In parts one and two of this blog series we discussed homeowner transferees who are able to sell their home but cannot afford to buy another one. Since so many of these “reluctant renters” have needs that go well beyond the basic renter package, companies can find themselves with numerous exceptions and the possibility of inequitable treatment and unintended precedents. To fully address the varied needs of today’s renter population, it’s worth considering several tiers of renter benefits.
For today’s reluctant renters, potential benefits could include:Property management. In cases where the employee has participated actively in the home-sale effort, followed all marketing and pricing recommendations and the home still has not sold, fixed-duration property management services can allow the transferee to move into a suitable rental property at the new location.
Duplicate housing allowance. A duplicate housing allowance can complement property management services. The company reimburses the rental or mortgage payment (whichever is lower) for a fixed term, while the departure home marketing process continues.
More comprehensive destination services. Since the basic rental finding tour likely will not suffice for more established current homeowners and families, a longer “executive” tour could be considered, with an agenda directly tied to the family’s needs. School search assistance, for example, can help a family pinpoint neighborhood options.
Spouse/partner career assistance. Even two-income families may find themselves transitioning to a rental property. Spouse/partner career assistance can help mitigate at least one issue in an already challenging relocation.
Creative household goods shipping arrangements. When the departure home remains on the market and the transferee is moving to a rental, options such as split shipments can make sense: Some goods can remain behind to stage the departure home while others can be shipped to the destination rental.
Potential for Cost Savings
According to Worldwide ERC’s 2010 U.S. Transfer Volume & Cost Survey, the average cost to move a current employee renter is $20,750, versus $90,017 for a current homeowner. This homeowner figure does not consider potentially substantial loss-on-sale benefits. Even if the average renter figure is increased somewhat to include enhanced services, the company will be ahead of the game. And of course, these new renters will be far easier to relocate in the future when the need arises.
Providing Targeted, Valuable Relocation Assistance
If we value these employees enough that we are prepared to invest in moving them, we should be willing to take a more flexible and holistic approach to employee mobility. By resisting the instinct to classify transferees as renters or homeowners without knowing their situation or mindset, you can deliver far more targeted and valuable assistance. In doing so, you will better utilize key human resources and reduce costs while preserving transferees’ dignity and worth.