Q: My husband is relocating to another state. We have bought a house in Florida. The market is down and we don’t know what to do about the house or what questions to ask concerning the relocation. Any advice?
A: Start by asking your husband’s employer what relocation benefits, if any, they are willing to provide.
Some companies will do just the basics: like paying for moving costs. Others will offer more assistance, like reimbursing you both for house-hunting trips, putting you up in hotels during temporary stays in your new state, or even paying for meals and local transportation during the transition period.
With really generous companies, they may offer to fund some of the cost of buying a new home (like providing money for a new down-payment), or may consider buying your existing home, or perhaps reimbursinig you at some level if you have to take a loss to sell it quickly.
Relocation Packages Vary
Relocation packages vary greatly based on the industry, region of the country and, of course, the specific employer involved.
But you should ask about any or all of these options. Also inquire about neighborhoods and the cost of living in your new region. Do some basic online research, yet ask your husband’s soon-to-be boss or his colleagues about desirable communities and where there are good schools in your new state.
This later area will be of particular importance if you have kids. Ask too about taxes in your new state. Not just property taxes, but also ask whether or not your husband’s employer may consider “grossing up” his income to cover some of the taxes you’ll have to pay if he gets a cash relocation stipend or bonus.
Regarding your existing house, I don’t have to tell you that it’s a buyer’s market – particularly in Florida. Without knowing any specifics about your home or your particular neighborhood, I can only really tell you to price it aggressively (i.e. make it attractive to potential buyers) if you want to move quickly.
Also, if you need to sell your current home in order to afford a new home (as most people do), then you might as well get the ball rolling and put your home on the market as soon as possible. Ask for referrals or drive around your current neighborhood and look for signs to find a local, experienced real estate agent.
Then call that person and have him or her come by your house to do a complete market analysis and tell you what your house is likely worth. Good luck!