After discussing each assignees property requirements we present them with an overview of the property market in their target area that will include:
1. Introduction to purchasing and renting property
2. What to expect from Realtors/Estate Agents
3. Area/Location summary. Both good and bad!
4. Location facilities such as schools, shopping medical facilities, sports and leisure.
5. Negotiating the price
6. Surveys and valuations (If necessary)
7. Financial options - mortgages, deposits, loans, taxes etc
8. Legal and contractual issues
9. Process summary and timescale report.
What we aim to do is create a property profile, a sort of home wish list, then we find it for your employeey. We undertake far-reaching searches in the chosen area, inspecting properties then presenting them in our report that includes photographs and descriptions, condition and location for a selection of properties that most closely match their property profile.
We ask them to shortlist a few (perhaps 3 - 5) that we will usually view with them so they can make a final choice. Unless you prefer to do it yourself, we will negotiate the best purchase or rental price for you within the perameters you set.
We negotiate property purchases and rentals on a daily basis which gives us the experience to win the best deals for our Clients. Due to the volume of busines we introduce we can usually negote lower agents fees. We work with a wide range of suppliers who have to tender competitively for our business and we avoid unnecessary costs through planning and knowing how our suppliers operate.
If services such as lawyers, morgage providers, shipping/removals or surveyors are needed we will introduce your employee to cost effective and professional practitioners who can be relied on.
Once terms have been agreed, Radstones carefully monitors progress, reporting back to the employee at regular intervals. With your/their authorisation we will liaise with all parties involved, ensuring any problems are kept to a minimum and resolved.
We will arrange for the employee and/or their family to visit the destination area prior to moving usually collecting them from the airport or their hotel.
We will accompany them throughout their visit, taking them to neighbourhoods, schools, recreation facilities, commercial centers, shopping centers and other locations that might be of interest. We usually devote up to two full days for orientation visits depending on their timescale and are happy to plan them for weekend if preferred.
Ideally, property viewings can form part of the orientation visit, thus providing an ideal opportunity to finalize many details in just one trip. Rental properties do not normally stay available for very long in populay location so we recommend early viewings.
If education facilities are required we would normally pre-schedule appointments with suitable schools with the Principal and/or Head of Year relevant to each child.
Accompanied visits can be extended if required, although we find that the assignees prefer to explore on their own after the "official" orientation days.
SCHOOLS / HIGHER EDUCATION SEARCH
We will research the state and private (Public) schools in the destination neighborhood, advising on student achievement levels, staffing ratios, fee structure, extra-curriculur activities and so on, producing a report and recommendations.
In certain countries there are strict catchment criteria for schools and we will advise on which streets (and even which side of the street!) it is necessary to live on for children to be elegible to attend.
For younger children we research the availability of creches, kindergarden and infant schools, again preparing a report that details staffing levels, fee structure and any performance reports.
For further or higher education, and subject to each family member's needs we take a brief then research suitable institutions including universities, colleges, technical colleges, vocational training, courses and voluntary work locally and further afield, producing a report detailing potentially suitable options.
We usually try to pre-schedule appointments with the Principal and/or Head of Year at suitable facilities for during the Orientation visit.
COST OF LIVING COMPARISON
Understanding a relocating employees basic living costs is a critical element of every successful relocation.
Property costs, rent levels, food prices, travel costs, local taxes and utility prices all vary from country to country and also between regions and neighborhoods. It is important for transferees to understand these costs so they are not penalized when they move. As part of this service we are able to create a salary analysis that indicates whether the employee's salary may need adjusting to maintain the same standard of living in their new location.
Using a basket of services and products that includes necessities and luxuries we are able to create direct cost of living comparisons between their home location and their destination town or city.
As a minimum we include:
Utilities, food, local taxes, property rental and purchase prices, public transport, state and national taxes, internet and broadband, pay-for TV, eating out, motor fuel, alcoholic drinks, cell (mobile) phones, clothing and schools/education.
We want to ensure that the employee is able to maintain their current lifestyle without unplanned for financial surprises.
Please ask for our FREE cost of living comparison report.
VISAS, WORK PERMITS AND DRIVERS LICENCES
Obtaining the correct visa and work permit can be complicated and is time consuming.
For example, there are around 30 different immigrant visa categories for the US and the UK operates a 5 tier range of visa types for workers that are not from the European Economic Area (EEA). If you are planning for your employee to stay in France for longer than 90 days they will need a visa de long sejour!
