PCS

8 Tips for Your PCS Move Without Your Spouse

Article by: Jenah Wieczorek, Base Advocate

PCS-Solo-PicIt’s the night before a PCS and all through the house not a creature is stirring, except you because you are one giant ball of nervous energy. Did I forget anything? (Of course you did.) Will the mover’s arrive on time tomorrow? (Laugh hysterically because you know the answer.) Should I have made more lists? (Roll over, get out of bed, and start making more lists.)

PCSing always brings about anxiety, but what happens when you add in the extra worry and stress that comes with making the move WITHOUT your spouse? Reducing the stress of this seemingly monumental task, however, is possible if you plan ahead!  Follow these 8 easy (okay, helpful… we hope) tips to help you prepare for your solo-PCS move. Hold on tight… you can do this!

  1. Enlist Help- Now is not the time to put that super-hero cape to work. We all need help at some point, and PCSing without your spouse absolutely qualifies. Whether it be a friend or family member, ask for help. There should be at least two sets of eyes on the movers when they are in your home. A good approach would be to park that friend in a chair with the clip board and let them check off all the numbers on the boxes, so you can focus on the progress of the pack-out and placement of items in your new home.You may also need help with the kids or your pets during a part of the move, someone to help you get all the stuff you are donating out the door, or simply a friend to help you organize your thoughts and prioritize. Reach out and ask, and then vow to pay it forward in the future the next time a friend needs the same.
  2. Copies of POA & Orders- First of all, double check to make sure you have the appropriate Power of Attorney documents for your move. Not all companies will accept a general POA and require a special POA  for specific services.Then, make sure you have copies and they are kept safe. While you might feel the need to print multiple copies of each, three sets should be more than enough. One copy on your mobile device, one set printed and with you while you travel, and then a back up set because, well, you never know.
  3. Do You Have Access To All Accounts? Don’t wait until the week of the move to try and turn off or transfer your utilities and bills. Call ahead to see what they need from you; this is where that POA and copy of orders will come into play. Make sure you can access everything from the cable, internet, power, to water, sanitation services, etc. Do you have access to all of the credit cards and bank accounts you might need when traveling or setting up new services? Store all of the passwords in a secure location and make sure that your spouse has added you as an authorized user to all accounts well in advance of your move.
  4. Label Your Rooms This is one of the easiest and most recommended moving strategies. In theory, it can give the packers and movers a sense of respect for your family. “I’m not just packing a kid’s room. These are little Ruby’s toys.” The labels will also help the unpackers with placement of items at your new home. Labels or not, make sure to download our “Movers Notice”, print it out and give it to all the members of your packing and moving team so they know you are looking forward to a positive experience with their company… but you do intend to hold them accountable for how they treat your belongings.
  5. Food For Thought Making healthy choices during a PCS move can be challenging. You and your family need to take breaks for lunch and snacks throughout the day, and it can be tempting to utilize take-out or fast food frequently, leaving you sluggish. Preparing meals and snacks in advance is key. Some suggestions would be frozen lasagna and bagged salad, pre-made sandwiches and chips, fruit, waters, etc. You can also keep your crockpot in your things to carry with you in the car, giving you some no-fuss, healthy dinner options during packing and after you arrive at the new location. These meal options also make great lunches for the packers and movers if you choose to feed them.
  6. Outsource Outsource as many services as your family can afford. If you can drop Scout at doggie day care, do it! If you have the means to hire a babysitter or use the CDC hourly care for your kids, do it! You will be under enough stress without having to run around all day saying “Where is the dog? Kids don’t touch that!” Hire someone to take care of the lawn and to do the final cleaning of your home. It will greatly reduce your stress during a solo-move.You can even outsource some of the research involved with your PCS move by visiting PCSgrades and registering for your FREE account! You can read and submit reviews on real estate agents, lenders, neighborhoods and more… and they are reviews you can trust. We have a community of active duty, veterans, and military spouses sharing their honest opinion of so many of the services you need when you are relocating. Take the guesswork (the Google work) out of getting the real scoop about your new home, register today.
  7. Entertainment Keeping small children from getting bored during the move process is important, not only for your sanity, but to keep their minds off of what is going on and reduce their anxiety about the process. Have the kids decorate the moving boxes in their rooms with crayons or washable markers. It can provide hours of fun and psychologically speaking the movers might be more careful with boxes covered in hearts and stick figures, so win-win! Kick everyone out into the back yard to play if the weather permits. (This might be a great time to hire a neighborhood teenager to come play with the kids!) Charge up the laptop or DVD player and have a special movie night on the air mattresses that are now your beds. Wherever the kids go make sure the animals are there too, so you don’t have to keep tabs on both.
  8. Make Lists You can never have too many lists, and during a move they can be a lifeline. In addition to helping you remember the many small details that must be taken care of, they can ease your stress and make you feel accomplished when you can check items off that list. Sometimes I even write things on a list that are already finished just so I can cross them off! It’s a great way to stay organized and your brain will be going a thousand miles a minute as it is, so write down those “to-do’s” as soon as you think of them and sleep a little bit better tonight.

