Understanding the Home Buying Process When PCSing
For military service families, the prospect of a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) brings both excitement and challenges. Among these challenges is the need to navigate the home buying process efficiently. This guide walks you through the entire journey, from the moment you receive PCS orders to settling into your new home.
1. Planning Ahead of PCS Orders
Before the official PCS orders arrive, it’s crucial to start planning. Research potential locations, considering factors like proximity to the base, school districts, and community amenities. Evaluate your housing needs and preferences. This preliminary planning ensures you hit the ground running when orders become official.
2. Reacting Once Orders Are Firm
Once the PCS orders are in hand, the clock starts ticking. Begin by notifying your current housing office or landlord and start exploring options for on-base or off-base housing at your new location. Simultaneously, assess your financial readiness for a home purchase and initiate the process of obtaining pre approval for a mortgage.
3. Financial Planning for the Big Move
Home buying involves significant financial commitments. Assess your budget, factoring in not just the home’s cost but also additional expenses like property taxes, insurance, and potential maintenance costs. Consider leveraging military-specific programs that offer financial assistance or special mortgage rates for service members.
4. Mortgage Pre Approval Process
Securing a mortgage pre-approval is a critical step in the home buying process. Reach out to lenders who understand the unique needs of military families. Provide the necessary documents promptly, and be prepared for a thorough review of your financial history. A preapproval letter strengthens your position when making an offer on a property.
5. Working with a Real Estate Agent
Engaging a real estate agent with experience in working with military families can make a substantial difference. They understand the challenges of relocation and can guide you through the local market. Communicate your specific needs clearly, and lean on their expertise to streamline the home search process.
6. Logistics of Moving: A Military Precision Approach
With a PCS, moving is a given. Develop a comprehensive moving plan that includes timelines, packing strategies, and coordination with the moving company. Consider the weight allowance provided by the military, and declutter your belongings before packing. A well-organized move minimizes stress and ensures a smoother transition.
7. Settling into Your New Home
Congratulations, you’re in your new home! Take the time to explore your new community, connect with neighbors, and familiarize yourself with local amenities. Update your address with relevant entities, like the post office, banks, and utility providers. Consider joining local military family support groups for additional resources and a sense of community.