When Continental Resources announced last year that it was moving its headquarters from Enid to Oklahoma City, Damon Metcalf first thought about the finances involved.
But he soon realized that his company had taken care of the costs.
“Knowing that we weren't going to take an adverse financial hit took so much uncertainty out of the process,” said Metcalf, an assistant controller at Continental. “Taking the financial uncertainty out of the equation allowed us to focus on the schools, the neighborhoods and things of that nature.”
Continental used a series of incentives to make the relocation effort easier.
The company paid a 2 percent bonus on the sales price for its employees' homes that sold within 90 days, allowing room for negotiations and a quick sale.
Providing safety net
For people such as Metcalf, whose house did not sell within three months, Continental bought the property at the appraised value.
The Metcalfs placed their home on the market in November 2011. After 90 days, there were no takers, and the couple sold their home to Weichert Relocation Resources, a New Jersey-based relocation company working with Continental on the move and its employee real estate transactions.
“That program was our saving grace,” Metcalf said. “It was a safety net to have that buyout option. It allowed us to have significant flexibility as to when and where we would be able to move back.”
Before listing the home, the Metcalfs knew exactly how much Continental would pay and when it would pay for the home if it didn't sell quickly.
Armed with that knowledge, the couple quickly began looking in Edmond, buying a new home in December.
“Without that guaranteed buyout safety net, there is no way we would be able to work out the home purchase we made,” Metcalf said.
Relocating companies have several incentive options to choose from. Most select one or a few, but Continental chose all of the above, said Barbara Silverman, a relocation counselor at Weichert.
“The housing program was at one time very popular in the days when real estate was booming,” Silverman said. “The norm now is that the appraisals and guaranteed buyouts are given to the higher-level transferees, but Continental offered it to all employees.”
The home buyout guarantees are more common with relocations by companies in the energy industry, said James Curtis, CEO of Dallas-based Corporate Relocation Inc., which is not involved in the Continental move.
By the numbers
• 263: Enid employees Continental offered to relocate to Oklahoma City.
I could focus on things that were more important like making sure my kids were safe during the day and that they would be in a safe neighborhood and a good school.”