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Relocating

Are you considering relocating your federal career - either by your choice or by Uncle Sam? There are practical issues and concerns to think about when deciding whether or not to relocate. Others have done it while still others have not. This forum will allow for all to offer their insight, post their questions, and help each other out.

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BigBear99  
#1 Posted : Monday, February 18, 2013 5:23:37 AM(UTC)

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I am a current DoD civilian and I just received a tentative offer with a new DoD agency which will be a relocation for me and my family. I have accepted the tentative offer. The offer states "Travel and Relocation (PCS) expenses WILL be covered". There was no description on what these expenses would be and I imagine I wont know until I have a firm offer and am contacted by someone at the Personnel Center (who knows how long that will be). The main thing I would like to find out sooner than later is if the Government (or a USG contractor) will offer to buy my current home. I have done a little research and some information on Relocation Services for DoD Employees, the DoD Home Sale Program, DoD National Relocation Program (DNRP), and Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP) but everything I have found seems to be vague and outdated.

Does anyone know if some sort of program to buy the current home of a relocating civilian DoD employee still exists? If so, is it commonly offered when full PCS expenses are covered? Even further, is it usually a decent deal? Is the timetable relatively quick?

I appreciate any responses in advance. I understand I will hopefully find out shortly one way or another but that would be a few weeks and whether or not we will have to sell our house ourselves or not will definitely affect some decisions in the meantime.
Rocky Run  
#2 Posted : Monday, February 18, 2013 6:05:01 AM(UTC)

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You need to read the Joint Travel Regulations Vol 2, and understand everything in it. It is the bible for civilian relocation. I did this many years ago and took advantage of everything that was allowed by the regulation and nobody ever questioned anything I asked.

http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/Docs/perdiem/JTR(Ch1-7).pdf

The government will not buy your house. It will pay most the fees associated with the sale of your existing home (including real estate commission), and some of the fees to set up your new home. You are also allowed a period of TQSE and permissive TDY to house hunt.

Know what you are entitled to. If anybody questions you, refer them to the JTR language.

It's that easy.
pixel  
#3 Posted : Monday, February 18, 2013 10:29:43 AM(UTC)

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I'll echo the statement that you should read up on the regs JTR Vol 2. You didn't mention if this was a CONUS/CONUS, CONUS/OCONUS, Etc. If OCONUS you should read up on the DSSR - Department of State Standardized Regulations as well.

There are some PCS allowances that are mandatory while others are discretionary.

Check the link below for a general idea. Since you're a current employee scroll to "Subpart B—Transferred Employees".


LINKpixel2013-02-18 18:35:31
BigBear99  
#4 Posted : Monday, February 18, 2013 10:15:02 PM(UTC)

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Pixel and Rocky Run - Thank you very much for the information you provided. This is a CONUS to CONUS move. I went to both of your links and found information that led me to beleive that the USG buying my house may be an option: In the JTR Vol 2 Chapter 5 Part Q and FTR 302-3 Subpart B both talk to a Relocation Services Company MAY be offered. In reading about what the Relocation Services Company is it appears they do have a program to possibly buy your house.

Am I reading this correctly? Is this something that is rarely offered? Has anyone been offered this?
Jim Smith  
#5 Posted : Monday, February 18, 2013 10:31:26 PM(UTC)
mooch2112

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BigBear, good luck with your new job and your move.

I have used the PCS move 3 times over my career. Make sure you get with HR to go over the details of your move. There should be some kind of call or email with your PCS / travel person which will set up the initial PCS paperwork. Once the initial PCS paperwork is completed, it is VERY difficult to make changes / adjustments to your PCS.

You should get allowances for selling your house (realator commission fee - the biggest one) and for buying a new house (if you choose to do so). Also, as stated before, you may choose to be in TQSE (temporary quarters) while looking for a new residence. The TQSE will be "automatic" for 30 days, but some paperwork and a good reason MAY be required for 31-90 days in TQSE (if you are unable to find a permanent residence after 30 days).

The best advice I can give you is make sure your PCS is set up with what you need included (buying / selling residence, travel for dependants, TQSE, etc.).

Now, for your main question, the "home sale guarantee" has been used in the past. I have not seen it or heard of it used recently (with the downturn in the housing market). The job announcement may have mentioned if it was included or not. Most likely, I would not count on the govt. buying your previous residence (old duty station). It seems to me that the guaranteed home sale is rarely offered. Of course, if you can convince the agency / HR to offer it, get it in writing.

Good luck.
pixel  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, February 19, 2013 12:38:28 PM(UTC)

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No problem BigBear, hope the info proved useful. I do recall during my first PCS the subject of the house purchase program came up, my takeaway was that it was rarely provided because of cost. I guess it wouldn't hurt to ask, but in the current fiscal climate it might be tough to get.

Make sure all the discretionary allowances are detailed on your orders.
Scott Dickinson  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, February 19, 2013 8:07:48 PM(UTC)
computerscott2

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The only time I have seen the home buying program used was for people who were directed to move through no fault of their own, such as people on rotational transfer jobs such as FBI agents, etc AND high level SES types. Some SES'ers (that's Senior Executive Service) get return rights to their home of record, meaning that the agency will pay to move them back home if they retire with that agency. That usually included home buying incentives.
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