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12 Tips to Help Your Next Military PCS Go Smoothly

The average military family will move 3 times more than a non-military family. In fact, some statistics show that children from military families will move more than 6 times while they are in school. But, if you are in the military, you already know all this. So, your next step is to make each move as easy as possible. These 12 steps will get you on your way for a smooth transition.

1. Educate Yourself on Your Rights

Did you know that you have the right for the moving company to disassemble your items, pack them, and reassemble them at your new location? They are also responsible for removing unpacked boxes, packing materials, and leftover debris after getting your belongings unloaded and moved into your new house. The website move.mil is loaded with information that can help your transition be a smooth one. Start your search with the Customer Bill of Rights. This document informs you on your rights through each step of moving your belongings for your current residence to your new home. If something during your move doesn’t go according to plan, this document also educates you on the process to remedy the situation. Information on move.mil is updated from time to time. So, even if you have been through the moving process before, you want to make sure that the information you have is still current.

2. Don’t Wait for Official Orders

Get started early. As soon as you know that you are in the window to hit a permanent change-of-station move in the next few months you can start your process today. Login to move.mil and setup your new account or update your contact information. You can get the process started so when you receive your orders you will have some of the basic stuff out of the way. You want to make sure that they have the best way to reach you during your moving process.
If you are a service member that could be required to move with less than a two month notice, you can talk to your household goods officer to see what you can do to start the process as soon as possible.

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3. Don’t Set it in Stone

Having specific moving dates locked in can cause problems during your moving process. It can be difficult to keep dates flexible when you are trying to sell your house or give your landlord a notice, however, the more flexible you can be, the better. The military offers some options to help you during your transition, like the option for a lodging allowance. You want to first verify that you can line up moving services for the specific date that you are looking for before you line up all the final details.

4. Stick to Your Weight Allowance

If you don’t want to risk having to pay extra for your move you need to learn what your weight restriction is and then stick to it. The weight allowance will vary based on your specific situation (rank and dependents). Service members have a right to having the moving company reweigh the items if needed and they can be present at the time.

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5. Look at Your Past Moves

Take a minute to look at what the weight of your past shipments were during previous moves. Then think through how your household and items have changed. This will give you a head start on determining if you might be coming closer to exceeding the limits.

6. Declutter Before Your Move

Don’t waste time moving items that you don’t want. It will help you keep the weight of your shipment within the allowance. It also saves you from having to pack up and find new places for items that you don’t really want. Spend time sorting through your stuff. Throw away items that are no longer usable and donate or sell items that you no longer need. Decluttering is also an important step towards getting your house ready for the market if you will be selling.

7. Get Your Car Ready

If your move is going to be taking you oversees you need to spend time preparing your car. The first step is making sure that any recalls that are on your car are completed. The vehicle processing center can turn away cars that have not had recall work completed prior to moving. Document the current condition of the car so you can report any damage that happens during the move.

military pcs8. Document the Value of Your Belongings

Take an inventory and document your high-value items. Think through what items you will be carrying with you and which ones will be packed and moved by the moving company. Some of the items that you will want to keep during the move would be passports, birth certificates, marriage license, jewelry, and any medications that your family uses. You will also need to determine what clothes you are taking with you and set them aside so they are not accidentally packed with the rest of your items.

9. Separate Out Your Pro Gear

Take time to separate your professional items from your personal items. Any items that count as Pro Gear are excluded from your households goods totals. .This includes professional gear, papers, and books.

10. Create a Video Documentation

Our smart phones give us an advantage that past generations did not have. Before anything gets packed up take a few minutes to walk through your house while creating video documentation of your items. This will help to show all of your belongings and what condition they were in prior to the move.

11. Double Check the Inventory

Make sure that any items that you want to have inventoried are included on the documentation. Many people sign off on the inventory without reading it over to see what is included. Always take the time to double check the inventory to make sure that your items are properly documented. Don’t be afraid to tell the movers what you want included if it is already packed up in a closed box.

12. Ask Questions

Never hesitate to ask questions. Speak with the household goods/transpiration office if you have questions regarding the moving company. They can also help you with any questions you have from information that you have found on move.mil. As you are making your move you want to keep the information handy for both the moving company and household goods office. The most crucial key to having a smooth move is starting early. As soon as you know that you will be relocating start getting the pieces in place. The earlier you get to work, the smoother your move will be.

Malcolm Lawson

Malcolm Lawson

Maryland REALTOR at Keller Williams Select Realtors
Malcolm is an 11 year Air Force Veteran and is a part of a family team of Maryland REALTORS along with his wife, mother and sister in-law.

410-443-8140
Malcolm.Lawson@kw.com
Malcolm Lawson

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