These are very uncertain times. In the past four weeks we have seen the affects that the Covid-
19 global pandemic has had on everyone, especially our military families. Just this week the
Department of Defense (DoD) travel ban was extended to June 30, pushing an already delayed
PCS (permanent change of station) timeline back even more. According to the Military Times
article, “The move comes with upwards of 100,000 troops, along with families, gearing up for the
annual permanent change of station (PCS) season” and continues on to say that “the travel
restrictions impact service members, civilians and families and wanted to give sufficient time to
plan for changes this will bring.”
In this short time we saw families preparing for PCS season come to a screeching halt, turning
an already uncertain time upside down. In my own little community, I saw a dual military couple
have the house they were renting be sold as they prepared for a move across country, only to
be “homeless” once stop orders fell into place, keeping them at their current duty station and
living in a hotel with an unknown travel release date.
Another military family preparing to move has their household goods being shipped overseas,
only to be stuck stateside with no way to meet their goods on the other side of the world.
As you probably already know, PCS season brings on stresses all on its own. In even a
“normal” PCS situation (which we all know there is no “normal”), families have to schedule
packers, movers, clean and sell items when their household goods exceed weight, etc. Not only
that, we have to scout out our next assignment based on schools for our kids, decide between
base housing or living in the surround community and so much more.
While this process can seem overwhelming and feel as though the seams are unraveling, there
are a few ways you can prepare yourself now for when life resumes to “normal” and you’re able
to finally move.
If you know you will be moving this summer, although delayed, the best way to prepare is to
connect with a realtor. As a military family I know just how crucial it is to connect with not just
any realtor, but a realtor that understands the issues and challenges of military life. Just
because timelines are a moving target doesn’t mean you should neglect preparing or finding a
person who can keep you connected to your family needs. Realtors are your eyes on the
ground and can provide you with so much more than pictures of your potential home. Realtors
can bring a wealth of knowledge and likely financial support tools. Do your research and stay in
preparation mode. The timeline changes will only push everything into an emergency timeline
as soon as things do open. Just imagine all the military families moving at the same time.
MilHousing Network has PCS Mentors that can help you connect with a realtor or helpful PCS
resources, connect with a PCS Mentor via chat on our Facebook page. Houses will be harder to
find and the housing system will be overloaded, which brings me to #2.
Understand that rentals and base housing will be a major issue come summertime. With military
families scrambling to get a rental or to get on base will force people that didn’t think about
buying before into buying. Make sure you are in the position to look at all housing options in
case on base houses are limited. If you have scoped out an area based on the schools, know
that those houses typically will rent/sell pretty quickly. Start your search much earlier than you
think. Make sure to communicate your needs with your realtor, but be mindful that your needs
might need to change based on availability.
Take advantage of the tech world we are living in and view homes virtually. We military
communities live in a wonderful network where you can simply utilize your networks to find
military families already living at your next duty station and can send you pictures, scope out the
area, tell you the 411 on the living situation, schools and more. Military families are more than
willing to share their tips of where to live and places to avoid. Try connecting with local
Facebook groups to connect with families in the area. If you do this beforehand, you will be
ready when for when your orders come in. You will be prepared to move fast because you
would have already narrowed down your area because you did all the hard work in advance.
If you know you are in the market to purchase a home, add 30-60 days to closing. Because the
real estate system is already overloaded with refinances, when PCS’s do drop, the process will
more than likely look very different from how it once looked. This means you will need to start
looking at the 120 day mark at areas, schools and homes. You will need to lock in your loan at
90 days and submit a contract at 60 days before closing to be safe. Appraisals will likely be a
major hurdle as time extends. Check in with your military friendly realtor to clarify all these
things and more for you. If you’d like a pre-screened military friendly realtor, we’d be happy to
Lastly, to make your move as stressless as possible, MilHousing Network is partnering with the
Stressless PCS Kit for a giveaway. This all-in-one labeling system ensures an organized move
each and every time. Enter to win a kit here (Retail $54.99). Winners will be picked on the last
day of April and will be notified via email.
Here is to a stressless PCS season, my friends.
As a military family, you need a real estate company that understands your unique needs. At
MilHousing Network we connect military families with pre-screened military real estate experts
all over the country. We’re built by military spouses to help military spouses and military families
PCS better. Every home sold within our network directly supports the military spouse community
by creating employment opportunities for our fellow spouses. Join our Facebook group at
https://www.facebook.com/groups/thingsPCS/ or visit https://www.milhousingnetwork.com.