Why should your company encourage transferees to buy instead of rent? Our team of global relocation experts review thousands of relocation policies on a regular basis. We work with our clients to incorporate best practices, so they can gain a competitive edge with their relocation policies and attract the highest caliber of talent.
Consistently, many relocation policies have not offered home purchase benefits to current renters. Instead, current renters received benefits that directed them to remain as renters. Recent consultation with several clients provides new insight into this practice.
Many clients are now offering home purchase benefits to current renters, to encourage transferees to buy instead of rent. This trend is increasing, as clients are learning that home purchase benefits for current renters return several benefits back to the client in terms of employee retention. As we examine this trend, a new best practice is appearing in relocation policies.
There are 7 distinct benefits for clients when they encourage transferees to buy instead of rent:
1. Transferees establish strong roots in a neighborhood and community.
Think of the time you may have taken a job and moved to a new location. You may have spent time finding a new home and exploring neighborhoods. Your family members may have expressed what was important for their needs as well. Factors may include nearby schools, or amenities like parks and shopping centers.
Each facet of a community becomes a part of a transferee’s life. As a result, those who put down strong roots by establishing home ownership are more likely to remain committed to their neighborhood, their city, and their employer.
2. Transferees can personalize a home so they can settle in comfortably, so encourage transferees to buy.
Transferees who buy can easily personalize a home to meet their distinct preferences. Everything from painting their front door to match a favorite color to decorating interior spaces to their liking can lead to greater transferee satisfaction with their living arrangements. Satisfaction with their home is more likely to lead transferees to feel satisfied with their relocation as well.
Renters, on the other hand, often are limited to moving into an apartment, and cannot easily customize the space. Even if they do some customization such as interior painting, they often must return the apartment to its original condition if they were to vacate. Renters face a strong disincentive when it comes to personalizing their living space. Living in a space they cannot personalize often makes renters feel as if they are nomads. The end of their lease is already defined, which seems to put a mark on their time in a specific location. This may lead transferees to believe they can easily move to another apartment, or another position.
Corporate talent acquisition should work in tandem with employee retention so relocation policies offer home purchase benefits. This will help encourage transferees to feel as if their relocation is permanent, and not a temporary state.
3. Monthly mortgage costs are consistent year to year, while rents can increase dramatically.
One of the benefits to buying a home versus renting is the stability of mortgage payments. Monthly costs for a mortgage tend to be consistent year to year, defined by the terms of the mortgage upfront. As a result, this allows buyers to know their monthly housing costs and provides for better budgeting and financial planning.
Renters could face a rent increase as soon as their lease expires. There are many reasons why landlords would increase rent, including higher property taxes, inflation, or higher building maintenance costs. They might just want to make more money, and if demand for rentals in the area is high, then rent increases are easy to implement because those who move are easily replaced with other renters. Increases in rent could be exceptionally high. Therefore, renters need to make a decision on a regular basis if they want to absorb the cost of the rent increase, or take on the additional expense of searching for a new rental, and paying to move their belongings.
Overall, transferees who rent often are subject to somewhat volatile conditions that can impair their job performance. If they must worry about their housing options in the face of rent increases on a regular basis, transferees certainly cannot easily focus on corporate objectives.
4. Home mortgages are similar to saving plans and investments, and owners can more easily move up to a larger home at a later date.
There are numerous benefits to home ownership, and transferees can gain greater satisfaction with their relocation with home purchase benefits. Home ownership lets transferees build financial equity, and a home is an investment that will increase over time. Homeowners have tax benefits they can claim as well. Mortgage interest, property taxes, and other items may provide tax deductions on an annual basis. As a home gains value over time, and as the homeowner builds greater equity each year as their mortgage balance declines, homeowners have a built-in savings and investment vehicle in real estate they can use in the future.
Employers benefit if they encourage transferees to buy instead of rent by reinforcing the high value homeownership returns to the transferee, cementing their interest in staying in a location.