Having to navigate a PCS move without your spouse presents some challenges, yes. But by asking for help, outsourcing some of the busy work, making lists and doing some much needed prep work before-hand… you can have a successful solo-move that doesn’t leave you stressed, overwhelmed and frustrated.

What tips would you add? How have you successfully navigated a PCS move without your spouse?

Read Next: Put Your Movers on Notice the Next Time You PCS

569aa6d8-a66c-4162-94bd-1a460aab9a94Author Bio: Jenah Weiczorek is a military spouse and an active volunteer in the military community. She recently joined the PCSgrades team as a base advocate and as a social media manager.

 

 

 

You Can Easily Turn Your Spring Cleaning, Into Some Extra Cash For The Upcoming PCS Season.

Yard saleSpring is upon us, you know what that means. Time to give the home a deep cleaning and do some organization before the PCS move. More often than not you will realize that you have tons of stuff that you rarely use so it gets boxed up and moves to the next duty station in the box, or sits an attic collecting dust when it could be making you money! The average home has $7,000 worth of unused items simply taking up space according to a study by market research firm NPD Group.

 

This weekend Money and I took on our garage, there is no reason our garage should be doubling as a storage unit. As I looked at all the items we really could do without and have been moving from duty station to duty station, I decided with this upcoming PCS no more moving our storage unit (aka garage). One of my favorite quotes I am taking to heart “Get rid of anything that isn’t Useful, Beautiful or Joyful” Regina Brett. For example the large treadmill collecting dust for 2 PCS moves. I set out to research the help of great websites and apps, which would help us on our journey of purging. I had previously used Gazelle to sell some old cell phones, I knew there had to be a site or app for it. I was surprised of the value I received for my Iphone 4  $100.00  so you just never know. They paid right when they said they would. I highly recommend Gazelle for resale of old phones.

Gadgets: Old cell phones or Ipads

Even a limited spring-cleaning spree should include assessing older model smartphones, laptops, tablets and other electronics. Gadget trade-in has become a competitive market, Gazelle.com

Nextworth.com Sell everything from smartphones to video games, and laptops for cash. They’ll pay upfront within a week by Paypal, a check or a Target gift card, and they will wipe your item clear of personnel info. (I actually recommend before sending setting your electronics back to factory settings.)

Gift cards

Unwanted gift cards could be worth as much as 92.5 percent of their value on the secondary market, according to GiftCardGranny.com, a site that aggregates offers from various resellers. Now you can trade in those unwanted gift cards you aren’t planning on using for cards you will use, or sell them for cash. I have personally used this one and loved my experience.

Books

Haul a bag down to the nearest secondhand bookstore, or try your luck online. Powell’s Books and Cash4Books.net. Now if you know Money we have TONS of books.   I believe this accounts for a ¼ of our shipment weight during our PCS Moves. I do like bookscounter.com very easy to use. Type in the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and the site will search more than 40 book buying sites that are used textbooks and other books to give you a quote for yours. Best part of the site it is free with no registration required that aims to help you find the best place to sell your used book

Media

So Chloe Grace is nervous over this one, I have my eyes on old Video games. Old CDs, DVDs and video games can be a tough sell on the secondhand market if you haven’t kept the original cases with the artwork, extra materials and UPC code intact. That’s a must at sites such as Amazon, Decluttr.com and SecondSpin.com.

Clothing

Now we move on to clothing…Yes I am a shopper and I usually give most of my clothing away or donate to shelters that can use it. But since I love the ability to sell or trade items on line and with ease. I had to try Thredup.com I was surprised at the ease of this site. You fill a prepaid, pre-addressed bag with used or new clothing and you can earn up to 80 percent of the resale value in cash or a shopping credit back to the site. They accept and sell adult and children’s clothing. We are testing this site out with Chloe’s clothing, she jumped right up to volunteer with some items she out grew still in great shape.   Our agreement all the money we received from her clothes she could buy new ones. I also came across on my online quest for resale wash Therealreal.com , wow one can still dream! This is high end clothing and bags, you can earn up to 70 percent of the resale value for your clothing, by selling your Chanel Bag or Prada shoes.