Radstones works alongside specialist lawyers to ensure that our Clients receive fast-track visa and work permit processing for when, and where they are needed. Because they deal with visa applications on a daily basis, our lawyers have contacts in the relevant country's government visa departments that ensure we receive priority treatment on behalf of our Clients.
Similarly, transferring a drivers licence from one country's system to anothers needs careful management. It is often necessary to attend a local facility to obtain a new licence. We will normally arrange for this to be done during the employee's first few days at the destination location, and we can drive/accompany them if preferred.
Long term leasing or renting a vehicle will often require that a local drivers licence is obtained beforehand - particularly in the US. This, and other requirements are addressed during our discussions with your employee so that the relevant processes and documents can be put in place.
TRAILING PARTNER SUPPORT AND EMPLOYMENT
Most expat partners are accidental global citizens due to their partner receiving a job offer, or relocating with their current employer. For many working partners, relocating overseas often means sacrificing their own career as employment opportunities may be limited or restricted.
In a recent survey of over 14,000 expats, 84% of trailing partners were female and many of them were highly educated. However, according to the same survey, only 24% of them had jobs in their new location, the remainder stay at home and do not work. Many are unable to find suitable work assignments that utilize their skills and are within an appropriate salary range.
It is very important for expat trailing partners to understand that moving overseas is a big decision. Moving and leaving their career means their life is entering a new stage and it vital that their sense of self-worth is not lost and time needs to be taken to redefine their identity in the new location.
When a partner has to give up their work we are able to support and advise them on the best ways of finding employment in their new country, including Resume/CV writing, introductions to industry specific recruitment specialists and Head Hunters.
Social networking is a useful tool to help facilitate a fast acclimatisation so we go to great lengths to understand each trailing partners motivation, interests, hobbies and pastimes so that relevant groups can be researched and introduction opportunities made available.
Finding a new role that fully utilises a person's skills, qualities and experience can be challenging, and in a competitive market the right interview coaching, general advice and support will help increase the likelihood of a suitable role being offered.
Pet relocation can be a tricky business. The majority of countries have strict legistation to minimise the risk of spreading diseases such as rabies, screwworm, foot-and-mouth and TB plus infestations.
Certain regions and countries encourage the use of Pet Passports for domestic pets. This generally means that the pet does not have to stay in quarantine for up to six months at the arrival port or airport, but can join it's family straight away.
Importing horses in the USA involves mandatory quarantine and one of a number of specialist holding units. The regulations are quite complex. For instance, horses and other equines imported into the United States from countries affected with screwworm or Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE) must undergo a 7 day quarantine on arrival in the US.
We will advise you employee on the processes, necessary documentation and vaccinations required, managing the process from collection at home through to delivery to the new home.
PACKING / SHIPPING / UNPACKING
Radstones works alongside carefully selected international and domestic shippers.
We provide a specification for shippers to quote against including a collection and delivery timetable. We usually obtain three separate quotations for each relocation as services vary in terms of packing-shipping-unpacking.
The majority of overseas relocations will include sea freight for the bulk of your employee's possessions, so please bear in mind that when sea freight, customs clearance and then land delivery are taken into account it can often take up to six weeks to receive their possessions.
Due to the transit time issues, we recommend two short-term accommodation solutions. Either temporary furnished accommodation (usually called Corporate Housing or Serviced Accommodation) on a week-by-week basis, or a furniture rental package at their new home, also supplied on a week-by-week basis.
There are occasions when the assignee may decide to rent out their current home and furniture while they are away (Usually during a short, fixed term relocation often of two years or less). We can arrange and oversee the rental of their home in their absence. We have undertaken this service for more than 650 properties.
CULTURAL AND LANGUAGE TRAINING
More accurately called Cross Cultural Training, it is vital to pre-equip relocating families with the tools they need to survive and thrive in their new location.
Radstones works alongside carefully vetted and selected specialists to provide the training. We also provide a range of information sheets that highlight basic cultural and language data. This will all help the employeeyou to develop the intercultural expertise necessary to succeed in a global marketplace.
Training combines a mix of one-to-one sessions and remote learning that lead to an understanding of the cultural differences (and similarities), business etiquette, dining etiquette, public holidays and the reasons behind them and many more "differences" from country to country, even often overlooked once such as computer keyboard layouts!
A few simple examples of differences in a common language can be highlighted by comparing the USA and England:
When being introduced to a business person in Japan it is important to carefully read both sides of their business card before continuing. To just glance at it then put it away is an insult.
Similarly, one must never make the finger and thumb "okay" gesture in certain countries in south America as it is considered to be extremely rude!
