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When to Discuss Relocation Expenses

written by: Jillian Peterson•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 5/24/2011

It can be tough to determine when to discuss relocation expenses if offered a job. This article covers each stage of the planning and negotiation process to help ensure you get the most out of your new opportunity.

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    Relocation

    162243 loading zone If you are wondering when to discuss relocation expenses if offered a job, you are not alone. Negotiating the terms of a job offer when you are interviewing for local positions can be difficult, but if the new job requires a move it can become very challenging to resolve. Many people are not sure of how to negotiate a relocation package, and as a result end up paying for much of their moving expenses out of pocket. The key to negotiating a comprehensive relocation package is proper planning and timing. The negotiations should begin early in the interviewing process, and will involve a lot of research on your end.

    Photo Credit: sxc.hu/162243

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    During the Interview Process

    The question may be when to discuss relocation expenses if offered a job, but the negotiation process starts during the first interview. While you are interviewing with the company, the manager will inevitably ask you if you have any questions about the company or the position. Begin by asking questions directly about the job as you normally would in any interview. After you get the basics out of the way, casually ask what type of relocation assistance the company is planning to offer for the position.

    The goal of this question is not to negotiate, but to walk away from the interview understanding what terms the negotiation process will start with. Make detailed notes of the response you get, but do not push for more details or hard numbers. Find out the details of where the position will be located, and let the interviewer know that you are excited about the opportunity and want to look into the area. This may prompt the manager into telling you more about the area, but the worse case scenario is that you have enough details to begin your research.

    If you think the interview went well and are interested in the opportunity, begin researching the area and get a feel for the cost of renting or buying a home in the area. Unless the manager indicated that they organize your move and hire the moving company, request a few quotes from well known moving companies to find out how much your expense would be. If you have a house to sell or rent out when you move, contact a real estate agent and let them know you may possibly need assistance, and get the details on the expenses and how well real estate is moving in your area.

    Complete an analysis of your current financial situation and document your findings. Before serious negotiations begin you will need to know how much you owe on your home, what your credit score looks like, and how much of an increase in cost of living there will be at your new location.

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    Negotiating the Relocation

    298459 packing cases Relocation packages vary immensely from one company to the next. A smaller company may only cover your moving company fee, while a national corporation may cover everything from the move to agreeing to buy your house if it does not sell. Here are some of the basic elements of a relocation package to consider before negotiations begin:

    House Hunting - Most employers will pay for one or two visits to the new area for you and your family. The purpose of these visits is to familiarize yourself with the area, visit the local schools, and hunt for a new home or apartment. The company may pay for airfare, hotel, and meals during your visit.

    Moving Company - At the very least, you should expect the company to pay for the cost of physically moving your household items and vehicles to the new area. This could be simply paying the trucking service fee, or it could include packing and unpacking your items as well as cleaning services or an allowance for buying new appliances that have to be left behind in order to sell your current home.

    Temporary Housing - Most companies will pay for an extended stay hotel or short term rental while you close on a home or find a suitable apartment complex for your family.

    Selling Your Home - You do not want to be left with two mortgages, and larger companies will often offer assistance to help you avoid this situation. Many employer will cover mortgage payments on your old home for a predetermined period of time to help you afford the move. Very large corporations may offer a seller guarantee, which means that if the house does not sell within a specified period of time, the corporation will buy the house. Likewise, if the house sells for less than its value, the corporation may offer to pay the difference so you do not have an outstanding amount on your mortgage after the sale.

    Buying a New Home - While very few companies will actually purchase a home for your family, many will assist you in purchasing a new home by providing down payment assistance, offering you a loan from the company with little or no interest, or buying down the interest rate on your new mortgage.

    Photo Credit: sxc.hu/298459

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    Closing the Deal

    When you are offered the job, it is time to discuss the nitty gritty of the relocation package. Ask for the offer in writing, so you can compare what the company is offering based on your needs. After you compare the two, if negotiations are needed, request a face to face meeting with the decision maker in the company. Be organized and have your documentation ready for the company to review. Before you walk into the meeting, it is important to know your bottom line, and if the company cannot meet it, you need to be prepared to walk away from the opportunity. Moving will always have unexpected expenses, and if you stretch yourself too thin financially you will likely find yourself in a bad situation when something goes off track with the move. The key to success on when to discuss relocation expenses if offered a job is to be realistic in your expectations, and to have the means to prove why you need what you are asking for in the meeting.