 

Good look with your journey to cashing out this PCS move season!

 

Have you ever rented a home without personally seeing it Live? … I have!

rentWith the summer PCS season coming up quickly and orders are arriving, I have had several friends ask me,  Have you ever rented a house without seeing it? Should I consider doing this?  I have, and their mouths drop open. I will suggest this if you have done your research about the area and new duty station. Today, with many us about to PCS the military member might be deployed, and the family in another location where it makes it hard to make a trip to see a home. As a landlord also I am on both sides of this question. There are so many things to consider when you rent a house without seeing it.  Is it on a busy road?  Are the pictures old?  Is the yard safe?  Are there scary rooms?  As a landlord, I want my tenants to be happy.  I try to send current pictures and video (real time Face time or Skype) that show as much as possible, and explain the neighborhood and area.  There is always the fear that if the tenant is not happy in my home, they will consciously or subconsciously blame me, and as a landlord I strive to have happy tenants. Housing is the single largest expense for most families, and of course you want to make sure you are making good use of your BAH dollars.  Have any of you ever rented a house without seeing it in person? My experience of renting a home without seeing it turned out wonderful for our Family. The landlords were Military as well, the home and neighborhood turned out to be better than we had expected. My last piece of advice is to have several conversations with the potential landlords ask all the questions, I have listed a few below that are common ones you might of  forget.

If you’re renting a single family house, you should ask who is responsible for maintaining the exterior of the property. Some landlords expect the tenants to mow the lawn and shovel the snow, while others do it themselves so they know the property is being maintained correctly. These responsibilities should be spelled out in the lease so there’s never a question about who is supposed to do what.

  • How’s your cell phone signal? You don’t want to be forced to have all phone conversations while hanging out your window or the one tiny corner where you manage to pick up a signal.
  • How big are the rooms, really? Great for video or skype. You and the  landlord may have different opinions on what room size comfortably fits a queen size bed.
  • How’s the water pressure? Don’t forget to ask the follow up, including is the shower pressure weak? How long does it take for the water to get hot in the morning?
  • Is the rental noisy? Be quiet for a minute and listen for ambient noise, such as weird fans, generators, barking dogs, loud trucks, trains or noisy neighbors.
  • How is the view? Are there enough windows to provide you with the natural light you want? If the curtains are closed, pull them open to check out the view. You might not want your living room overlooking your neighbor’s bathroom.
  • What is the heating situation? Because people often rent during the summer, they neglect to ask about the heat.  Find out if the heating is individual or shared, such as an uncontrolled radiator, and find out the costs.
  • Who do I contact for repairs and how long does it take for someone to come make the repair from the time of my call?
  • Are there any repairs that I am required by the lease to pay for myself?
  • Who is responsible for the Utilities? What do the utilities cost for the house? (ask for a few past bills to verify)
  • What appliances are guaranteed with the lease and which are not repaired or replaced if something happens to them?
  • Lastly can I have a dog? Rules on size?  Very important to our family, we love our Zoey…pictured below.

Zoey

 

Good luck with the summer PCS Season!

The Big Moving Adventure…There is an App for that!

The Big Moving Adventure

Children in military families move six to nine times between kindergarten and high school, and a mobile app launched in December can help them cope with leaving a familiar place for the      unknown. Military parents face unique challenges during a move, and the app helps their young children through the experience.

The Big Moving Adventure app lets children create a Muppet friend to help them through the moving process.

Developed for the Defense Department in partnership with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization The National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2) behind Sesame Street, the mobile app is available for download from the App Store, Google Play and Amazon for Kindle Fire.

Military PCS …Renting a home and how to start my search?

homeflagYour orders are in hand and you are deciding do I live on Base/Post or the economy?  Where do I start my search ? There is  also a valuable  resources for renting at a new duty station by using Military by Owner.   These homes are listed by current home owners and some Property Managers in Duty Station Areas. Also check out the AF Housing page for your specific area.  Remember to check on your new BAH rates for 2014 for many have changed.

Many of us are used to looking up homes to rent on ARHN which was sponsored by DOD. Effective 1 January 2014, the Department of Defense sponsorship of AHRN will expire.

The website will remain active as a commercial site. The housing offices continue to provide support services to members and their families; military housing encourages service members to visit the AF housing public website at www.housing.af.mil.

