Driver License Delay

Dwellworks is dedicated to providing the latest news and regulations that affect relocating employees. Recently, we discovered that all US states will soon be required to comply with the S.A.V.E. program (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements) at the time of driver license application. This is the same database verification system used for Social Security application.  According to Homeland Security, “Secure driver’s licenses and identification documents are a vital component of a holistic national security strategy.”  Some states have already implemented this heightened verification, and all states are expected to meet the compliance deadline of January 15, 2013.

Implementing this regulation may cause occasional delays when driver’s license applications for expatriates are being processed.  Applicants may even be instructed to return to the office and complete the application process at a later date, which will result in multiple visits to the driver’s license agency.  Furthermore, transferees may experience inconsistencies applied by state driver’s licensing facilities, in terms of which immigration and proof of residency documents are requested.

Dwellworks will continue communicating information that will help transferees navigate complicated, local settling-in processes.

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Fewer Homeowners Underwater

According to an article from CBS News, negative equity dropped below 30% for the first time in years as home values rose on average 1.3% in three months.  Also, about 1.3 million more homeowners have surfaced from underwater mortgages as home prices continue to climb.  In the third quarter of the year, 28% of all homeowners (or about 14 million) still have mortgages that are still underwater, down from 31% or 15.3 million homeowners in the second quarter, according to Zillow.  These figures confirm findings from CoreLogic in its second quarter negative amortization survey.

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Dwellworks Recognized by Mobility Partners at the Worldwide ERC Global Workforce Symposium

Dwellworks was proud to participate in the largest global event of the relocation industry last week – the Worldwide ERC Global Workforce Symposium. The conference provided a fantastic opportunity to meet with industry peers and mobility partners, learn the latest industry news and trends, and share knowledge during informational sessions. The Dwellworks team also enjoyed visiting with local supplier network members during a ‘Meet and Greet’ gathering.

Dwellworks was honored with nine awards from mobility partners, including:

  • Lexicon “World of Quality 2012 Supplier Excellence Award”
  • WRRI “Commitment to Excellence – Raving Fan Award”
  • SIRVA “Supplier of the Year Award”
  • Cartus “Supplier Innovation Gold Award – Valuation Services: Ten Percent Variance Defect Analysis”
  • Cartus “Commitment to Excellence Gold Award – Rental Network”
  • Cartus “Commitment to Excellence Silver Award – Destination Services Provider”
  • Cartus “Commitment to Excellence Silver Award – Property Management”
  • BP “Vendor of the Year, Western Hemisphere”
  • BP “Outstanding Service by an Individual” awarded to Lorraine Vargas, Lead Manager, Destination Services

Bob Rosing, President and CEO of Dwellworks, said, “We were truly humbled to be recognized, and we could not be more proud of our team. These awards are a reflection of the tremendous effort our associates and supplier network put forth every day as well as the communication, respect and transparency we have with our partners. I would like to thank all of our clients for their continued partnership and Worldwide ERC for facilitating communication, education and sharing within the mobility community.”

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More Jobs = Higher Rent

Median rents in Manhattan climbed 10% in September and are now approaching the all time high of 2006. With 77,400 new workers and a lack of significant new inventory coming online this trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.  Be prepared to discuss housing allowances.

New York Magazine has the full story.

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Q&A With Dwellworks CFO Gene Novak: Executive Reflections on the Mobility Industry

What technology-based changes have you seen in the last five years in the mobility industry, and how have you shaped your business, products and services to meet those needs?

I consider myself fortunate to have worked with a technology company in the 1980s. Technology has always played an important role in my professional life. In the last five years though, I have noticed the power that technology can bring to a business – specifically in the mobility industry. For example, technology now enables us to obtain massive amounts of information that we can use to improve the quality of our relocation services. In fact, many of our clients at Dwellworks can attribute some of their growth and success to the data that technology has delivered to their operations.

Technology has both leveled the playing field and allowed some companies to sharpen their competitive edge. As the mobility industry becomes more sophisticated, what are three key areas where technology will offer the most innovation?

1. As technology evolves, companies will be able to improve their service delivery to customers. Technological advancements will continue to enhance the delivery process, whether by providing customers more pertinent information about their relocation or improving communications between the customer and the service provider.

Since virtually everyone has access to a cell phone or the Internet these days, transferees have higher expectations and less patience when it comes to obtaining relocation information. As service providers, we need to increasingly meet those demands both efficiently and effectively. Technology is the key to satisfying the needs of customers who want relocation information immediately.