As can be seen from the above, language training is not all about past, present and future tenses, it has to include the day-to-day nuances of life as well.
Ethic integration and communities also play strong roles in aiding the understanding of local culture.
In England they drive on the left-hand side of the street
The sidewalk is called the pavement
In England the first floor is called the Ground floor, and the second floor is the first floor
In the US a biscuit is a buttery bread roll, but in England its a cookie
The UK calls a 5 foot bed king size and a 6 foot one is super king
The cars trunk is its boot and the hood is the bonnet
VEHICLES: SHIPPING - BUYING - LEASING
To take a car abroad, or leave it at home/sell it?
Unless your employee has a classic or expensive car it is usually easier and better to lease or rent at their destination location. Please be aware that a reasonable credit rating is often a pre-requisite when leasing or renting.
Radstones works with a global corporation that can supply vehicles at competitive rates in over 25 countries.
We can arrange the vehicle for before or after your employee moves. With our program there are no restrictions on when they can start, and used as well as new vehicles are available, so costs cab be tightly controlled.The other major benefit is that no credit history will be needed in the destination country.
Shipping their own vehicle
Generally, unless their vehicle is a cherished or vintage model it is unlikely that shipping it abroad will be cost or time efficient. If the decision is made to ship a vehicle we can manage the process from collection to delivery, although it should be remembered that temporary vehicles will need to be available during the shipping process.
In most countries a local drivers licence will ne needed within a limited period to continue driving legally in the destination location, the employees existing licence will not suffice.
It is important to note that vehicles rented in the US may be restricted to staying within the state where they were rented.
Top selling cars US v's UK
Interesting facts about the top five types and numbers of cars (excluding pickups) sold in 2019 in each country:
1. Toyota Rav 4
2. Honda CRV
3. Nissan Rogue
4. Chevrolet Equinox
5. Toyota Camry
Total sales volume for all of the above was 1,865,712 units
The first "Native" American car was the Jeep Grand Cherokee that was in 13th position with 242,969 units sold.
1. Ford Fiesta
2. VW Golf
3. Ford Focus
4. Vauxhall Corsa
5. Mercedes-Benz A Class
Total sales volume for all of the above was 311,419 units which is about the same number of Honda Civics (325,650) sold in the same period in the US.
ETHNIC INTEGRATION AND COMMUNITIES
Moving to a new country, particularly for families that have strong religious beliefs and practices can be extremely stressful as their need to integrate whith the right community can be more pressing than for people that are generally "non-practicing".
At an early stage in the initial consultation we ask about what the assignee and their family will need from and in their local community in terms of belief support and networking. We then research to find the best-fit community for them in their new location, providing relevant information (and often contacts) so they can start their integration before they even leave home.
Experience shows that this early-stage interaction with the destination community helps to make the whole move less stressful for all family members and the trailing partner often has a ready-made network to welcome them to their new community and home.
This also impacts positivly on our school and home searches allowing us to more closely match locations with existing communities.
MEDICAL: DOCTORS, DENTISTS, COMPLIMENTARY PRACTITIONERS
During the pre-move discussions we will note broad background information about each family member's general medical requirements in terms of doctors, dentists and complimentary practitioners.
We do understand that sensitive medical information has to be dealt with in strict confidence and we never ask about anything other than broad requirements. If an individual chooses to tell us more so that we understand their needs and worries they can be assured that we will not discuss the details with anyone other than on an authorized need-to-know basis. We're happy to agree and sign confidentiality clauses if asked to do so. (This is also covered by our Client Confidentiality Agreement that we agree with all Clients)
Many countries do not operate a free health service, and health insurance is likely to be an additional necessary expense - we will advise your employee accordingly regarding the country they are relocating to.
Once we understand the needs of the whole family we will research and contact siutable practitioners, reporting back with our findings and recommendations.
Corporate Housing is commonplace in the US and Canada, and a growing trend in other countries where it is often termed Serviced Accommodation.
In the short to medium term this is often a preferred alternative to hotel bedrooms as the additional space allows the assignee to work in comfort and provides all the family with a home base where they can relax until their permanent accommodation is ready.
Rental prices for the entire apartment are similar to hotel bedrooms yet you get a full kitchen, appliances, full size dining table, desk and work area as well as a lounge with soft furnishings and a full-size TV. Separate bedrooms usually have en-suite bathrooms and closets.
The apartment buildings often have on-site parking, health club facilities and pool plus concierge service all included in the rental cost.
Our long-term association with corporate housing operators also means we are usually able to negotiate preferrential rates for our Clients.