Surviving a Short-Notice PCS Move

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In the military, sometimes a Permanent Change of Station or PCS move happens quickly and orders to move to a new location can leave you scrambling.

When you have to make a fast move, the whirlwind of activity can leave you feeling a little dazed and wondering if you’re forgetting anything. So, here are some tips for a short-notice PCS move.

Prioritize Your To-Do List

From contacting schools to changing addresses with the Post Office or collecting medical records, there is a lot to do when moving. Find out if there are specific dates or requirements for turning in gear or check out procedures with the unit. Create a prioritized list of most urgent and time-sensitive to things that could wait until after the move. Changing a driver’s license isn’t urgent because most states give at least 30 days post-move. But, changing your address with the Post Office and anywhere you get deliveries from (like an Amazon or a magazine subscription) is important to do before moving.

Speed Declutter

You don’t have time to sort through small boxes of trinkets, so be really careful not to get caught in the little things. Start by immediately throwing out any trash. Move on to large items you can donate or get rid of (furniture, small appliances or large toys). As you declutter, you can also box up the items you know you are keeping. When sorting through books or movies, for example, make quick decisions and have a box to donate and a box to pack so you are getting both jobs done at the same time.

Work in Bursts

It is important to take mental breaks so you don’t burn out. Work for a few hours and then take a complete break to get lunch or do something different for an hour. When you have days or weeks of a fast-paced move, you want to stay focused. Your brain can only focus for so long before it gets tired. By taking those breaks,  your work time is more efficient.

Expect a PPM Move

When you do it yourself, moving is called a PPM (personally procured move) by the military. With a short notice of days or just a few weeks, you likely won’t have a chance to get moving support for companies working with the military. You can certainly check the options, but be prepared for a DIY (do it yourself) move. But this can be a great money saver, because the military will pay you 95% of what they would typically pay a moving company. You can get an estimate for your PPM here. You also get a lot more control when you are packing your own items.

Mark Your Boxes

One of the most overwhelming parts of a move is unpacking what you need when you need it. Grab a sharpie and label your boxes either: IMMEDIATE, SECONDARY or STORAGE. Add the room the box will go in when you arrive to make it easy to take everything to the right rooms and prioritize what gets unpacked first.

Whatever you do, don’t get lost in the details, keep your labeling fast and easy to understand. All important documents, like the marriage certificate, passports or birth certificates, should be kept in one box and personally carried by you (not packed in the truck).

Plan for Time with the Truck

Of course, you need to plan for time to rent and pack the truck, but don’t forget about weighing the truck in order to get reimbursement for a DIY move. If you are moving on your own (PPM), you will have to go to a local weighing station before and after the truck is loaded to record how much you are moving.

Pay Attention to Final Details

If you are selling a home you own off-base, your realtor will be able to tell you what cleaning and staging will increase the likelihood of a sale. If you live on-base, you will want to patch up and repaint spots, like nail holes, to avoid any final charges. Cleaning and sweeping the floors will likely be one of the last things you do to make sure the space looks as good as possible for inspection (on-base) or showings (off-base).

Getting Along in a New City: Homeowner Costs

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

There are many parts and pieces that go into relocation. Finding the perfect home is, of course, an important step in the process. But once you have found a residence in your new city or town, it is crucial to consider other home-ownership factors that will affect your monthly and annual expenses. As part of your relocation preparation, research what other fees and bills you may need to pay outside of your mortgage. 

If you’re moving to a new state, review the escrow process and any new, or different, closing costs that may increase the amount you’ll owe. Understand what annual property taxes will be assessed and fees you will be responsible for. Homeowners Associations may also function differently in your new city or state. Closely review all paperwork and research what costs are normal for the area. Know what your requirements are as a homeowner, so you don’t agree to anything outside the norm or incur fees from not aligning to your contract.

Utility costs vary from city to city and state to state, but even within the same city, prices can be different from neighborhood to neighborhood. While you’re house hunting, include a visit to the electricity, water, gas and trash company websites that service the homes you’re considering. For electricity and water, learn what the costs are per unit, time of day and any special programs available for conservation. See what bins your new trash company offers and how much they charge per month. There might be different sizes available to you at different pricing, along with compost or yard waste bins and lower to even free rates for recycling. Your new city may also have monthly fees for general upkeep of parks, greenbelts and other public services.

When you consider the monthly mortgage payment you can afford, it’s smart to take these other costs into account. You might be able to make a mortgage payment, but a high electricity or water bill might put your monthly outgo outside your budget. It’s easy to forget about these little (or big) costs. Make your move easy and successful by planning for monthly and annual costs outside of your mortgage.

Remote Home Buying: How, Why and Where?

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Too busy to buy that second home in Myrtle Beach? No time to fly down and walk through multiple properties to find the one that’s right for your family? No problem. You, too, can enjoy the dream of homeownership when you buy your next property remotely. 

What Is Remote Home Buying? 

When you buy a home remotely, someone else takes care of the specifics. Your main responsibilities are communicating your wants and needs to an on-site real estate agent, paying for the home and being available to sign the finalizing documents digitally. Because of this, buying a home that’s located one state or half-a-world away is entirely feasible in today’s real estate market.

Who Handles a Remote-Home-Buying Transaction? 

You’ll work with a real estate agent when buying a home through remote means. This is similar to any other home-buying venture. In a remote transaction, however, it’s vital to have an agent whom you trust completely and with whom you have excellent communication. Your agent should be local to the area where you’re buying your new home, and they should be an expert on the neighborhood. You’ll communicate via phone, email or internet with your agent and will likely use an e-sign process, followed up by signed hard copies, when it’s time to finalize. 

How Do I Pay for a Home I’ve Bought Remotely? 

Typically, you’ll pay for a home you’ve purchased remotely by wiring the amount needed to close. Most people can’t afford to buy a home using cash, but you’ll likely need at least a down payment and other costs up front.

How Will I Know the Home Is a Good Deal? 

The real estate agent with whom you’re working will view the home, be present at inspections in your stead, and do their part to ensure that the home you’re buying is viable. They will be able to advise you on comparable prices in the neighborhood to give you an idea of whether the price you’re paying is reasonable. 

Why Would I Want to Buy a Home Remotely?

Most people who buy homes remotely do so because they’re too busy or live too far away to buy the home in a traditional way. There’s little risk involved as long as you use a licensed real estate agent who’s experienced in remote-home sales. 

It’s good to remember that once you own a remote property, there’s no backing out. It’s vital to make sure you’re buying a home that’s well suited to you and your family. This is where your choice of real estate agent becomes vital in helping you choose the location of your home, the size, layout and community in which it’s located.