Helpful Hints On Relocation

There are many reasons to consider relocation. Lower cost of living, better quality of life, moving closer to family and of course, employment. Whether you are considering relocation for career advancement, new employment or for personal reasons, there is a lot to think about and consider. With nearly one in five Americans making a move each year (according to the U.S. Census Bureau), there is ample information available. If your new career opportunity has included working with a recruiter, that is one of the best places to start. The assistance of a competent recruiter may be all you need. Remember…the recruiter wants your move to work just as much as you do.

The most important issue to consider is how a move will affect spouse, children, family or others who will be involved in the move. Employment for a trailing spouse and schools for children are probably the two most personal critical factors in a SUCCESSFUL relocation. Include everyone who will be impacted by the move in discussions. Make sure everyone is on board with the decision before you start interviewing all over the U.S. Once the decision has been made, use your recruiter, newspapers from the specific location of your new opportunity, the local Chamber of Commerce and real estate agents. These are the most available free sources. And of course don’t forget the Internet.

Your prospective employer should be able and willing to provide you with any information you need. Our best advice to you is think it through thoroughly. Don’t make a move unless you have physically visited the area. If there is genuine resistance from your spouse and/or teenage children, then think it over very carefully. Moving back home costs MORE!

Here are some relocation tips that should help:

  1. Calculate Cost-of-Living Differences
    Everyone knows the cost-of-living differs around the USA (i.e., New York City is a very expensive place to live, the midwest is inexpensive by comparison). But how do you quantify these differences? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC (202-659-6000) publishes an annual city-by-city index which will give you the necessary numbers to calculate cost-of-living differences. Such things as housing/real estate, utilities, fuel and groceries get factored into these ratios. For example, to maintain the same standard of living that a $50,000 salary provides for you in Las Cruces, NM, you would have to earn $55,100 in Miami, FL. Suddenly that $55,000 offer you are considering represents a lateral move in salary, not a 10% increase. Some differences can be dramatic. You can live the same on $50,000 in Lincoln, NE as you can on $78,400 in Boston, MA and $50,000 in Little Rock, AR becomes $72,800 in Fairbanks, AK. Obviously, it’s in your best interest to run these comparisons.
  2. Research on the Internet
    For purposes of employment, the Internet’s greatest application to date is as a research tool. You should be able to locate lots of information not only about your new employer, but the community you are relocating to. By plugging into a local real estate agent’s home page, you can see photographs of homes, get to know the best parts of town, and have access to specs and prices. Many cities have home pages that outline community profiles regarding cultural, educational, and leisure activities available.
  3. Understanding Relocation Package Thoroughly
    Relocation assistance packages vary widely from company to company and even within a given company from position to position. Make sure you understand specifically which expenses will be paid for before you accept the offer. Typically, most companies will pay for a few house hunting weekends for you and your spouse, expenses for moving your household goods, and the cost of temporary housing (usually up to 90 days) until you get settled in a new place. It has been our experience that most small to medium sized companies (which make up 85% of business in America) are reluctant to pay for the real estate expenses associated with selling and buying a house (i.e., points in and out, Realtors and attorneys fees, etc.). But these costs can sometimes be negotiated.
  4. Sale Of Your Home
    Don’t expect your new employer to compensate you for a loss you may be facing on the sale of your current house because of a depreciated market value. That can be a deal buster! Whatever you require in terms of assistance, have it clearly defined up front and present it during your negotiations.
  5. TIP:
    Be prepared! To keep coming up with new demands you just thought of is not received well by employers.
    The way you conduct yourself during these negotiations will be perceived as a first-hand example of your capabilities as a business person. As personal as these topics are, this is, by definition, a business deal. Don’t get emotional; be reasonable and fair. We’ve seen our employer clients walk away from candidates at this stage because their demands became petty and endless. But overall, there is one big rule: DON’T ASSUME IT’S COVERED! Always have the relocation assistance clearly defined up front.
  7. Maintain Established Business Contacts
    Just because you are leaving town doesn’t mean that the professional associations you have made won’t have value downstream in your career. Your goal should always be to leave your former employer on good terms, preserving open communications lines with your colleagues internally and associates externally. Keep them on your rolodex and stay in touch; these contacts are career assets that can have great value when least expected.
  8. Don’t Minimize The Impact This Will Have On Others:
    You have decided to make the move. For you it may be a very exciting time. You may be realizing the long pursuit of a career goal or finally winning the promotion you have worked for. It may be a chance to work in a more technically challenging environment or to just plain earn a lot more money than you are now. But just as you have many reasons to leave, others have as many reasons to stay. To a working spouse it means derailing his or her career for your gain. To teenage children it is the end of the world. Talk to each member of the family and work out ways to ensure their needs will be accommodated.
  9. Lastly…it can’t really be all that hard.
    After all, one in five Americans are relocating every year.