Sometimes the biggest challenge of an upcoming PCS is trying to find where to begin your research. Luckily, the internet allows military families to begin their research before their service member even receives their orders.
Last PCS we had two options: 1. move to California, or 2. move to Virginia. We already knew our two options so I started researching both. I figured I could get a start on both and when our actual orders came in, I would be ahead of the game. I’ve put together some good resources to start your house hunting search.
Decide whether you are going to live on-base or off-base at your new duty station. If you decide to live on-base, call the housing office immediately and ask about the wait list for housing. Sometimes a wait list can be a few weeks, a few months, or even a year. Don’t get discouraged because people are always moving in and out of housing and lots of families drop off the list if they change their mind and find a house off-base. Ask other military families about the different housing neighborhoods available and get an idea of which one would fit your family’s lifestyle and needs.
Whether you have kids or not, it’s important to research schools at your next duty station. If you choose to live on-base, find out which school is aligned to base-housing. If you live off-base, schools are important for two reasons: 1. quality of education for your kids, and 2. good resale or rental. If you have school aged children, schools are an obvious decision because you want them to have the best education available. If you don’t have school aged children, buying a home in a good school district is good for resale and it will make a good rental for future tenants. Some great websites to research schools are GreatSchools.org, Education.com, Schooldigger.com and of course your local and state school websites. Also, contact your military school liaison.
Begin your house hunting search by looking for homes to buy or rent online. It’s important to remember that you will only be in this home for a few years, so if it doesn’t have everything on your wish list, that’s ok. You are not looking for your dream home! Some helpful National sites which have homes for sale/rent are Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Realtor.com, Hotpads.com, Redfin.com, Craigslist.com.
Other helpful house hunting websites which are military owned are AHRN.com, a site for rentals only. MilitaryByOwner.com, a site for military to list their homes for sale or rent by owner. SargesList.com, a newer site that is free, like Craigslist, but for Military, but you can only post homes for sale, not rentals. MilitaryTownAdvisor.com, a site where military families leave information on where to live. Find reviews about on and off-base housing. Also, find military friendly realtors recommended by other military families.