A career in the military can involve many moves – and some will happen when you’re least expecting it or prepared to move.
As your assignment at a particular station is coming to an end, you may want to start thinking ahead, financially and logistically, about moving. You’ll especially want to be on top of things if the timing of your move is during the summer months which are considered the peak PCS season. During these months, it could be harder to find moving supplies and storage units, and schedule your packing and moving days.
If your budget allows, it’s a good idea to save some money every month dedicated to helping cover your upcoming moving expenses.
Although most expenses are supposed to go on a Government Travel Credit Card, there are cases where you might use your personal credit cards and you’ll need reimbursement. This process can take at least a month, so it’s important to have some savings to cover those bills until you get your money back. Also, be sure to save all of your receipts to submit in your expense request. You can request to receive some of the moving money in advance at an Installation Personnel Administrative Center (IPAC). If approved, the expense reimbursement will be automatically added to your paycheck.
Easing Your Move
Moving is a fact of military life for many of us. With that in mind, here are five tips for making your next PCS move as smooth as possible.
You’ll need to look at all of your household items and determine which items you plan to keep, which you’d like to sell, which to toss, and which to donate. If time allows, let friends and family know about items you plan to get rid of as they may be able to use them, or put the items into a yard sale. Once you’ve decided on what to keep, create an inventory that includes photos of those items and their approximate replacement cost. If you plan to store some items in PODS or other storage containers, be sure to ask about military discounts.
- Get Advice from the Pros (and Your Sponsor)
If this is your first move you might be apprehensive about all the steps involved. But rest assured, PCS moves involve hundreds of little details that repeat each time — from paperwork and pre-approvals to weight requirements and moving logistics. Visit move.mil to manage the process online. The site provides training videos, moving guides, FAQs, and more. You can also visit Plan My Move by Military One Source to access additional checklists and planning tools. Plus, if you have a sponsor, he or she can give you information about your new home and advice about the moving process. Also, be sure to check out GoMillie.com for information regarding your new duty station.
- Decide What to Pack
As your packing day approaches, be sure to set aside items you’ll need during your move, such as your military ID, passports, mortgage documents, school records, birth certificates, and Social Security cards. It can be helpful to organize these in a move binder to keep everything in one spot. Then you’ll want to create a list for the movers of what items they’ll pack and move and what they’ll leave. Label items that you will leave behind clearly or move them to a separate area or room, if possible. Often a representative from the moving company will walk through your home with you and flag items they can’t move such as candles, liquor, cleaning products, and even small household items such as batteries.
- Prepare for the Housing Inspection
If you live in base housing and there are certain repairs you’ve been putting off, you’ll want to make a list and have them completed sooner rather than later. Most housing offices will have a move-out inspection checklist to help you catalog and prioritize repairs. You’ll also need to have both the inside and outside of your home cleaned. If it’s in the budget, you can hire a professional cleaning service.
- Keep Positive and Out of the Way
While you may move every few years, your movers are professionals at securing and moving items. When they arrive, your house becomes a work zone. As movers are coming in and out, hauling your belongings away to the truck, it might be tempting to micromanage and direct. Although it’s important to make sure you feel comfortable with the way the move is going, obsessing over every little detail will only cause you and the movers additional stress and time. You should be accessible for questions, but generally stay out of the way and plan to bring your movers lunch or offer them water or snacks to show your appreciation. And, of course, kids and pets should probably not be underfoot.
We’re Here to Help
If you’re buying a home in your next PCS move, please contact us today. We can offer unbiased advice and recommendations as well as an honest and fair comparison of your mortgage options, including a wide range of low-rate and low-cost mortgages designed to meet your needs. Ensuring you obtain the best mortgage possible is our mission. Get your free mortgage assessment today!