Thursday, September 28, 2006

Relocation Packages

You know after 20 plus years of helping folks buy and sell real estate in Denver Colorado I am continually learning new things. The other day I was counseling with someone who was trying to get a new job across the country and was looking at the costs of relocating. Just the moving truck is allot! Anyway, as we visited it became clear this young family had no idea what lay ahead of them, in terms of tax liabilities (I am not a CPA), moving expenses, and costs. So I ran through some of the scenarios for them...(btw, these are not absolutes):

Here are some variations I have seen on relocation packages:

1: "Your check will be in Denver on the 1st of the month. If you want it you had better be there". Ever heard of someone getting "transferred" this way? It sure makes life more challenging! But you know who is paying for what!

2: "Here is a BIG signing bonus (10-50k) to make your move. Whatever you do not use is yours. We are excited to have you join our office in Lone Tree" Sounds great but make sure to take about 30% out of it right away to pay the INCOME TAXES you will owe???? Yes it is true this kind of payment to you is 1099 miscellaneous income and the IRS will expect their share at the end of the year! Again, not a tax advisor so your number will change. Make sure you talk to your tax advisor.

3: "Your new company will pay for all your moving expenses! Just make sure to keep track of them and submit an expense report when you are done." Questions to ask here are: "What moving expenses? Moving company or U haul? Real estate expenses, on both the old and new homes? Temporary housing for how long? Can I take my spouse on a get acquainted trip? House hunting trips? Help without he trailing spouses employment? And the really BIG one: IS IT BEING GROSSED UP TO PAY TAXES???? Yeah, that is right, it is taxable income and folks will want their share.

4: "We will even help you sell your home". Normally this means they will refer you to some real estate agents locally who have been "approved" by the relocation department (read third party relocation company) who will market your home for you while you are still living in the house at your old address. You can still choose to use the Realtor of your choice. The "relocation department" will also recommend Realtors in the new location, set up moving companies to call you, and generally assist in the process. Ask for a bonus of a percent of the sale price if you sell outside of the "relocation department". There are more than a few "terms and definitions" you need to know so please go to our relocation glossary at

5: "We will buy your house, we will give you a loan to buy your new house. Don't worry about a thing" or a buy out and full relocation package. This is normally reserved for the higher management and is extremely expensive for the employer. Everything is negotiable and on the table.

And that last note is one to carry when you negotiating a relocation package.

2 other thoughts which seem consistent from what I have heard over the years:
"The guy who hired me promised but the human resources said they did not do that for my pay level". Just as a new hire joins the company the HR department is trying to save money and creates an automatic riff. I don't get that philosophy but there will be those who new transferees or hires who do not challenge HR and they do not get what was promised so the company saves money.

And remember, moving to Denver or Highlands Ranch, Parker or Greenwood Village, check with your tax advisor to see what the ramifications of your move are in your situation.

Lone Tree, Colorado real estate, Highlands Ranch real estate, Littleton, Castle Rock, Centennial, Englewood, Parker Co, and metro Denver Colorado real estate property listings mls is available at including searches for properties and homes.

No comments: