Job Relocation Guide
Getting to relocate outside state lines or the country itself for a job is a vision board dream come true for many. It’s surely an exciting adventure, but before you actually set up your desk at your new office space, you’re going to be handling finances, movers, signing paperwork, making plenty of phone calls and much more. The entire process of organizing a move for work can seem challenging. Should come as no surprise if you catch yourself wishing you had a 101 course on this.
Fortunately for you, our blog Job Relocation Guide will be serving this exact purpose so you don’t feel like a freshman figuring out the coursework alone. Truth be told, relocating is a big deal. It’s when your multitasking skills are put to the test and you can’t let your nerves get the best of you. As relocating is a decision you can’t put off for long, it’s time to face the challenges of organizing your move to a new city or country.
In our job relocation guide, we’ll share all the information you need so that you get clarity on areas where you need to do some thinking and organize your move confidently.
Read on to learn more about the things you should consider when you move for a job.
1. Learn About The Relocation Benefits
Most companies have a relocation policy in place for times when an employee has to uproot their place of residence for the job. This policy would cover certain costs that you incur during the move. There are different types of relocation packages and they all try to compensate for the moving costs in some way or the other. It’s important that you try to negotiate the terms of this policy as much as you can so that things work in your favour. There is no fixed version of the relocation package and it’s often curated after discussing the terms of it with the employee.
In other terms, a relocation package is like getting a jumpstart for the moving process from the company itself.
Your Relocation Package Could Cover The Following:
Company Sponsored Trip for House Hunting
It’s possible that to ease your move, the company offers to pay for a trip to the new city you’ll be moving into. This way you get to meet the new team and do some productive offline research of the area. You can get a feel of the neighborhood, the living cost and visit homes for sale or apartments to rent. In such a case, the company would give you allowances for food, lodging and transport.
Few relocation packages cover the entire moving costs. This is something most employees appreciate the most. However, it’s necessary that you shop around for quotes from moving companies so you can share an accurate final price with your company who has offered to cover the moving costs bill for you.
Tip – Try to get into the itty bitty details while finalizing the quote, because a moving company could even charge you for carrying items up and down a staircase. We recommend having a lengthy discussion with the moving company you’ve chosen about all the costs included and compare quotes from at least 3 companies before settling the bill with 1. Also, on the final bill, get all the inclusions discussed in writing. It’s best you provide your company with a photocopy of the same.
Temporary Living Expenses
Ideally, you would need to have 60-90 days to prepare for the move. If your new workplace has asked you to relocate in less than 30 days, we can guarantee that you will need a considerable amount of help. This is where it’s important that you make it a point to convey this to the organization.
It’s unlikely that they would not offer to assist, because at the end of the day it’s a reflection of how they treat their employees. If they’ve requested you to move early, it’s possible that they would willingly pay for your temporary living expenses so that the load of finding a new house is taken off from your shoulders.
Remember that 30 days is too short a notice to get ready to move into a new place so be sure that you’re demanding storage space for all the boxes packed. This would be independent of a place to live in till you have purchased a home or found a place for rent. Always take your time to find a home that you’re happy with before taking that big leap. You will also need assistance with the sale of your old home and moving services. Be sure you convey these needs to the company.
Lump Sum To Use As Needed
This is a fixed amount given to the employee before the move. And it’s almost like getting an allowance as a child for school supplies and purchasing all the right supplies you need for the school year. When the company gives you the freedom to spend the amount as you please, you have to be sure that you’re budgeting things the right way. Try to weigh all the options you have to budget your move before you spend the sum provided to you.
With such a relocation package, you have to make your own decisions about how you would spend the amount. If you feel the amount provided was insufficient to cover the moving costs, you can put forth the exact amount needed to help your case.
Since the main reason for you to move your home is the job, it’s necessary that you try to negotiate your relocation package with the company in a manner where things work out smoothly for you and the company.
Takeaway On Negotiating Your Relocation Package –
Your relocation package is the first thing to take into consideration, because it reduces the number of things that you need to take care of during the move. Once you’ve precisely decided what should be included in your relocation package, you can then divert your attention to other things.
For instance, if you know you can depend on the company for moving costs, you can have more time to work on researching the place you’re moving to. Perhaps even finding the right home for you and your family. You’ll even have more time to sort your finances, which is the next thing you should consider while relocating.
See also: Negotiating a Job Relocation Package
2. Get Finances In Order
Believe us, when you move to a new house, new expenses will also come knocking at your door. It’s possible that you’ve prepared yourself to deal with some obvious expenses, but there will be several new and unexpected costs that you will need to factor in when you relocate.
Which is why we suggest creating an excel spreadsheet to track and manage your finances. This way you get an overview of all the expenditure in store and you get an estimate of your moving costs.
There will be some obvious moving expenses and some that are unexpected. First, work on the obvious list and then, see that you have an emergency fund to deal with unexpected scenarios like repairs, furnishing and heavy items surcharges if you forgot to mention this to your moving company.
