If you’re part of a military family and you hear the words “orders” or “PCS” (Permanent Change of Station), chances are, your anxiety goes up a notch and your mental preparation — if not actual packing — begins.
“Military families face a lot of challenges when PCSing or even making their final location decisions after retiring,” says Tina Bodolosky, CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty’s Director of Relocation Services. “These challenges are not only with the service member and their concerns about their new base and assignment, but also their spouse and children.”
Tina explains that often a service member has to move first, causing even more stress. “The trailing spouse may be left in the last location and challenged with selling the current home and making the move — along with home search trips to choose a new home. When moving to an unfamiliar area, families worry about schooling, good neighborhoods, base housing options and options for employment for the spouse.”
She says that these stressful moves can be eased by having an advocate, particularly a real estate agent who is familiar with all the different challenges PCSing family members have.
“Agents who specialize in military families and relocations understand the needs of these special families and know right from the start what questions to ask, what information to provide and how to help them maneuver through a move with sometimes complicated details,” says Tina. “Whether it be temporary rentals, coordinating with the listing agent in their previous location, working with moving companies, providing information on local schools and recreation along with the right resources to help find the employment options for the spouse, an agent with PCS knowledge and experience is essential.”
While an experienced agent can help you with your big move, we’ve created a list of what to avoid during the relocation process:
- Don’t plan too soon. Wait for actual orders.
- Don’t move EVERYTHING. Purge. Now’s the time for a thorough evaluation of what goes to charity or the trash.
- Don’t move boxes that were never unpacked from your last move.
- Don’t move items that are better off replaced (toilet brushes, mops, brooms, etc.). Freshen your new house by purchasing clean new items.
- On the other hand, don’t forget your budget. Create one now if you haven’t already. Factor in all your moving expenses.
- Don’t forget to ask about military discounts when incurring moving expenses. You’ll never know unless you ask!
- Don’t lose track of important paperwork. Create a PCS binder that includes birth certificates, vaccination records, passports, marriage license, military orders, contact information, car titles, military IDs, etc.
- Don’t tackle everything yourself. Divide the work among family members. This is a great lesson in teamwork and an opportunity to teach children responsibility.
- Don’t throw yourself into moving 24/7. Make time for yourself. Schedule downtime.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask friends and other milspouses to watch your children and pets or help you with the packing.
- Don’t forget to pack a “Don’t Pack” Box. This should include things you’ll need right away — bedding, towels, first-aid kit, medication, toothbrushes, uniforms, a few days’ worth of clothes for each family member, valuables, phone chargers, pet essentials, favorite children’s toys — anything you’ll need in the midst of moving or immediately after you’ve reached your location but have not yet unpacked at your new home.
- Don’t forget your four-legged friends. Figure out now how you will be moving pets and begin making those arrangements.
- When you arrive at your new destination, don’t open more than one box at a time. Finish unpacking each box before tackling the next so that you aren’t overwhelmed by partially emptied boxes everywhere.
- Don’t focus on what you’ll be missing in your previous community. Focus on your exciting new digs. Research your new locale online and create a list of all the places you would like to visit there as if you were a tourist. Join FB groups that revolve around your new community.
- Don’t forget military rewards programs. You can earn up to $7,500 when you close on your new home!
Contact us to find out how active military, veterans and their families receive $350 to $7,500 in cash back and rewards from our Military Rewards program.