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The Relocation Package

Articles > Salary Negotiation

Each month thousands of employees move to a new community, to start a new job. Moves often are more expensive than anticipated. Not only is there the actual expense of moving, but also, for a home-owner, the expenses connected with selling an old home, and buying a new home.

Some corporations may offer to cover some or all of the relocation costs for employees who are moving at the company's request. Larger companies usually offer a more elaborate relocation package than smaller firms. These benefits become particularly important when there is a large increase in housing costs. For example, an employee leaving a $150,000 four bedroom home in a small midwestern community may find that comparable housing in the San Francisco Bay Area may cost around $500,000.

When interviewing for a job, ask your prospective employer whether or not it has a relocation program, and find out as much as you can about it.

Benefits which may be offered to a relocating employee vary widely. Each situation may call for a different bundle of benefits; analyze your own situation carefully. It is always best to negotiate these matters as part of a transfer package, before accepting the new job, to avoid surprises to either the employee or the company after the move has taken place.

  • Cost of a familiarization and house-hunting trip for the employee, spouse, and family. (Does your family really want to move here?)
  • Extra time off (with pay) for traveling and house hunting in the new location.
  • Moving expenses, including packing and insurance.
  • Travel expenses (lodging, meals, gas, etc.) while traveling to the new location.
  • Assistance in the sale of your old home:

1. Company assumes responsibility for monthly payments, taxes and insurance until the old home is sold.
2. Price guarantee: if sold by the employee, the company will pay the difference between the net selling price and a specified price.
3. Alternative price guarantee: If employee can not sell the house within a specified period of time, the company will buy it at a specified price.
4. Company will pay commissions and other costs of sale.

  • Assistance in the purchase of a new home:

1. Company to pay rent of temporary quarters, until a permanent home is located.
2. Buy down the interest rate.
3. Company provides low or no interest loans.

  • A salary level commensurate with any increase in cost of living between the new location and your old location.

You will want to minimize the
tax impact of any benefits you receive. For information on the tax ramifications of your relocation expenses and any reimbursements by your employer, for U.S. citizens see the IRS Publication 521, Moving Expenses. Browse on-line or download this publication from the IRS at, for Canadians search Moving Expenses for information from Canada Revenue Agency. For all other countries contact your Federal Tax Department.

How hard should you push for relocation expenses? Try to analyze your bargaining position relative to the prospective employer. Does the employer have many options? Are there many qualified local applicants for the same job? Or do you have unique skills unavailable in the local market? Ask yourself, "If I owned the company, would I be willing to pay for my relocation?"

As a final check-list before accepting a new job in a new community, consider the effects on your over-all career goals:

  • Does the move represent a true promotion, or a desirable change in direction, or is it only a lateral move?
  • Is the new location in the "mainstream" of your industry, or are you moving to a "backwater"?
  • Would you prefer to live in the new location for personal, life-style reasons?
  • Considering the changes in salary and costs of living, is the move a financial advantage or disadvantage?

About The Author

Nathan Newberger is the job and career expert at Nathan has over 10 years of experience in staffing and human resources. He has worked both as a recruiter and career counselor. Mr. Newberger has been the Managing Editor at for the past 5 years and his articles have helped thousands of job seekers.

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