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RELOCATION: THE PROCESS IS COORDINATION

When it comes to transferring, there is a great deal of assistance available for those people who have to go through the procedure.

For many, it happens much too often. And the reasons are numerous, organizational change, individual promotion, business location changes, joint venture or mergers or just an individual move.

The relocation department of a real estate company can help ease the burdens for the transferee, their family and the corporation.

There are a number of types of procedures a "relo" department and it's staff will handle: broker to broker referrals, third party company referrals and direct calls.

The most common type of assistance is the "third-party company" referral for both incoming and outgoing transferees. The third-party process directs referrals through a coordinating company -- a third party -- that contracts with a corporation to facilitate the needs of transferred employees. The majority of these types of direct referrals -- seven out of ten -- result in a move to a new location.

Generally speaking, a corporation will offer a large benefit package to its employees who are to be transferred. The cost of moving the average employee is not cheap. In 1989, companies spent $40,500 per employee, up 11 percent from the previous year and still going up!

Often these benefits include: moving expenses, temporary housing allowances, rental expenses, spousal employment counseling, plus other counseling services, mortgage assistance and reimbursement for lost income, and company buyouts for homes on the market over a certain period of time.

The "buyout option" is often very helpful to the transferees because it gives them cash for their home, even if it hasn't sold. This will allow them to purchase a home in the new locale and get on with their lives. In the case of outgoing transferees, the relocation department at their present location will act as caretakers for their property until it is sold.

The process is begun by the third party coordinating company contracting an affiliated broker with a relocation department in the destination city. The name and address of the family or families to be transferred is given to the relocation director.

With the information provided by the third party company, the relocation department staff begins their work. The director makes contact with the incoming transferee, assesses their needs and problems.

Then a video and relocation kit designed especially for that individual or family is sent out. These kits contain information on schools, special needs facilities, the housing market, cultural and recreational areas and other selected materials of interest.

At this point, an agent is assigned to assist the transferee in identifying an area where a home search might be concentrated. The individual might make several trips to the new area to look at homes. Interim housing might be arranged until their present home is sold, if they have not taken advantage of the company buy out option.

Once a home is found, the real estate agent and the third-party company will assist the individuals in the home purchasing process.

And it is not until the family is moved, settled in and familiar with the area that the job of the relocation department is truly complete.

Isabel Robitaille is director of relocation services for Stovroff & Herman Realtors, Inc.

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