The obvious ones would be:
- Paying for movers
- Utility bills such as gas, water and electricity
- Internet and cable
- Mobile plan
- Flight costs or any costs incurred during travel
- Early termination of lease fee (if you lived in a rented space)
- Selling of house cost (if you had your own house)
- Down payment for new house
- Brokerage fees
Now, once you list down all the areas where your money will go, you’ll get an estimated figure of how much you need for this move. This figure will also help you negotiate your relocation package if needed.
Besides the excess expenditure that happens in the first few months, you’ll also need to figure a way to manage the finances needed to live comfortably in the city or country where you’ll relocate.
See also: How to Finance a Move
Things To Keep In Mind While Managing Finances:
When you move to the city, you won’t be able to immediately put a figure on all your expenses. You would perhaps be able to list out and establish specific areas that need a monthly flow of cash such as rent, mortgage, tax, parking charges, groceries, gas for car and much more. Once you relocate, write down all these areas where your income will go towards and evaluate the situation. Ask yourself whether your paycheck covers these daily expenses. If it does, you should also be questioning 2 other things:
A) How much are you able to save after you’ve covered fixed expenses?
B) Will those savings be enough to run a new home in a new city?
When you try to answer these questions, you’ll know where your money travels from the time you receive the paycheck and how much savings you’re left with. You can then begin to picture the lifestyle you can afford in the new city or country with those savings.
At the same time, consider different scenarios, such as would you be able to live comfortably and eventually save enough for a car? Or is this something that’s only possible in the long run?
If you personally feel the circumstances you will be putting yourself and your family into will be tough, you can speak to your company about giving you the first paycheck in advance. If you ask us, there’s no harm in speaking to someone from the HR department about something like this too.
Overall, the main idea of reviewing your finances is mainly for you to reduce the financial stress you’ll have in a new city. And that way, you can devote your mind to the job, once you know that you have assurance that your financial situation will be stable enough post relocation.
3. Research The Area You’re Moving Into
If this is a cross-country move or across state lines, we highly recommend taking the time to understand the locality and neighborhood you’ll be moving into. You can do this by physically going there and staying a couple of days to get a feel of the place. When you visit the place, you can find out about the schools, doctors, grocery stores, restaurants in the vicinity and also get familiar with methods of commuting. We would recommend that you rent a car and drive through the new area to understand the whole vibe of the place.
In our opinion, making an actual visit has the upperhand because you can even meet with locals or your to-be-neighbors and introduce yourself to your new colleagues. This way, you’re a bit more comfortable when you relocate.
Another option is to make the internet your friend and look up city details such as crime rate, weather and the job market on websites like City-Data that has all the information you’ll need about different cities in the United States. Make use of all the information available online for free, just like you would do a thorough research of a vacation destination before traveling to it.
Your research will help you make better decisions once you relocate. You can pre-decide simple things like knowing if public transport like the bus is ideal to get to the office or if it’s better to have your own private car. Make a note of all the things you enjoy having in proximity to your house too. It could be something as mundane as having a gym nearby so that you can continue the workout routine you followed back home. Or perhaps you prefer having parks at a close distance so that you can take your pet for an evening walk.
In addition, we suggest downloading apps like Yelp so you know the most recommended restaurants, doctors, salons and dentists of the new locality you’re moving into. With Yelp, you can discover local services around and read reviews as well as see pictures that locals put up. In this manner, you start to get a virtual feel of places without visiting them. If you’re going to be moving within the United States itself, websites like Yelp, City-Data, Homeadvisor and Better Business Bureau make the research easier. Depending on where you’re moving, try to download an app that makes it easier to locate the points of interest. There are millions of apps and websites online that do the work of finding all the local attractions and bring them to your screen.
See also: Find the Best City to Move to
4. Be Aware of Taxes
Another area that must be taken into consideration while relocating is taxes. If you’re moving to a new country, do remember that you would still need to pay taxes for your United States citizenship. This is because the United States tax system is based on citizenship and not residence, hence you would need to pay taxes for the new country as well as the United States. Or your citizenship can be renounced. This is a big decision to make especially if you’re relocating to a whole new country for a job. You can either decide to set funds aside to pay taxes back home as well in the foreign country. Or you can choose to renounce your citizenship.
This is a crucial call to make, so give yourself time to consider whether renouncing your citizenship is the right move for you to make. We recommend that you do a thorough research of the job market too before you renounce your citizenship for a job.
Do note, if you’re moving across state lines, it’s less complicated and you’ll just need to file returns in 2 different states for 1 full year. The state you currently live in and the one you will relocate to, both would collect a state income tax. So understand the rules and discuss the doubts you have with regards to this, with an income tax officer or the tax department. This way, you know the clear-cut amount of tax that will be leaving your account.
Each state has different income taxes, so make sure you have this information depending on the state you’re moving into. Also, another pointer we’d like to share is to find out if you’ll be taxed for the income you made in each state, or percentage of the income you made in both states. The main idea of sorting this portion out with the tax department is so that you’re in the clear and not facing penalty charges because you were unaware of this system.
