Being transferred for work, or just accepted a new job in a new town?
Take some negotiating tips from a Microsoft executive who scored a pretty sweet relocation  package.
Microsoft business division president Stephen Elop got a cool $4.1 million in relocation expenses for the fiscal year ended June 30. It included the usual goodies (movers , etc.), but also the sweetener that the company would take his Silicon Valley home off his hands if he couldn’t sell it himself.
Such relocation deals, while not uncommon, are becoming rare except for the upper echelons of management. It’s pretty clear why: In today’s housing market, corporations, relocation companies and moving companies that offer this service have lost of ton of money buying employee homes that have plummeted in value.
In fact, more and more employees are simply being handed a lump sum to handle their move, rather than having the company, or an outside firm, arrange it for them. Just too expensive.
And if you’re moving to take a new job, particularly if you don’t have a lot of negotiating power, you might be totally on your own for relocation costs. But depending on your situation — particularly if you don’t have a job currently — you might be completely fine with that.
But back to Microsoft’s Elop, who buy all measures did pretty well. Microsoft said it would buy Elop’s old house at a price equal to the average of three independent appraisals if he were unable to sell the home in a preset time.
If the average appraisal came in below what Elop originally paid and adjusted for home improvement projects , Microsoft agreed to pay the difference. He also was given a “tax gross up” – a reimbursement from Microsoft on any individual income stemming from the real estate sale.
Because the California real estate market  tanked, Microsoft ended up owning Elop’s house, later selling it at a price “significantly below” the original purchase price. In addition to the $4.1 million in relocation expenses , the filing says he received a $1.2 million tax gross up.