5. In many markets, rentals are extremely competitive to secure and the costs exceed homeownership. Security deposits can often exceed a home purchase down payment.
Several markets have seen the cost of rentals rise far beyond the cost of homeownership. A recent example can be found in Brooklyn, New York. A three bedroom, one bathroom apartment at 378 Grand Avenue is listed on Zillow at $3,900 per month (not including renter’s insurance costs).
A house located at 575 Jerome Street with five bedrooms and two bathrooms is listed for $599,000. Using a mortgage calculator, over a 30 year time period at a rate of 3.92%, with a mortgage balance of $575,000, taxes of $6,000, insurance of $1,500, and Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) of 0.5%, the monthly mortgage costs for the house are $3,583.27.
In Brooklyn, a renter at 378 Grand Avenue can get a receipt for the rent they pay each month. Also, they may face a rent increase at the end of their lease. A homeowner can get more space, tax benefits, and an equity-building investment vehicle with a home on Jerome Street. It is easy to see how offering home purchase benefits can help transferees feel more satisfaction with their relocation.
Another recent example can be found in Denver, Colorado. A three bedroom, three bathroom apartment at 2590 Welton Street is listed on Zillow at $3,855 per month (not including renter’s insurance costs). A house located at 90 N. Lincoln Street with three bedrooms and two bathrooms lists for $610,000. Using similar parameters as the other example, with a mortgage balance of $585,559, taxes of $6,000, insurance costs of $1,500, and PMI of 0.5%, the monthly mortgage costs for the house are $3,637.59
6. If a transferee does not commit to their new community, they often view their opportunity as a job and not as a career.
Companies go to great lengths to acquire highly skilled talent. Often companies design relocation packages to highlight the benefits of an employment opportunity, to encourage prospects to accept job offers. In reality, it is in the company’s best interest to have the transferee think of the opportunity as a career offer. Finding and acquiring talent can be challenging.
Companies should have a career plan for the new hire, so they view the opportunity as a career, not as a job. This perception helps transferees commit to staying with their employer. Home purchase benefits let transferees commit to staying in their new community. Transferees that commit to their community are more likely to commit to their career.
7. A transferee who buys is more committed than a transferee who rents. Also, if a client offers home purchase benefits, then the employee knows the company is more committed to the employee.
A company can reinforce employee retention by showing employees they commit to them and their future. Employers should encourage transferees to buy instead of rent. This sends the message that the company wants the transferee to stay. If a company gives the impression to a transferee that they are temporary by only providing rental assistance, the transferee will get that message and feel as if they are a temporary employee.
Employers that give the impression to the transferee that they want them to join their company and their community by putting down roots and buying a home, will have transferees who believe they are part of the company’s future. In talent acquisition and employee retention, the message from the company should always be one of acceptance, inclusion, and permanence. Acquiring highly skilled talent is a difficult challenge. Companies that are successful in this endeavor should make employee retention efforts even more successful by offering home purchase benefits to transferees.
Rent Versus Buy Calculator Will Help Encourage Transferees
Global Mobility Solutions has a wide range of online tools and resources for clients and transferees. GMS’ Rent Versus Buy Calculator is an easy to use, step-by-step program. This program compares the cost of renting versus the cost of buying a home. Employers that encourage transferees to buy instead of rent can use this online tool to encourage homeownership. This in turn helps the transferee make the decision to buy in their new community. This decision will help the transferee feel like a part of the company. As a result, they will be more willing to stay with the company on a long term basis.
What Should Employers do to Encourage Transferees to Buy Instead of Rent?
Employers should work with an RMC that has the qualifications, knowledge, and experience to ensure their relocation policies provide home purchase benefits to transferees who are current renters. As a result, this will promote stronger employee retention as transferees put down roots in communities and gain greater satisfaction with their relocation.
Global Mobility Solutions’ team of global relocation experts has helped thousands of our clients design relocation policies that reflect best practices to promote employee retention. We can help your company understand how to leverage home purchase benefits for current renters to encourage transferees to buy and help ensure successful relocations.
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