What THEY don’t do ~ HR and Real Estate Agents

What THEY don’t do ~ HR and Real Estate Agents

-We hire them to help and then they don’t do what we think they should-

When we accept a corporate relocation, it feels like we have been given a gift. The employer is offering money and people to help us move from here to there. This feels so much easier than even our last move across town. Especially when they provide “people”.

When we move from place to place or even across town the responsibility for everything is in our laps. We could hire people if we wanted to spend the money…if we thought we could afford it. But typically we don’t. We do as much as we can ourselves to “save money.”

But now we are being given money and people, we’ve hit the jackpot!
The challenge is that we really don’t understand what we are being offered. We assume it is one thing when really it does not begin to cover the entire breadth of what we have just agreed to do.

In order to make this relocation work, it is imperative to understand what they do and most importantly what they do not do.

It is when we expect them to do something and they don’t that we get mad, frustrated, overwhelmed, despondent…none of which help this relocation move down the road.

Human Resources ~ Global Mobility departments

Many times the employee will have a contact within one of these two departments. On some level many of us expect that these people will help to facilitate the relocation. It is in their best interest after all that this work out for everyone. However, they are typically not part of facilitating the relocation.

Human Resources or Global Mobility is a business function that creates policies and oversees the management of those and other processes within the business. So, they may be responsible for processing a reimbursement, but they are not responsible for a mover who is late or lost something.

Employee Communication ONLY

One of the most frustrating things is that typically, they will ONLY talk to the employee about any part of the policy, be that reimbursement, exceptions, benefits etc. This becomes a challenge for the accompanying spouse or partner who is on the front lines literally facilitating the relocation. The employee/assignee may be in weeks of training or even traveling to meet new clients or teams, ramping up their new assignment and doesn’t have time or ability to make those calls or walk a document into the internal departments.

When this happens funds are delayed, a personal need is not answered and the accompanying spouse is not able to advance the relocation forward, until their spouse or partner is able to make that call or walk that document.

This may cause a bad game of “telephone” can ensue and the messages or communications can get misunderstood or even lost.

When this is the reality of the employer’s policies, be sure to be a concise as possible and keep everything in writing.

The Policies are about Some Costs Not All

Read the policy from first word to last word as soon as it is available. This is the set of rules, connections and processes that must be adhered to in order to receive the funds or help that was offered.

The relocation policy and procedures will many times include the amount of money involved as a lump sum or for individual items. It will include time periods and deadlines. Most of the time it is primarily concerned with housing and moving the household items from one place to the next.

Moving lives and anything beyond this, is on the individual and family moving.

In past blogs and podcasts you have heard about how expensive it is to get license plates in Georgia (equivalent to current value sales tax). Financial expense allocations beyond housing and transportation are not included in most policies.  The little things and the big things like GA License plate add up quickly.
Exceptions? Maybe not.
Again, read the policy.  When as a relocating individual or family, an expense comes up or a need for a non-defined service comes up, you need to know if there is an option for help with that.
Not every circumstance or need surrounding a relocation can be predicted up front.  It is best to know going in how and IF the employer has a process for helping to address those things.  Some policies will have this very well defined even down to the types of expenses that they will consider.
Other policies will be more open ended and then again others will be, “this is all we do”, full stop.
Missed expectations sink a relocation experience for everyone.

Even in the case of a “this is all you get” policy, there may be another solution beyond HR and the relocation policy.  Sometimes the department or the hiring manager has some leeway and accessible funds to help mitigate these surprises.

Always ask because a yes may be an option.
If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.

Real Estate Agents

In many ways our buyers real estate agents are like our first friends in the new community.  This industry attracts people who love people and want to serve much like the hospitality industry.  This makes real estate agent relationship a bit confusing to relocation buyers.
As our friend they should do things for us. They know we are new to town.  They are getting well paid and they should be our community mentor as well as real estate agent.

Either overtly or subconsciously we think this about real estate agents.  We do because they are our first trusted connection to the community, the beginning of our support system here.  And yet, most of us have found that once the contract is in process or after we close, they wander away.

Sure, they are genuinely interested and helpful, but what many of us find out is that they are not actually our “friends.” They move on after the close.

Relocation is an emotional journey.  Our weekend to find a house is a whirlwind and our agents take care of us, giving us undivided attention.  We tell them some of our secrets and establish trust.  We need them.  Because of this we can misconstrue what kind of relationship is actually developing.
No Recommendations or Opinions
An agent’s job is to know the market, find the best fit homes, negotiate a contract and walk that contract successfully to the closing table.
What they cannot do is make decisions for their clients. Encouraging clients to choose certain things opens them up to liability putting their livelihood at risk.  Examples of this are recommendations or opinions about:
          – School or School District
          – Contractors
          – Inspectors
          – Mortgage brokers
          – Community or Neighborhood
          – Home structure or condition
At times they may be willing to meet for coffee to discuss these or where to find information.  When they do recommend someone, most of the time they will provide 2 or 3 to choose from, again making it the buyer’s decision.
Time Challenges

One of the biggest complaints I have heard about relocation buyer’s agents is that one the buyers weekend is over it is so hard to get a hold of their agent.  It can seem like they disappear after the contract is signed, way before closing.

Are they doing their job?
Are they managing the contract?
Why won’t they answer my question about hiring painters?

Working with real estate agents that specialize in relocation buyers can be a bit confusing.  They seem all in and all about us on that buying weekend…and then nothing.  Leaving us to wonder what are they doing and did I hire the right agents?
Many of these Full Time agents will have one or two relocation clients coming into town every week.  As much time as they spend with one set of clients they spend with their other clients.  This makes follow up challenging and almost never “johnny on the spot” type of attention once the contract is signed.
These agents are typically practiced and effective, but as buyers it is important to have these communication conversations while their undivided attention is right there. This way both the buyers and their agent stay on the same page during this hectic and stressful time period.

What they Don’t Do…

I hope that this blog encourages you to figure out what each of your relocation partners do and do not do.  It is important to come to each meeting with a written list of expectations ready for a discussion of each.
If every corporate move has included packers and that is assumed but not verified, the movers may show up expecting to pack a truck, not dishes.  This causes delays, surprises and potentially extra expense for the relocating family.
Know the policy, read ALL of your contracts, ask questions and never assume.  In all of this keep good records and put all communications in writing.  Even it is a phone call, follow it up with an email and request a confirmation response.
Sometimes we want to gloss over and just trust that it will be “done right”.  But our done right definition very well could be different from anyone else’s.  Have the discussion and choose patience while it is all sorted out.
If this resonated with you and you’d like to explore more about relocating well, I invite you to set up a chat with me.  Click the Let’s Chat Button at the top of every page here.  Choose a time and day that works for you.

See you next Tuesday for another ReloWomen Blog!

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