Monthly Archives: February 2016

Happy Spouse, Happy House and Happy Employee

I’d dragged myself out of bed most mornings at 6am to go to the company gym. Now don’t worry, I always made sure I put deodorant on and brushed my teeth before I left. Fresh breath is a priority in my life. * The company gym offered classes, trainers, and a decent variety of equipment that rivaled most pricey outside gyms. Most importantly, the gym also offered a chance to get to know work colleagues at all levels of the organization.

Over time I built “gym buddy” relationships with executive staff including 2 who recently relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area. Weight lifting and stationary bike conversations quickly transitioned away from weekend talk to “who do you know” questions to support remodeling projects or referrals to meet family needs. Given my real estate experience and deep roots to the Bay Area, I am always happy to share what I know about remodeling, landscaping, and local area information. I really enjoy helping others along their path and helping them avoid the challenges I’ve faced!

I was surprised by how hungry many relocating colleagues were for information. Don’t the company relocation teams help these executives with this sort of stuff? Don’t they get assigned a “relocation buddy” to help sort out the details to ensure everything is moving smoothly? It turns out no. “We were very disappointed with the relocation process here. The team helped sell my home and buy a home here. The buying process was a real grind because the assigned realtor had little local knowledge. After we moved in we were kinda left to fend for ourselves. My wife had to scramble to get the kids plugged in and we had no idea how to start on getting a remodel project done. Not a good experience,” one seasoned executive shared.


I am passionate about employee relocation in response to what my executive colleague shared with me. This is a common story I’m hearing from several friends. Let’s face it, uprooting and moving the family to anywhere is a disruptive and scary process no matter how great the opportunity. Families must say goodbye to family, kids say farewell to friends and loved teachers, and the familiar rhythm of life (sounds like a Disney song) is broken.

Moving to the Bay Areas is double scary because of the high cost of housing, population density and pace of life. It’s triple scary if you are moving from another country and experience culture shock! It ain’t easy here. I know, all of my Los Angeles and NYC friends are snickering at this statement.

A successful relocation reaches beyond just moving the family and folding the employee into the company culture. A successful relocation program must go the extra mile by integrating the family into the right home in the right community, supporting any legal documentation requirements, providing guidance in how to plug the family into schools, clubs and organizations and more. Why? It’s simple. Happy spouse, happy house…which means happy, high-performing executive who does not need to worry about the home front. Knowing that the company is taking great care of the family will also build a strong loyalty and commitment from the employee to the company.

Many of the tech giants work with 3rd parties to provide these services, but I’m sensing that the ball can be dropped in finding the right home in the right local community and in providing the right support after the family has moved. I’ve also come across instances where the assigned realtor had no specific knowledge of the communities in and around where the company was located. Yikes. How will the employee be set up for success if that’s the case? Clearly one standard relocation program does not meet the needs of all. My goal is to provide services to help address these problems.

Please email me at if you, or someone you know, needs help in successfully relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area from within the US or Internationally. I can provide an area tour of the Bay Area, share area specific market analysis and insights into local schools or traffic patterns. I’d be happy to share my unique local perspective and market knowledge.

Thank you for your continued support in making the San Francisco Bay Area a great place to live and work.

* Is fresh breath a priority in your life? Reply on Twitter to @ericdunstan to this message with the movie and character reference and be entered to win a Starbucks gift card.


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