Although moving is a labor-intensive activity that can be disruptive, the prospect of receiving Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders is one that many members of the U.S. Army greet with enthusiasm. Whether you’re eager to explore novel surroundings or interested in making the most of new opportunities, PCS orders open the door by serving as your ticket to a new location. How often can you PCS in the Army?
How Often Can You PCS in the Army?
How often can you PCS in the Army? Determining the answer to this question can be tricky. At the moment, the Army tends to PCS soldiers every two or three years, but Army Times reports that Army Secretary Mark Esper is interested in exploring the possibility of extending the period between PCS moves to increase stability for military families. Of course, the needs of the Army ultimately determine how often you will receive PCS orders. According to Army.mil, the Army generally prefers for soldiers to remain on station for a period of 36 months, but they can PCS more frequently if the situation demands it. Deployment, the need to fill special duty and high-demand career field positions, and a desire to provide soldiers with opportunities for professional development and advanced training can all spur orders for relocation. In some cases, PCS orders may come sooner than might otherwise be expected for compassionate reasons.
Military Moves and Homeownership
Many people are concerned about their ability to buy a home when they ask the question, “How often can you PCS in the Army?” Frequent moves naturally have a major impact on your living situation. In fact, when researching the pros and cons of renting versus buying, resources like realtor.com often point out that the amount of time that you intend to keep a property has a major impact on whether renting or buying is cheaper. Although traditional wisdom might suggest that the prospect of frequent moves makes buying a home less desirable, utilizing a VA loan can change the calculations because it expands your options.
Buying with a VA Loan
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a loan guaranty benefit to qualifying service members, veterans, and their spouses. Qualifying for this benefit is no guarantee that you’ll be approved for a VA loan, but it does provide you with the opportunity to apply for a loan that comes with some appealing features. Because VA loans are backed in part by the government, the private lenders who originate these loans offer favorable terms. With a VA loan, you’ll enjoy low interest rates, and there is no required down payment, no requirement for private mortgage insurance, and no prepayment penalty. In addition, if you happen to run into financial trouble that temporarily makes it difficult for you to make your mortgage payments, you can turn to the VA for assistance.
PCSing with a VA Loan
By necessity, your living arrangements are going to change when you receive PCS orders that require you to relocate. If you are living in government housing or renting, then you’ll need to end your rental contract before moving. If you’re a homeowner, the logistics are trickier. However, if your home purchase was funded with a VA loan, you’ll have additional options that can make this easier:
- You can rent the house. Although a VA loan cannot be used to buy a rental property, you are allowed to vacate the property and rent it. Then, you can use the rental income to offset the mortgage so that you’ll still have ample resources to secure housing in your new location.
- You can maintain the house as a second home. If you have the financial resources to maintain two households, you can simply hold onto the house. However, this can create financial strain and limit your ability to secure housing in your new location.
- You can sell the house. With the sale of your existing home, the VA loan is retired, and you can apply to have your full entitlement restored, freeing it up for future use in your new location.
- You can sell the house with an assumption. While the transaction must be cleared with the VA and the lender, a VA loan is assumable, which means that a buyer who has appropriate income and credit can step in to take over your existing mortgage without the terms changing. An assumable mortgage with fantastic terms can be a great selling point that can make it easier to sell your house.
Have you received PCS orders? Are you hoping to purchase a home with a VA loan in your new location? Whether you’re a first-time buyer or someone who has already made use of your home loan entitlement, it’s smart to talk the matter over with a professional who has experience with VA loans. If you’re wondering if a VA loan would be a good choice for your situation, reach out to PrimeLending: Manhattan, Kansas. We would be happy to provide you with the facts you need to make an informed decision and to guide you through the entire process. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.