Caring Attention During a Sudden Illness

Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Lisa Marie DeSanto

Every relocation program is unique, requiring close attention to all details to ensure our clients’ satisfaction and our mutual success. Some moves, however, stand out as particularly challenging. During these situations, our employees take great pride in providing innovative, caring and customized solutions to our clients and their employees. The following is one of many of these stories. 

Caring Attention During a Sudden Illness

For two years, whenever James thought about his relocation to Canada, he felt extremely fortunate. After all, in addition to supporting the goals of his company he had also been supporting his own personal and professional growth, while enjoying the opportunity to explore a vibrant new city with his wife, Lisa. Just 2 years after the move, however, happiness quickly turned into anxiety; Lisa had been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness that required them to return to their native United States – immediately – so she could receive lifelong treatment.

As a childhood survivor of an aggressive form of cancer, SIRVA Relocation Consultant Sabrina Sibblies knew all too well what the couple was going through, so she was committed to ensuring that their home sale ran quickly and smoothly. She hoped to leave James free to focus solely on his commitments to work and his wife. There were several challenges, however, along the way.

First, there was Lisa’s health: Because of her delicate condition, Sabrina knew that that the last thing Lisa needed was to be home when potential buyers were coming and going at all hours of the day, sometimes at a moment’s notice. Sabrina worked tirelessly to secure approval and house Lisa in a comfortable hotel for up to a week, so she could rest while potential buyers viewed the home.

Second, the home was listed in December, typically a slow market due to the many holidays being celebrated in the region. Sabrina and the team wanted to price the home aggressively for the couple but competitively to be sure that it would sell quickly. Efforts were coordinated to proactively meet both goals. As a result, a buyer was secured within the first two days of the listing.

But the challenges didn’t stop there. In Canada, if a homeowner isn’t residing in the country at the time of closing, the Canada Revenue agency withholds 25% of the home’s sale price (not the equity) until it can be proved via audit that no back taxes are owed on the property. This figure is even higher in Quebec (37.5%) where the couple had been living. The new buyers requested a February closing, which complicated matters. Lisa needed to relocate immediately, but also needed to prove residency at the closing two months later. Anticipating mounting medical expenses, Sabrina and her colleagues also wanted to ensure that the couple would have financial solvency. Through caring, coordinated efforts with SIRVA’s risk and inventory teams, Sabrina facilitated a temporary purchase of the home by SIRVA from James and Lisa in just ten days. This allowed the couple to leave Canada sooner than later, and Sabrina and her team to finalize the sale with the new buyers months later.

As a result of the above efforts, Lisa and James were able to move quickly, with no financial holdback on the property or issues with the takeover. Additionally, since they received all of the equity due on their Canadian home, they had the freedom to quickly choose a new one upon their return to the U.S.  Today, Sabrina and Lisa maintain a friendship, supporting each other on the path to healing, while James continues on a strong career path with his company in their U.S.-based office. 

The Face Behind the Story:

Sabrina Sibblies, Relocation Consultant

sabrinasibbliesSabrina is a Relocation Consultant, overseeing and managing customized relocation and home sale programs for each client she supports, including Domestic Canada and Cross-Border US moves. She’s been with SIRVA for 5 years, having grown from her former Relocation Associate role, and is based out of the company’s Toronto office. Prior to working with SIRVA, Sabrina earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Public Relations from the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto.

When Sabrina isn’t sitting at her desk assisting relocating employees, she enjoys travelling. So far, after visiting 9 countries, she’s decided that Costa Rica is her favorite place among them, but has plenty of other places on her wish list. She enjoys entertaining her colleagues with her not-so-stellar singing voice and bad jokes. Sabrina also loves to spend time with family and friends…and mimosas!