Look the properties   over carefully and be sure to ask questions about any apartment or house you are   considering renting. Consider the following:
Some quick questions to consider when living off base or post:

Does the rent cover all   utilities, or will you be responsible for paying for them yourself? If you will   be paying for heat, water, or other utilities ask whether the landlord can   provide an estimated monthly or annual cost for the rental   property.

What kind of security does the building have? Are the doors,   windows and entrances secured? Are the stairs safe and well lighted? Are the   fire escapes easily accessible?

What sort of commute will you have to   school or work and what is nearby in terms of restaurants, shopping,   entertainment and other places you frequently visit? Also, what are the   neighbors like (students, families, retirees) and is this the right setting for   you?

Who is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of common areas   (stairwells, hallways, etc.) and appliances, furnace filters and other items   within the property which may need to be serviced?

Is the landlord or   property management readily available during nights and weekends and what are   the procedures for emergency services, repairs or lock-outs?

What kind   of parking is available? Is there an extra charge for a parking   spot?

Are storms windows, screens and shades   provided?

PCS Orders in Hand …Now on a Quest for Essential Apps for the Military PCS

Moving-boxes-in-a-houseBy: Williamsburg Military Insider

All of us Military members have become quite savvy when it comes to our PCS moves.  I recently discovered some great apps that are essential and very convenient to help with your upcoming PCS.   I really enjoyed around me; so awesome when driving across the country.

1. Moving Day – Free (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad)

Military movers know how overwhelming a home filled with boxes can be. It is likely that you have also had the experience of opening a box that is labeled “kitchen” only to find tools from the garage. Moving Day gives you the opportunity to easily catalog all of your things as you or the movers pack. Built-in bar code scanning and label-making will ease the struggle of locating particular items within a sea of cardboard. Helps to quickly identify what boxes/items are missing or what items may be damaged. Photos taken as the items are packed will provide documentation for insurance or damage claims. Print or email reports directly from the app.

2. Moving Van – $1.99 (iPhone, iPod Touch)

Similar to Moving Day, this app will allow you to inventory the contents of each box, include a photo of the items and assign each box with a unique name or number. Find that you are searching high and low for the box that contained your kitchen towels? Simply search for the specific item and the app will identify which box it is located in. It might be helpful to have friends and family with this app to help you during the packing process as it is tough to keep up with the packers sometimes.

3. Moving List – $2.99 (iPhone, iPod Touch)

Utilize the pre-populated to-do lists created from 95 common moving tasks. Create and add your own list of important items and organize them by category or due date. Great way to keep your lists organized and accessible to you at all times.

4. Moving Checklist Pro – $0.99 (iPhone, iPad) Another app with over 210 moving related items that can be used to create checklists and timelines. Create your own or use pre-loaded checklists, which can be emailed to friends and families so they know how they can help ease your stress.

5. My Move – Free (iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire) In addition to a complete moving checklist, the My Move app will calculate your household goods moving weight, which can be extremely useful for military families that are considering a full DITY or partial DITY move. Requesting a specific mover may not always be an option for military families, but you may be given the choice of a few approved providers. Reading the online reviews may give you a leg up when trying to make a decision of this nature.

6. Moving Guru – Free (Blackberry, iPhone) This app offers features similar to the other apps mentioned, such as chronological task lists, but one cool feature it offers is the “We’ve moved” notification that you can send to pre-selected phone contacts. Change of address cards are still nice to send out, but this is certainly a less expensive and quicker option.

7. iHandy Level – Free (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) You have finally made it to the stage where you are ready to hang your photos on the wall and having the iHandy Level will ensure that every item you hang is on the level. Portrait and landscape options housed in a classy wood grain interface may make you feel like a professional carpenter.

8. Yelp – Free (iPhone, iPad, Android) You are settled and ready to explore your new surroundings. Apple and Android users can utilize this app to find everything you need to make this new place your home. Gather information on local business with details such as address, hours, price, reviews, tips, and deals. Easy access to directions and the opportunity to book reservations for restaurants using Open Table. It just may be time to try out that Thai restaurant down the street!

9. Around Me – Free (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android) Similar to Yelp, this app is also available in both platforms. With GPS locating, this app will show you gas stations, banks, hospitals, hotels, supermarkets, theatres, and other essential amenities that are nearby. Find the location on a map and quickly get directions from your current location.