Read More »

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Dwellworks Awarded Brookfield Transparency Award

Dwellworks was recently awarded the “Transparency Award” by Brookfield Global Relocation Services during “The Forum 2012.” Brookfield offered five awards during the annual conference that spelled out the word GREAT, with Dwellworks winning the final award — T for “Transparency”. The award was presented by Mark Grippo, Senior Vice President of Global Alliances, who cited Dwellworks’ continued ability to provide “transparent and accurate information when challenged to help the organization.”

“Dwellworks has strengthened what were once several smaller companies into a well-oiled machine and while they continue to grow, they have not forgotten their core promise to deliver excellent service,” said Grippo. “They take to heart that one of their greatest strengths is to be completely transparent with their clients. Their ‘trust’ is founded in the belief that the open relationship will drive the best performance and yield the best results.”

During the awards ceremony, Grippo also highlighted Dwellworks’ dedicated team of Destination Services Consultants who consistently serve Brookfield clients successfully, as well as the company’s continued efforts to expand appraisal and destination services while providing Brookfield with accurate information about the relocation and real estate market.

“We are extremely honored to receive this award,” said Bob Rosing, President and CEO of Dwellworks. “As a company that highly values integrity, we strive to offer clients transparent information that will ensure accurate and timely service delivery for relocating employees. We thank Brookfield for this recognition and we look forward to our continued partnership.”

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Dwellworks Awarded EuRA Quality Seal

EuRA Quality Seal 2010-2014Dwellworks was recently awarded recertification of the EuRA Quality Seal for Destination Services from the European Relocation Association (EuRA). Dwellworks is the only Destination Services provider in the United States to earn this prestigious seal.

“We are extremely honored to receive this distinction from EuRA,” said Patrick Spicuzza, Senior Vice President, Supply Chain at Dwellworks. “I’d like to thank our Quality team for their time and energy in laying the groundwork for the initial audit, as well as the recent recertification procedures to maintain compliance.”

The EuRA Quality Seal is an independent process, delivered through EuRA’s global audit partners.  The audit is based on reaching a set of standards in six core areas of business management for Destination Services.  Reaching these standards is evidenced by key performance indicators in each section.

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Property Management in the Government Sector

Property Management services are programs provided by private companies or the government that help relocating employees manage their previous residence as a rental property. By allocating an allowance for Property Management services, the government reduces overall government relocation costs by using Property Management services in place of allowances for the sale of the residence. Furthermore, these allowances relieve employees who are transferred to duty stations outside of the continental US from the costs of maintaining a home in the continental US during their tour of duty.

There are several differences between Property Management for government employees and regular professionals. For example, domestic government employees are only eligible for Property Management services for up to two years — one year plus a one year extension. For international employees, services are provided for only the duration of the assignment. But in corporate America, on the other hand, this period can be indefinite. Also, a property in a corporate Property Management program can be vacant, wheras in a government program, tenant-occupancy is a program requirement. Finally, government employees are required to pay their allowance back if they enter into a home sale program, whereas typical corporate employees are not required to do so.

Property Management services can be a great asset for relocating employees in both the government and private sectors. However, government transferring employees should make sure to understand the nuances of their Property Management program to ensure a successful experience.

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Rents Continue to Increase

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, new apartment construction now accounts for 28% of all new builds. This is the result of a continuing shift toward renting due to current economic and financial conditions. Vacancies among rental properties are at their lowest rate since 2002, creating a landlord’s market. Average rents increased in all 82 markets tracked by Reis Inc. and reached record levels in 74 of those markets, including Miami, Seattle, San Diego, Chicago and Baltimore.  The biggest rent increase of the second quarter was in New York City, where the average rose to $2,935 per month.  Developers are racing to deliver new apartment rental inventory in hot markets including Washington D.C. and Seattle and home builders have begun marketing affordable single family home options to renters.  If they are successful on both fronts, it could result in too many units flooding the market and landlords will, once again, be forced to offer concessions to fill units.

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Should You Buy Now?

We are hearing a lot about historically low interest rates and rising existing home prices, so those would typically indicate that you should get in while you still can.   In a recent article by Melinda Fulmer of MSN Real Estate, she provides some deeper analysis behind the headlines that would indicate that most buyers still have time.

 

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