September 20, 2012 | by Valerie Blake
A nation of relocation

Based on recent statistics compiled by United Van Lines, The Washington Post reported last week that the D.C. metropolitan area was one of the top destinations to relocate to for the fourth year in a row. Conversely, their report also showed that we had the most people moving out of the area during the same time as well. Apparently nobody here is standing still.

Surprised? I’m not. We have one of the lowest unemployment rates and highest per capita incomes in the country. We are home to the headquarters of nearly every government agency and professional association. We attract those who want to teach and be educated, sue and defend, lobby and influence, and minister to those who need medical attention. And if that weren’t enough, we have lots of fun stuff to do here.

Most people I meet who are leaving the area are doing so because the grass is greener elsewhere, sometimes literally. Their move comes with a promotion, a better climate, closer proximity to extended family, a low-cost lifestyle, a less stressful environment or a promise of some other perk down the road.

The lucky ones have their moves paid by their employers. In fact, in my life before real estate, I had 7 of my 40 moves paid for by a federal government agency, so I feel a particular affinity for those who are making a corporate move.

Although specific relocation benefits that may be offered to transferees change with the ebb and flow of the economy, the basic premise of an employer helping an employee make a smooth and relatively stress-free transition to a new locale remains. To that end, a benefits package might include assistance with real estate sales and purchases, mortgage financing, shipment and temporary storage of household goods and more.

The most common real estate benefit I see for those who are transferring out of our area is the “amended value sale.” Theoretically, the program allows the outbound seller to find a buyer in the general market who is willing to pay more than he has been offered for his property by his employer. In reality, however, because our inventory is low and our sales are brisk, it is far more likely that a market offer will be accepted long before the employer has ever arrived at a price to offer the transferee.

Here’s how it works.

The transferee signs a listing agreement with the relocation-certified agent of his choice. The property is marketed as usual, but when a buyer writes an offer, the offer is written showing the relocation company, not the owner of record, as seller.

The offer must contain a rider provided by the relocation company and signed by the buyer that outlines specific requirements and any procedures or terms that may supersede those contained our standard contract forms.

Additional property disclosures may be provided by the relocation company. If so, the buyer must include them with the offer, initialed to indicate that he has received and read them.

The transferee cannot sign any documents and can only negotiate changes to the offer verbally. Any changes agreed upon must then be initialed by the buyer before the completed offer package can be submitted to the relocation company for review and acceptance.

It may take several days for a signed contract to be returned, since the relocation company must complete their acquisition process with the transferee before they can legally sign the contract as the seller of the property. Once they do, however, the contract is fully ratified and the parties proceed toward settlement.

So don’t let some extra paperwork and a few days of waiting for a response prevent you from considering a relocation transaction. It’s the Superman of the corporate real estate world: faster than a short sale and more personal than a bank foreclosure. Phone booth not required.

Valerie M. Blake can be reached at 202-246-8602 or at Valerie@DCHomeQuest.com. Prudential PenFed Realty is an independently owned and operated broker member of BRER Affiliates, Inc. Prudential, the Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are registered service marks of Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide.  Used under license with no other affiliation with Prudential. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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