My husband is a relocated employee through his employer. Our old home is still for sale after 18 months and our relocation benefits are close to expiration. Can we force them to buy to house or make it sell faster?

February 1, 2016

Employers engage relocation companies to help employees. There is much to know about what happened to arrive at this spot, but here are eight steps to take as soon as possible.

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Reader Question: My husband is a relocated employee through his employer. They use a large relocation firm. Our benefits package pays some costs, but no house buyout. We bought a new home in the new location. Our old house has been on sale for over 18 months. The agent says new home construction is the problem. We keep reducing the price and paying expenses (already incurring losses close to 90K). We believe the Realtor recommended by the relocation company overpriced the house.

If we rent the house, we lose the benefit. The commission benefit expired once and will be expiring again soon. Is there any way to make the employer or relocation company buy the house, any other options or thoughts for the relocation company to sell the house fast? Is there legal recourse to recover our losses? Your advice is appreciated. John and Marla B.

Monty’s Answer: Be very cautious about suing your employer. Seek more than one legal opinion from attorneys as to the pros and cons of considering this route and their opinion as to the likelihood of prevailing in a lawsuit. Here are more immediate thoughts to consider:

  1. First determine the person within your company, not the vendor, with whom to share your experience. The purpose of the relocation benefit is to help the employee. Your company-wide relocation person will not be happy to hear your story. They may take action knowing that the relocation company has not performed. Focus on the vendor. The vendor recommended the agent, and they are the “experts.” There is a risk here if you have not taken the agent’s advice, but your comments suggest that you have. There is a chance if you get in front of the right individual, help that has not been offered up to this point may be an option. You will not know until you ask.
  1. The situation you find yourselves in is not a good reason to become a real estate investor. A casual investor should also be close enough to the property they can drive to it in less than a day. Review this link to see who should own rental property.
  1. Focus your energy on getting your home sold. When your home sells, the bleeding stops. At this point, the benefit of consulting with the relocation company has evaporated. There are many questions about exactly what is going on that the home is still unsold after a year-and-one-half. Owning two homes is very expensive, but relocation companies are to prevent this occurrence. Are you still with the “company” real estate agent? Are you both living in the new location? Did the relocation company or the real estate agent give you the reason the home is not selling?Have other real estate agents been consulted for a second or third opinion?
  1. Consider Dear Monty’s website advice about selling a home. Have all the necessary steps been taken? Here are articles that may be helpful to read: The red flags of real estate. Could your home contain any other red flags today besides #12? Here is the best way to choose a real estate agent. How far away do you live from your old home?
  1. An updated review of the neighborhood market activity can confirm or dispel that new construction competition is preventing a sale. Cost sets the upper limit of value and many homebuyers that want the neighborhood will buy a 9-year-old home to save money. Have your price reductions defeated new construction?
  1. Reduce the price of the home now by the commission amount. A lower price sale now means the company paid commission will absorb the price reduction. Reconfirm the benefit’s expiration date and that a contract, not a closing, qualifies for the commission benefit.
  1. Dear Monty can fly-over. With the street address, we utilize Internet maps to detect out-of-the-ordinary influences. For example, a nearby commercial building may produce sound, traffic or odor that could raise prospect concerns. Addressing concerns up-front can reduce potential resistance.
  1. There are “Choose your agent” services today to help home sellers who do not live near the former property. You save time and gain their expertise in agent selection. Dear Monty is one of the companies that offer this service, and you can learn more here at  frequently asked questions.

Review this information and if you have other questions, please ask. Our goal is to help readers improve their outcomes when buying and selling real estate.