Expatriates who are offered services of relocation agency during their move abroad have a higher chance of succeeding during their assignment. A good relocation agent will be your personal advisor throughout the whole relocation process, starting from the moment you have decided to move abroad until your departure. We advise how to work with a relocation agent to make your move as smooth as possible.
Before the relocation agency contacts you for an initial briefing, your HR department provides them with all required information about your family status: if you married, how many children you have, how old they are, if your spouse works etc. Only then, the agent gets in touch with you to conduct an interview. This briefing is one of the most essential parts of the relocation process, so it’s quite important you are well prepared and know what you need and want. Based on the information you give the agent, they prepare your look & see visit and most likely will send you some initial housing proposals.
Be cultural sensitive. What is obvious to you, it’s not necessarily the same in the new location. Take for instance room counting. In UK real estate agents mention only bedrooms, in the USA every room incl. kitchen and bathrooms.
Look & See
Look & See visit is prepared fully by your relocation agent. The visit can be both exciting and challenging. On the one hand, you will see the new city, choose your new house and school for children, on the other hand, the visit is packed with appointments, property viewings, meeting new people… and all is new. You might be forced to take fast decisions especially when it comes to real estate as the market can be volatile and the best apartments/houses are rented out pretty quickly. However, do speak up if there is anything you are not satisfied with, talk to your relocation agent and be flexible about your expectations.
Choosing your new house
Your company policy and your contract determine your housing allowance. In some cases, you wouldn’t even know the exact amount you can spend on your rent. It’s in the relocation agent’s responsibility to make sure your needs are met within the budget set by your employer.
You can start with a “simple” decision to choose either a house or an apartment.
Be prepared to make compromises. Your relocation agent might be able to find an exact house you described, but you might as well not be so lucky. Try to make up your mind what matters to you and what are just nice-to-have features. Is the location more important or maybe the exact type of house you are looking for? Would you be satisfied with a balcony or a private garden is a must? Do you need your bedroom to have an en-suite bathroom or not? Do you need to have your own garage space? How important to you is an open plan kitchen? Would you consider renting a semi-furnished apartment?… etc.
While choosing your house location take into consideration commuting time to your office/school/city center. Although it might seem your chosen location is close to your office, it is quite possible that you would need twice the time to get there during rush hours. Talk to you agent to find out the details.
Choosing a school for your children
This decision has a lot of implications for the future of your children. There are also a lot of options: you might choose to sign up your child to a boarding school in your home country or bring your child to your new location and register either at your home country school, if available, or choose an international school.
There are many educational opportunities for your kids. There are schools with the international program – IB (International Baccalaureate), Italian, French, Japanese schools. You can also choose between various bi-lingual programs. Read more about international schools on our website.
At this stage you would need to decide, what would you like to take with you to your new location. Would all the furniture fit in your new house? Think about your electric appliances. Even within Europe, there are different plug systems for instance. Talk to your relocation agent to make sure you would be able to connect your beloved lamp, your TV or hi-fi system. Ask about the costs of changing the plugs if needed.
If you however choose to leave your furniture in your home country, you might store them in a self-storage place or maybe leave them at your friends or simply sell them. Talk to you agent, if they know about any other expats moving into your home country. They might need something you want to dispose of. Plan ahead to make the move smoother.
If you are a happy owner of a pet, ask your agent what documents you would need to transport it. Most likely, you need to have a special vaccine certificate or any other papers allowing you for an animal transportation.
Another important item is the transportation of fine art. If you are a proud owner of an art piece (paintings, sculptures, coins, stamps) registered in cultural heritage registry or of an art piece older than 55 years you might need to obtain a certificate as a written permission to ship it cross-border.
Usually, your relocation agent contacts the moving company and they take care of the whole organization incl. packing and supplying with special packages. Ask about the insurance and make sure your valuables are insured as well.
Upon your arrival your agent should help you with a registration at your public office, obtaining a tax number, changing your driving license. All the bureaucratic issues might take up to a couple of days. As your company most likely would need you in your new office straight away, it’s advised you talk to your employer and plan in these days off.
You relocation agent will handle all the utility registration, bank account opening, internet connection. Make sure you let your consultant know, what are your expectations regarding all the contracts. If you would like to register for green energy, let him know that!
Another important step in your smooth relocation is attending a cultural training and signing up for language lessons. Although it might seem in the beginning as an extra work, it’s worth investing your time in.
If your partner/spouse would like to take up a job in your new location, you should talk to your HR department trying to get all the required documents for a work permit, if needed.
At the end of your personal time with your agent, don’t forget to get all the tips about shops, restaurants, hobby classes, gym, expat’s community etc… and browse our website to get even more information.
Every time you have questions or problems, don’t hesitate to contact your agent. They know your situation already and would be able to sort out problems you might have immediately.
Latest, you will meet your relocation agency during your departure at the end of our assignment. They facilitate all de-registration activities let it be rental contract cancellation, utility, and telephone de-registration and un-subscribing you from local authorities. Even if you speak the language by now, don’t renounce the presence of your agent.