result of real estate market declines of the past three years, many transferees now find themselves in a situation in which their home’s selling price is less than what they originally paid for it. This has made loss-on-sale provisions an important policy consideration. While only 40% or so of U.S. companies offer loss-on-sale assistance, most are aware of the issue and considering their options.
If your company needs to deploy critical employees across the United States or around the world, it may be time to implement a loss-on-sale policy or to evaluate the one you have.
Here are a few key questions that need to be answered when developing a loss-on-sale benefit policy, along with a few of our thoughts on the topics. (more…)
Navigating the Short Sale Process With TRC
TRC Global Mobility has worked with many companies and organizations to facilitate short sales. If a short sale is indicated, a transferee whose company is working with TRC should follow this process:
1. Contact the lender. The transferee must identify and reach the person who is responsible for handling short sales and who has the authority to make decisions regarding short sales. The transferee should try to determine whether the deficit will be forgiven by the lender. This part of the process can be time-consuming.
2. Submit a letter of authorization to the lender. To permit the lender to disclose personal information, the transferee must submit a letter with his or her name, the date, the property address, the loan reference number and the real estate agent’s name and contact information. This letter should introduce TRC Global Mobility as the third-party relocation company that will provide the transferee with a guaranteed buyout offer. The letter should give the lender permission to talk with interested parties about the sale of the home. (more…)
Dealing With Short Sales, Part 1: The “Least Bad” Alternative
With the continued decline of real estate market values, many homeowners are finding themselves locked into mortgages with outstanding loan balances greater than the property’s present value. This puts these homeowners in a precarious situation, with several unattractive options:
Using Tax Laws To Reduce Moving Costs
It’s a fact that tax assistance benefits cost an average 55-60 cents for every dollar of taxable relocation expense. In other words, a $10,000 lump sum payment could result in $5,500 to $6,000 of tax assistance costs.
While potentially substantial, these charges can be mitigated: By properly structuring relocation benefits, taking advantage of relocation-friendly tax laws and customizing tax assistance policy to the needs of transferring employees, companies can control and potentially reduce tax assistance costs. (more…)
Relocation Tax Assistance: Part 1
A substantial and often hidden expense
Tax assistance is an expensive and sometimes hidden cost of corporate relocation programs. In fact, it’s the third most expensive benefit in a relocation program, on average, after home sale and household goods.More specifically, the 2008 Worldwide ERC® Transfer Volume and Cost Survey reported that it cost an average $76,600 to move an existing employee, of which more than 10% was spent on employee tax assistance benefits. It can cost more to provide tax assistance than to pay for an employee’s house hunting, temporary living and final trip expenses combined!
Welcome to the TRC Global Mobility blog, which is designed to provide the latest insights on domestic and international corporate and government relocation services. Our goal with this blog is to provide useful information to human resources professionals, relocation managers, realtors, appraisers, and other relocation industry professionals.
Drawing on our more than 20 years of experience providing personalized corporate relocation services backed by advanced technology and thought leadership, we hope to provide fresh perspectives to our readers, as well as imaginative and resourceful advice on different situations. Our topics will include best practices, tax changes, service procurement, employee benefits and services, benchmarking, real estate market information and relevant current events, relocation news and trends.