7 Things Military Households Need to Do Before Every PCS Move

A person pushes a dolly up a ramp into the back of a moving truck with moving boxes lined up along a sidewalk
Military spouse Valerie McNulty says the use of a GPS tracker placed in her household goods during her family’s recent permanent change of station made national news headlines and led to conversations with top Department of Defense officials about bettering PCS experiences. (Jenn DeHaan/Army)

Post from MilitaryByOwner

Moving is an integral part of military life, and even if you've experienced it multiple times, taking care of certain tasks beforehand can ensure a smooth transition. To help you kick-start your next permanent change of station (PCS) confidently, here are seven things military households need to do ahead of time.

1. Create a PCS Binder

Start by organizing a dedicated PCS binder that contains all the necessary documentation for your move. Include items such as orders and moving documents, school and medical records, custody paperwork, marriage and birth certificates, and other essential family documents that cannot be easily replaced.

Keeping everything in one place will save you time and ensure that you have all the required paperwork upon arrival at your new duty station.

2. Choose Your Moving Option

Decide whether you will opt for a do-it-yourself (DITY) move, also known as a personally procured move (PPM); a partial DITY move; or to have the military schedule movers for you. Each option requires specific paperwork, and submitting it as early as possible is crucial to avoid delays.

If you plan to make a DITY move, submitting the paperwork promptly ensures that you receive the compensation you're due. If the military schedules your move, getting on top of the paperwork may help all the appointments move more quickly. If you need guidance on which moving option is best for your situation, consider exploring resources such as "To DITY or Not to DITY."

3. Determine the Fate of Your Home

If you own a home, decide whether to sell it or lease it out during your absence. Evaluate your circumstances as a military homeowner, and consult these guidelines to make an informed decision.

For those renting, notify your landlord about your departure date promptly to fulfill your lease obligations.

4. Research Your New Area

It's the most enjoyable part of the move: researching your new duty station! Military OneSource and social media pages related to the installation are great sources of information. Websites such as Military Town Advisor provide valuable reviews from fellow military families, helping you learn about areas to avoid, desirable neighborhoods, schools, restaurants and more. Additionally, take a moment to contribute your thoughts to assist other military families!

5. Establish a New Budget

Anticipate changes in your Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) due to the move. By determining your new BAH beforehand, you can set a realistic budget and ensure you stay within your means while searching for your next home.

6. Search for Your New Home

Whether you prefer buying or renting, leverage platforms such as MilitaryByOwner to search for your next home. Enter your base and search criteria to explore listings and find a suitable home that meets your needs.

7. Contact the Local Housing Office

If you plan to live on-base at your new duty station, contact the local housing office promptly. Base housing is often in high demand and may have a waiting list. By reaching out early, you increase your chances of securing a spot. The housing office can also recommend nearby neighborhoods and alert you to properties or areas to avoid.

With these seven key tasks handled well beforehand, you'll be prepared to tackle your next military move. Stay organized, plan ahead and use available resources to ensure a successful and stress-free relocation. Best of luck on your next adventure! For more information and guidance on PCS moves, consider checking out MilitaryByOwner's free PCS Guide.

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