Government relocations can be complex, as such understanding the unique parameters of the government relocation process can save a transferee and the government agency thousands of dollars on each relocation.
The Federal Travel Regulations (FTR)
Most government agencies follow the “Federal Travel Regulations” or “FTR”. The below info is specific to the agencies following the FTR. (If your agency does not follow the FTR – please contact ARC directly).
The FTR is published and can be found here.
While certain aspects of the FTR are “interpreted” differently by different government agencies – there are no exceptions to the FTR. The Federal Travel Regulations are law and must be followed and cannot be changed in any way unless congress votes the change.
Understanding the FTR can be streamlined by contacting an approved government relocation contractor.
Travel and “Per Diem” Rates
Travel, Meal and Temp Housing rates for relocation are all published and can be found at the below links:
Shipment of House Hold Goods
Under the FTR government employees are entitled to ship up to 18,000 lbs. of House Hood Goods.
If your shipment is over 18,000 – the mover is required to send the transferring employee a letter notifying the employee that the shipment is over the allowed weight.
Contact ARC for “best practices,” and “Rights & Responsibilities when moving” document.
Selecting the Best Mover
Selecting the best government relocation company can be complex – there are a myriad of factors to consider such as: price, quality/service, and experience. ARC’s system uses these factors and more to rate the best movers all over the world.
It can be a large advantage to select a “Move Manager” to assist with the selection and supervision of your house hold good carriers send the shipments.
How do I know the prices and rates are fair?
In 2014 a government relocation company was investigated and ultimately paid a settlement of over $500,000 to the Department of Justice for overcharging the government for services performed and charging the government for services that were never performed. As such it is crucial that the government agency understand the charges and the rates.
It is also best to have an independent auditor looking over the house good move invoices (and other invoices the provider may be handling).
The government has its own price tariff known as the “GSA01″ for domestic moves. The GSA has negotiated rates under the GSA01 which are published and can be found here.
Make sure the mover uses the “government voucher” form (the SF 11113) and the voucher clearly states that the GSA01 is being used.
For instructions on best practices for government billing please visit the GSA website.
Is there an advantage for an employee to “move on their own” and seek reimbursement?
No. In fact – there are large risks and liability issues for both the employee and agency if the employees “does it themselves.” Most likely costs that are not allowed will be incurred, the pricing will most likely not be as low as the government rates and injury or accidents can be filed against the government agency for “workman’s comp” or liability can be awarded in law suits as a “government sponsored relocation.” Leave the moving to the professionals and under their insurance/liability umbrella policy.
What’s covered when an employee sells their home? According to the FTR – Normal and customary selling costs up to 10%.
Guaranteed Home Buyout
Some government agencies may offer a “Guaranteed Home Buyout” program. (These programs are designed to get mission critical employees to the new duty station without having to wait for the home to be sold under to the “average marketing time” in the employees origin area. Many agencies may need an employee to relocate in 90 days or less while some real estate markets have an average of 180 days or more marketing time before a home sells.
As an employee – How do I make sure my buyout is fair?
- First and foremost call ARC!
- Make sure the list of appraisers you are given includes all of the ERC appraisers in your area.
- Run all of the appraiser names past friends, coworkers and your realtor to get their past experience with these appraisers.
- Interview the appraisers on the list (i.e. how familiar they are with your area, how long they’ve been an appraiser etc.).
- Provide the appraiser comps and the “adjustments”/”upgrades” for your home.
- Have a professional review the appraisal for mistakes.
As an employer – how do I make sure the guaranteed home sale appraisals are fair?
The employee should be allowed to use any “ERC” appraiser that they chose.
The two appraisals used for the employees buyout offer should be within 5% of each other.
The employee should be given the “right” and the “resources” to “appeal” the buyout appraisals.
The employee should be given the right to “reject” the buyout and sell their home independently and file for reimbursement.
The employer/government agency should track what the home ultimately sells for and if the buyout was fair and accurate.
The appraisals should follow “ERC” guidelines and industry best practices regarding use of “forecasting” and “distressed sales”.
Normal and customary closing costs up to 5%.
In most states programs are available to register employees for a “rebate” back after closing to help offset costs and ensure that the closing cost being charged fall under the FTR.
Contact ARC today to a list of the preferred brokerages and mortgage providers.
For a list of preferred Temporary Housing Providers and the Temporary Housing rates in any area contact ARC.
ARC is a government relocation company ready to help you with your needs.
If ARC can be a resource in any way, please contact us today!
Toll Free 866-697-3561 or firstname.lastname@example.org
GSA Contractor # GS-33F-0054V