Resolve to Take Control of Your Next PCS: Action items for your 2018 Planner from MILLIE
Resolutions are in full swing in January. Most of us are still on our diets, we’ve made it to the gym a few times (and limping around to prove our attendance), possibly suffering withdrawal from one vice or another, and exuding energetic optimism for a killer new year!
I have a crisp new 2018 planner on my freshly tidied desk and am busy transferring over birthdays, school holidays and starting to think about Spring Break and summer plans. Thankfully, we don’t have a PCS planned for this year, but for many of you, there’s one right around the corner!
Don’t fret. Here are some handy tips and a timeline to plug right into your planner that will have you SLAYING this move. Resolve right now to have a great PCS this year!
January/February - Embrace the Base
Now that the dust has settled from the holidays, you’re ready to face those PCS orders (or rumors of orders) head-on. Is there one place you know you’re headed or several possibilities? First, you’ll likely turn to the internet—but stay focused! It’s easy to fall down rabbit holes and uncover all the ugly and negative aspects of an installation. Focus on objective area guides, local resources, and seek out the positive! This could be your new home after all, so why start off on the wrong foot?
MILLIE has over 70 free installation guides for you to learn all about life at your next installation. We asked our network of over 500 military spouses with first-hand knowledge to give us the “dish” on each assignment. We have intel on schools, the housing market, amenities, weather; you name it! You’ll find vibrant photos (shot by milspouse photogs), custom maps (designed by milspouses), and even legit commute tables (driven by, you guessed it, milspouses AND service members). You’ll have enough insight on an installation to get you started on your path of finding a home and getting plugged into a new community as soon as you get there.
March - Narrow Your Search
By now, you likely have your orders. Are you going to buy a home, rent, or live in base housing at your next assignment? There are a few things you need to consider to make these decisions. Take a moment and jot down your what your daily routine will entail. Do you, as a spouse, plan to work? Where are the potential employers in your field? Will you be in the area for a while and what is the market like? Where will the kids go to school? Where is Target?
MILLIE has several tools to help you get organized, but two we suggest during this phase are the School Scope Toolkit and the Neighborhood Comparison Guide. Download these ebooks for free to access worksheets and checklists to help you narrow down exactly what you’re looking for in your next home!
April - Start Your Recon
Springtime is when you’ll be hot and heavy in your home search. This can be a daunting task, made especially challenging by the fact that you live somewhere else! If you can afford to make a sightseeing trip, do so! Have a list of potential properties and be ready to sign a lease or make an offer while you’re there. There’s an element of spontaneity in this method that makes some uneasy, but it’s doable and even essential in fast-paced markets.
If arranging childcare, time off work, flights, and pet sitting isn’t feasible then you’ll be renting or buying sight unseen. This is usually not ideal for property owners, sellers, buyers, or renters, but it’s an unfortunate necessity too often in military life. If you have a local friend or family member that can help do walkthroughs or evaluations, GREAT! Use them. Sometimes, though, we simply don’t have the network in a new area, or we feel uncomfortable leaning on friends for too much.
Enter MILLIE Scouts. Scouts are military spouses who can be your boots-on-the-ground at your new duty station! They are passionate about helping other military families find a home that’s just right for them. They can Facetime you through potential properties, tell you what’s really across the street, and even how the carpet smells. Hiring a Scout will cost a fraction of what going yourself would cost, and you really can’t put a price tag on peace of mind!
May - Trust a Professional
We encourage you to focus on the positive, but that doesn’t mean wear rose-colored glasses. The truth is, given the parameters that often come with a military PCS, we can easily make mistakes when choosing a home, not have all the facts about an area, and find ourselves in a regrettable situation. This is especially true if you choose to buy a home at your next duty station!
When choosing a real estate agent, you have a few options: ask friends for recommendations, ask strangers on Facebook for recommendations, or turn to an established network of Realtors who have been in your shoes. MILLIE’s AgentHero network is made up exclusively of veteran and military spouse real estate agents who are acutely aware of the challenges you’re up against.
June/July - Move In and Get Connected
Summer will be consumed by the actual PCS, and boy is it tough. Utilize the resources available through your current installation’s Transportation Office, and the cumbersome yet essential Move.mil site to work through the logistics. Be kind, patient, and mindful of your stress level! It’s a busy season, and there are bound to be missteps. Just do your best to get through it, say your “see ya laters,” and try to get excited about your next chapter.
Once the truck is on its way, enjoy your trip! Explore the country on your way to your new home. Take the chance to visit with family, or sightsee in your new town. Check out MILLIE’s Pinterest boards for fun things to do near any duty station. We know it’s hard to re-establish your life after a move, but we’re here for you! Follow along on the MILLIE Journal to see how others are coping with PCS’s and other challenges, and maybe find some inspiration.