When you’re in the US Army, moving is simply a fact of life. Whether you’ve already received Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders or you want to prepare for the eventuality, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the US Army PCS policy. Doing so allows you to explore what a move will involve, contemplate its impact on your living situation, consider your options, and think about what might work best for you and your family.
On the Move: The US Army PCS Policy
The US Army PCS policy is laid out in Army Regulation 614-200: Enlisted Assignments and Utilization Management. To better understand how a permanent change of station will affect your military career, we encourage you to read through the US Army PCS policy. Ultimately, the majority of PCS orders are handed out to enable the Army to meet its staffing needs. PCS moves may be issued for a variety of reasons, including the following:
- Placing soldiers entering active duty at their initial duty station
- Replacing soldiers returning from tours in foreign countries
- Facilitating force and base realignments
- Relocating soldiers for purposes of professional advancement
- Sending soldiers to schools to further their education
- Addressing imbalances in personnel and their skill sets across installations
- Accommodating the personal needs of soldiers for compassionate reasons
- Returning soldiers who are leaving active duty to their homes of record
Preparing for a PCS Move
Moving is always a major task, but when preparing for a PCS move, you don’t have to go it alone. As Army.mil notes, reaching out to your Installation Transportation Office or utilizing the resources found at Move.mil, the Department of Defense’s official moving portal, can be incredibly helpful. Both will allow you to learn about your responsibilities, get an idea of what you can expect, and explore the benefits and entitlements that you might qualify for. As you gather the facts, make it a point to keep them handy. Organization is crucial if you want to dodge unnecessary headaches while making your move. Consider assembling a notebook that contains any information relevant to your relocation. Don’t forget to include copies of your PCS orders and other important documentation in the notebook, and be sure to keep the notebook with you as you travel to your new station.
Sorting Out Your Existing Living Situation
Obviously, a PCS move will have a major impact on your living situation. What should you do about your existing housing? As Military.com indicates, you’ll need to notify the housing office that you will be moving out if you are currently residing in military housing. Similarly, if you’re renting from a private landlord, you will need to give notice and take the steps necessary to end your tenancy.
Dealing with your current living situation is a bit trickier if you’re a homeowner. If you’ve used the home loan benefit offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs to secure a VA loan and buy a home, you have a few different options. As realtor.com explains, you can sell your home, keep it, or use it as a rental property. The best option depends on your unique situation, so it can be helpful to consult with a financial professional who can help you explore the possibilities and determine how they will impact your finances and your ability to secure housing in your new location.
Settling in to a New Living Situation
Naturally, you’ll need a place to call home after relocating. You may be able to find government housing or rent an apartment or house from a private landlord. Alternately, you may prefer to buy a home. With the many advantages of VA loans, this form of financing is appealing. Did you already purchase a home with a VA loan? Fortunately, the home loan entitlement can be used repeatedly. Paying off the mortgage with the proceeds of the sale of the house allows you to apply for the restoration of your entitlement, which means that you can apply for a new VA loan.
If you choose to hold onto your previous home, you may still be able to secure a VA loan for the purchase of a new home in your new location. It is possible to have more than one VA loan. Your basic entitlement is just the beginning; the VA also makes a second-tier entitlement available that extends your purchasing power. Even if some of your entitlement is still entangled in a VA loan, you may have enough remaining entitlement to secure a second VA loan for a second home.
Have you received PCS orders? Are you expecting them soon? When you need the facts about VA loans, turn to PrimeLending: Manhattan, Kansas. Every year, we help thousands of service members and veterans successfully navigate the VA home loan program. Our experts can educate you about your options so that you can make informed decisions as you move forward. It will be our pleasure to serve you, so contact us today to schedule an appointment.