Travel & Relocation
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GOVERNMENT RELOCATION SERVICES PROGRAM (Federal Travel Regulation Chapter 302-12)
A new hire/appointee under the Demo Project; or a transferee who is authorized a transfer of station may be authorized to use the Government’s relocation services program. The use of the Relocation Services Program must be specifically authorized and is not an entitlement. Prior to offering the Relocation Services Program, the approving official must determine that funding is available to pay for these services. The decision on whether to offer the Relocation Services Program must be made at the time the relocation authorization is issued.
Under the Relocation Services Program, the Government pays a fee for services provided by the contracted relocation company based on approved fee schedules which is based on selling price. Note: The portion of a fee of any residence where the sale price is greater than current USDA home sale limit is the responsibility of the employee. The employee may ask the RSC to deduct that amount from their equity. The fee calculated and charged to the agency will be based on an amount not to exceed current USDA home sale limit. Transferees must verify with their authorizing official on the USDA home sale limit in place at the time of their transfer. (See Department Regulation 2300-002, USDA Relocation Allowance Regulation, May 31, 2007, Appendix D.)
Services provided under the Government’s contract, within the allowable sales price, are free to the employee. The employee retains the right to accept or reject the guaranteed offer to purchase the employee’s residence which is based on the average of two appraisals. If the employee rejects the offer the home sale reverts back to a direct sale and the employee can no longer use the relocation services program. NOTE: The employee must contact their travel office if the offer is rejected. At that time the travel authorization will be amended to allow for the employee to claim direct sale expenses. Any costs associated with services already provided by the relocation company may not be duplicated as reimbursable expenses through direct sale of a residence.
Dwellings excluded from coverage:
- Homes that are uninsurable
- Homes that cannot be financed
- Homes that contain Urea-Formaldehyde Foam Insulation
- Mobile homes
- House boats
- Certain homes containing lead-based paint.
DELAY IN USE OF SERVICE: An employee may justify a delay in the initiation of these services. Acceptable reasons for delayed entry are a need for the spouse to find new employment, waiting for an end of school term, etc. Employees who wish to delay services should also delay marketing their homes. Also, keep in mind that you have two (2) years from your actual reporting date to settle on the sale and purchase of a residence. Under unusual circumstances an extension not to exceed a maximum of four (4) years may be authorized.
TAX LIABILITY: The employee bears no tax liability for using this service, except that the employee is responsible for taxes on any recognizable gains resulting from the sale.
PRIOR TO INITIATION: An employee must list his or her residence for sale with a local real estate broker. This listing must include an "exclusion clause."
Exclusion Clause: "The seller hereby reserves the right to sell the property directly to (a contractor name) at any time and, in such events, to cancel this listing agreement with no obligation for commission or continuation of listing hereafter and to turn over an acceptable written offer hereunder to (a contractor name) for closing and payment of commission which will be deemed earned and payable only upon closing of title."
Home Marketing Assistance
Development of a marketing strategy; suggested list price and probable selling price and terms; recommendations for repairs or improvements to enhance salability; recommendation of a listing broker, if requested; advice on managing and working with a broker; advice on negotiating with potential buyers and evaluation of offers.
HOME SALE SERVICES
Appraisals - The contractor will contact the employee to discuss the appraisal process and provide a complete list of qualified and certified appraisers. The employee will choose three appraisers, in order of preference, and will notify the contractor of his or her designations. Two appraisals will be requested. The employee must schedule the time for the appraisers to visit the residence. The appraisals should be completed within 30 days. The third appraisal will be ordered if the two appraisals show a difference of 5 percent or more. The contractor may, at its discretion, perform a complete home inspection performed by an established, reputable firm.
Types of Guaranteed Purchase:
Appraised Value: A guaranteed offer from the contractor to purchase the residence which is based on the average of two appraisals or when a third appraisal has been ordered, the average of the two closest appraisals or the average of the three appraisals.
If the employee is successful in finding a potential outside buyer willing to pay a purchase price equal to or greater than the appraised value offer made by the contractor, the employee must not enter into a contract or sign an agreement document with the potential outside buyer. To do so would nullify the services being provided by the relocation company.
The employee will notify the relocation company representative and provide information regarding the potential buyer. The contractor will verify that the offer from the potential outside buyer is bona fide. Within 5 working days, the contractor will notify the employee of its determination. If the contractor feels it is a bona fide offer, the contractor will amend the value of the offer to the employee based on the outside offer. At this point, the sale becomes an Amended Value sale. Basically, the relocation company will purchase the residence from the employee based on the outside offer and turn around and sell the residence to the potential buyers.
Amended Value: A guaranteed offer from the contractor based on a price offered by a potential outside buyer to purchase the residence from an employee.
Amended-from-Zero Sale: When a potential buyer offers to purchase the residence before the appraisal process has been completed. The employee will not enter into a contract or sign an agreement document with the potential outside buyer. The contractor will follow the same steps as those previously stated for potential outside buyers under appraised value.
Home Marketing Incentive: Only NASS participates in the home marketing incentive program, see Policy and Procedure (P&P) 341.3-NASS, Home Marketing Incentive Award Program.
HOME FINDING ASSISTANCE
This service is free and offered to all employees by the contractor. The contractor will provide authorized relocating employees with individual counseling services to familiarize the employee with information regarding the real estate market (including rental properties, temporary quarters, schools, taxes, commuting, community life, etc.) at the new official duty station location. This includes rental and buyer’s assistance, and mortgage counseling.
This service will allow the employee to seek a residence in an area suitable to their family needs and reduce the amount of time required for a house hunting trip and/or temporary quarters. This service should be initiated prior to a house hunting trip.
Last Updated 09/15/2009