#VLGMOVESYOU: PCS 101
About 60% of Veterans Lending Group employees are Veterans and/or Military Spouses; many have completed a PCS move 5 times. Below, we will share with you our best tips and tricks for a successful homebuying and PCS journey!
For those who may not be familiar: PCS is the Permanent Change of Station; the Military member is assigned to a location for at least 20 weeks for training or a job and includes a complete household move either within the United States or overseas.
Peak ‘PCS Season’ is roughly late Spring until early Fall with Summer being the most popular time families choose to move. The Department of Defense provides relocation allowance and assistance, so it is critical that you set your PCS budget! Start to get yourselves and your belongings organized by downloading our free PCS checklists and household organizer to create a PCS binder to house your budget, house hunting information, moving checklist, health records, pet vaccination records, children’s school records and inventory of your personal property.
Like most people facing a PCS, you are probably asking yourself questions like: Where is the best place to live? Is my BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) enough to pay for a good home in a good area for families? How do I move my pets? Will the Military pay for them if we are going overseas? Where/how do I begin the homebuying process? Can someone help me organized everything?
Tips & Tricks
Our VLG military families have put together a list of their advice and favorite resources they found to answer those questions and many more!
“Keep a binder with everything in it. I know things can be stored online now, but you want to have physical copies in one spot to hand out along the way. Especially if you land in a foreign country and have no cell service to pull those documents up. Also, places like airports and hotels still want hard copies of documentation. You will want several copies of orders. All of the records you’ll need for children and pets. All of your vehicle and house documents. Important documents such as copies of marriage certificates, etc. Never pack those things in HHG. You never know when you’ll need them in transition. Anything you put in that binder; make at least two copies in case you have to give one away.”Jessica G.
Move.mil: The official DOD site with everything you need to know from planning, scheduling, and settling in from your move. Create Loss and Damage reports, file a claim, moving POVs (Privately Owned Vehicles), household goods weight estimator, contact local transportation office for moving assistance and questions, determine your entitlements, and more.
My Ultimate PCS App: The first and only Military life PCS planning app created specifically for Military families to simplify the way they move and live. Available on Apple App Store and Google Play.
MILLIE: Millie Scouts are Military spouses who help you in every aspect of your PCS from exploring the area, whether or not to buy or rent, connecting you with fellow Military families and transition resources for your kids.
Military Sponsorship Program: Military One Source provides everything you need to know about Military sponsorship during your PCS. You will connect with a trainer Service Member at your new duty station. They will help you settle in.
It’s A Military Life: Owned by a seasoned PCS expert and Military Spouse and mom, Christina Etchberger provides tons of resources, tips and tricks to get through any deployment, PCS, and stage of life. This is a great place to start your research!
“PCSing to South Korea had it’s challenges, but having a positive attitude and being prepared, made the experience a lot more positive for my family. Plan as far in advance as the Military will let you, and communicate with your spouse as much as possible about the move – what are his or her orders and how can the spouse work together to make this a successful transition.”Christina E., It’s A Military Life
House Hunting & Homebuying
“Before purchasing or renting a home have someone view the home for you if you are not able to be present that way you do not sign a lease on a home that needs a lot of repairs.”
Veterans Lending Group: One-stop-shop to answer all things related to using your VA Home Loan Benefit, credit repair, BAH, mortgage calculator, and homebuying process.
“Make a plan for the housing situation. Sign up for Base Housing even though you might want to buy or rent a house off post. Try and organize your household goods before movers pack.”Britta S.
“Expectation management! There will be bumps and bruises on your personal items from the move and boxes might be missing. *TIP* Label your boxes or put color coated stickers on the boxes with numbers to tell the movers at your next base what room the boxes go in and if they’re numbered, you’ll know what is missing.”
Pride & Grit: FREE 13-page OCONUS planning guide for every overseas PCS move!
Stressless PCS Kit: All things for pre-move organizing: charts, color coded labels and stickers, what to toss and what to keep, virtual organizing and productivity tips and resources.
List & File: Owned by an Army Wife, List & File provides effortless, reliable file organization systems. These systems are useable for up to 10 moves and are customizable to be PCS related or just for everyday life.
“Color code the tape on your boxes, based on the room they belong in. We would fill the house with the furniture first and leave all the boxes in the garage and bring them in one by one depending on the color of the tape on the box.”Allison C.
Patriot Express: Check to see if your eligible to ship your pet via Military transport to your new duty station overseas on AMC (Air Mobility Command) flights.
International Pet & Travel Association (IPATA): Find vetted pet shipping company for domestic or international moves that handle all the details, to include travel/flight arrangements, quarantine/immunization paperwork requirements, pickup/delivery to and from the airport.
“For traveling – Pack snacks. Be sure to have a device they can watch/play games with and headphones. Extra set of clothes (wipes, diapers etc.) For school age kids – Talk with them, explain why you’re moving and help them to understand the importance of supporting their (SM parent) while relocating to help serve at different installations. that is if they are hesitant. Make sure they spend time with their friends before they leave. Let them know they will meet new friends.”
Child & Youth Services (CYS): As soon as you know where you’re headed, sign up for a waiting list for the CDC (base daycare) or youth centers.
Operation We Are Here: Resources for the Military community and supporters
“I’ve always had the kids stay with grandparents while we drove across country. It made it fun to have alone time with my husband and gave our parents time with the grandkids.”Arin A.
“If you’re driving, make sure you take as many essential you can in the car so you’re not waiting on your home goods to come in. Example: We took some kitchen stuff so we had stuff to cook on, eat on, and ways to store food. Shower curtains, bedding, and an inflatable mattress.”Crystal L.
Have your own advice or a go-to PCS resource? Leave a comment below! Make sure to share this with your fellow Military friends and families so they have smooth travels in the future! Remember: VLG moves with you wherever the Military takes you!