PCS Orders? Proactive Tips For A Less Stressful Move

Real Estate Blog

Every new member of the military quickly learns dozens of abbreviations that will have bearing on their life during their service. Often, an abbreviation can stand for something that will have a serious impact on both their life and the lives of their immediate family.

One such abbreviation is PCS, which stands for Permanent Change of Status. Military members who receive a PCS order understand that relocating to a new area is in their immediate future and must begin to prepare for it.

If you or your spouse has received your PCS orders for the first time, the following tips can help you make your relocation process as pleasant and stress-free as possible. 

Develop a detailed timeline

Once your PCS orders have arrived, the first order of business should be to create a viable timeline for your move. As part of creating this timeline, you will need to meet with the base transportation office that will oversee your moving process. The base transportation office for each service branch and the abbreviation for each are as follows:

  • Army - Installation Transportation Office (ITO)
  • Navy/Marines - Personal Property Shipping Office (PPSO)
  • Air Force - Traffic Management Office (TMO)
  • Coast Guard - Household Goods Shipping Office (HGSO)
  • The Department of Defense (DOD) - Joint Personal Property Shipping Office (JPPSO)

During this meeting, military families will be counseled on any moving options that may be available for their particular situation and will receive assistance in making initial arrangements. You will also be given a projected date for your move and advised to contact the family center in the area where you will be making your new home. 

Allow time to meet move-out requirements

If you are currently living in government quarters on your current base, it is important to notify the housing office overseeing these quarters immediately upon receiving your PCS orders. Military members who live in government quarters must meet relatively strict cleaning guidelines when relinquishing their housing units.

Your housing office will be able to provide you with a copy of those requirements and instruct you on how to schedule an inspection of your residence once the cleaning requirements have been met. 

Make careful financial plans 

While most military families qualify for some type of moving benefits, there are likely to be additional costs incurred during the move. Military families who are planning to purchase a home in their new location instead of living on base will need to budget for the costs associated with the purchase, as well as the moving expenses.

Setting up a meeting with your current finance office can be very helpful for military families with PCS orders. The finance office staff will be able to help military members itemize expected relocation costs, determine any benefits they may qualify for, and create a workable budget for both the move and housing in the new area. 

Consider visiting the new area before the move

Depending on the location of your new base, you may be able to make a short weekend trip to the new area before the actual move. Even a short visit, if possible, will help military families gather information about the new area and get a feel for the housing options that are available there. 

If time or distance make a visit to the new area impossible, military families should reach out to a real estate professional in the area who is familiar with military relocation and the PCS process. 

An astute real estate professional can be your "boots on the ground" in your new location. He or she can provide you with video tours and information about the area and available rentals or homes for sale. 


19 September 2018

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