Accepting a new job or a transfer offers you new opportunities, but it can be expensive to relocate. Hidden costs inherent in moving from one place to another can devastate your savings if you aren’t prepared. Luckily, many companies have a way to help employees defray the cost of relocation. Before you ask for a relocation package, do your research to get the best deal.
When you're offered a relocation package, ask if you'll be expected to meet any of the costs upfront. Some companies will reimburse you when you submit receipts of your costs, but having to pay the money upfront makes your budget very different. If your children are in school, it may be more difficult to transfer them in the middle of a grading period; consider whether you'll have to rush the move and the school change before accepting a package. Giving up all your social groups and activities may seem daunting, so decide whether it's right for your family before agreeing to be relocated, no matter the package.
Transportation and housing are two of the biggest expenses inherent in relocation. Ask your company to pay for closing costs on your new home, as well as any real estate agent fees you’ve incurred. Expect to receive help with moving supplies, storage and moving your goods. You can also bargain for utility deposits, school fees and other costs you would not have been paying if you had not been relocated. If you hate packing, ask for a full packing and unpacking service, which includes movers to box, transport, open and place all your goods where they belong.
Aside from moving expenses, other issues must be accounted for when deciding to relocate for work. If you already own a home, selling it can be costly and time consuming. Some companies -- including the insurance giant State Farm -- offer employees help selling their homes. Find out whether your company will help your partner find a new job or if it will help get you out of a rental lease. Think of both tangible and intangible benefits. Try to come up with expenses that aren’t directly moving expenses, but that you will have to pay, like car registration and insurance changes.
Prepare for any relocation discussion by making a list of exactly what you want from your company. Ask for everything you want, but don’t expect to receive all you ask for. Talk to other employees you know at the company and ask what kind of relocation packages they received. Research the area, including housing costs, transportation, average income and other costs. Create a spreadsheet of all the costs associated with moving, then ask for that amount, since you've justified the cost.