See also: Should You Move to a State with No Income Tax
In short when it comes to taxes you must have clarity on:
- The tax implications when you move for work.
- Understanding if moving expenses are tax deductible because it’s for a job.
5. Figure Packing Requirements Early
Packing will be the biggest task that you will need to address at this stage. Although, it seems like a stressful task, remember that it’s all about working out things in a strategic manner weeks before the day you have to move out.
Here Are Few Tips That Make Packing Easy
Create An Inventory
It’s absolutely necessary that you work on an inventory of all the things you wish to pack and the items that you would sell or donate. Go over the things you wish to take with you room by room and keep updating the inventory sheet so you can differentiate between the things that require movers and things you can pack by yourself.
Ask For Help
Always ask for assistance from friends, family or relatives for the move. If you have long working days, it can be extremely hard to motivate yourself to declutter the place, so make sure you’re taking the help of friends on tough days. Be sure to request them for assistance well in advance so that you’re not disturbing their daily schedule. Moving to a new country for a job is a huge career move which warrants all the helping hands you could get.
Before the movers come in, try to sort your belongings into categories. Always pack boxes into categories as well so that there’s clear demarcation about which box belongs where. At this stage, we recommended segregate the items into:
- Items for movers to handle
- Boxes for donation
- Things for sale
- Things to get rid of
The more categories you create the easier the unpacking process will be. You don’t want to arrive in a new country and find yourself scrambling to find things in the unpacking process, especially when you’re already trying to settle into a new job.
Pack An Essentials Bag
Chances are, you won’t begin unpacking the same night you arrive, so it’s necessary that you have an overnight bag with all the essentials you need till you set up the place. Here are a few things that you can consider packing in your survival bag.
- Office clothes
- Laptop and charger
- Toiletries (soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, toilet paper)
- Comfortable casuals
- Documents (Identity, passport, driver’s license)
Note – It’s extremely important that you pack all the documents you own by yourself and don’t leave this job to anyone else.
Empty Out The Fridge
From all the appliances in your kitchen, you would need to pay special attention to the fridge and ensure that it’s getting empty as your moving day gets closer. We suggest that it’s best to try and use up everything that is in the fridge days before the moving day. You won’t want to be dealing with moulds or leaks from the refrigerator on moving day, so be sure to clean and defrost the fridge 48 hours before the move. This way you dodge an obstacle in the packing process.
Have Cleaning Supplies Ready
Now, when you turn each room upside down, you’re sure to go into spring cleaning mode as there will be many areas that require cleaning. Hence, it’s good to keep a few cleaning supplies such as a microfibre cloth, broom, dustpan, vacuum, cleaning liquid, sponge and gloves so that you can efficiently finish cleaning the space too.
See also: Move Out Cleaning Checklist
Take Pictures Of The New House
Pictures serve as proof if and when you have issues with the landlord. Scan the new place of any smudge marks or defects and have evidence of the same in the form of a photograph. This will help resolve hassles that could sprout up with the owner in the future. It’s best to create a drive where you share these images with the owner so you have a timestamp of when the photographs were clicked.
Make A List Of People To Notify About Your Move
Since you’re relocating for a job, chances are you won’t be seeing your old friends for a long time. Schedule a date on your calendar for a proper farewell with neighbors, friends and relatives. Make time for phone calls or send out emails to notify them about your move. After all, you never know how busy the new job is going to keep you. Best to make these opportunities count!
Always Label Boxes
Be certain that every box that is sealed is also labeled. Keep in mind that the labeling of boxes will help ease the unpacking process. You can also take things a step further and color code the boxes based on room. For instance – you can apply a blue strip of tape on all boxes belonging to the bathroom while a red one for those that must be placed in the kitchen. This way the movers can place the boxes in their designated rooms and all you’ll need to do is unpack them and not keep picking them up to place them in the right room.
Find Home Improvement Contractors In Advance
Write out the areas where you need a professional to step in and help you out with things. Consider whether you need help with plumbing, wiring, assembly, painting or even a service to carry out pest control. Start early and find out if you would need an expert to intervene. You can certainly have a conversation with your movers about assisting you with these additional services.
Focus On The Good Stuff Too
Take your time to celebrate the move and the new place you’ll be calling home. Although, the administrative process of settling in takes a lot of your time, don’t let it dampen your spirit. The healthier mental frame of mind you’re in, the better you will be able to perform in your new job. Take some time to switch off the planning mode and embrace the growth that awaits you.
Relocating for a job is great and looks even greater on your resume, but there’s so many things that no one really tells you about. Hence, it’s necessary that you take into consideration all of the above pointers in our job relocation guide, so that you can deal with relocating efficiently. The transition of uprooting your whole life and getting comfortable in a new place can take time. So don’t rush yourself! Work on your relocation checklist one day at a time and you’ll be fine.
Also Read: The Best and Worst U.S. Cities for Job Seekers | Office Moving Checklist