10. Military Traveler (Free iPhone) Military Traveler is a universal base directory application for iPhone and Android. It contains information like phone numbers, hours of operations, websites and more for establishments on military installations

Baggie Bonanza… and the PCS Military Move

neighborsBy: Williamsburg Military Insider

With many Military Families PCS season is coming up. I have moved 14 times in the past twenty years, and can relate with everything in the article at Call Dibs  “How to MOVE IT without LOSING IT!: Helpful Tips for your PCS Move” I got the biggest chuckle out of the Baggie Bonanza paragraph. In my twenty years I thought I was the only one who did this, as I am the same and do not want movers all up in my space. 🙂 I recommend reading her tips on your next PCS move; they are some of the same I have done for the past twenty years. Take to heart the refrigerator stocked full with drinks, I can tell you from experience moving in this past July, and it was 110 F, my movers were the best! They were just so thankful for the endless supply of Gatorade. They even assembled everything without being asked. We all know sometimes that can be a challenge. Happy PCS season…wishing everyone very smooth moves!

New HAMP Enhancements Will Help Military Homeowners who are PCSing

I wanted to share this post from the Treasury Department.  I am excited about this change and the possibility it will help many Military Homeowners current in their Mortgages.  The effect date for this is June 1, 2012

In the last few weeks, Treasury and the Office of Servicemember Affairs at the CFPB have worked together to address this issue. And, as a result, Treasury is making important changes to its Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) that will provide more opportunities for mortgage assistance to military homeowners.

Active Duty Military Short Sale Program…Great News for Hampton Roads Active Duty Military.

By: Williamsburg Military Insider

With the press release of from the White House earlier this week; there is some great news for Military Home owners who are underwater on their mortgage with PCS orders in hand. The settlement came about by the Department of Justice Reaching Agreement to Compensate Servicemembers for Wrongful Foreclosures.  If you currently have a Home Mortgage from one of these lenders Bank of America, Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, and Ally and faced with a short sale possibility.  Under the National Mortgage Settlement working with your lender, all of the participating servicers will provide mandatory short sale agreements and deficiency waivers to certain service members who are currently ineligible for HAP.

  • JPMorgan Chase/Washington Mutual
    Chase Homeownership Center
    (866) 372-6901
  • Ally Financial-GMAC
    (800) 766-4622
  • Citibank/Citimortgage
    (866) 272-4749
  • Wells Fargo/Wachovia
    (800) 288-3212
  • HUD-Approved Housing Counselor
    (800) 569-4287

After talking with your lender and you meet the guidelines, Active Duty Service Members  who bought their homes between July 1, 2006 and December 31, 2008, or who received a PCS after October 1, 2010 you want to get with your Realtor who is knowledgeable with a Military Move.  A Military Friendly Realtor will be able to guide you through the short sale process and work with your lender in getting it accomplished.  The National Mortgage Settlement page has a lot of useful information how it directly affects Active Duty Service members.

If you live in the Hampton Roads area and have any questions on starting the short sale process please feel free to contact me.

I am a REALTOR with Liz Moore & Associates Also; I am part of the Liz Moore & Associates’ Military Team which specializes in homes for sale in James City County, Newport News, Hampton, York County, Poquoson, and Williamsburg, VA as well as surrounding markets. I offer Active Duty friendly support to families relocating to Langley Air Force Base, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, and Cheatam Annex. When you PCS to Hampton Roads, VA you will find that I understand that when a family member joins the military, the entire family belongs…thank you for serving our Country, and I look forward to serving your real estate needs!

When you are transferring to Langley AFB, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station or Cheatam Annex, if you’re interested in buying a home for sale call 757-651-3763 e-mail me at jenniferhernandez@lizmoore.com

Active Duty PCS? Leaving Hampton Roads, need to sell your home? Enter to Win Thousands!

Active Duty PCS?  Enter to Win Thousands!

We salute our military neighbors!  To show our gratitude for your service, if you are active duty and have received PCS out orders, we invite you enter to win a commission-free listing from the Liz Moore & Associates Military Team.

One lucky military seller will pay NO LISTING SIDE BROKERAGE FEE when we list (and sell) your home – that’s 3% of your home’s value back in your pocket.  You’ll save $6,750 on a home sold for $225,000!

You must list your home for the first time between 2/15/2012 and Labor Day, 9/30/2012 with a Liz Moore Military Team member for at least 6 months, and have PCS orders to be eligible. One winner will be drawn on Labor Day, and our 3% listing side brokerage fee will be credited at settlement (or rebated to the seller if the listing has already sold and closed). Short sales are not eligible.

Just visit www.SellYourVAHomeForFree.com to register to win, or call Jennifer Hernandez  office at 757.645-4106  for more details.

I am a REALTOR with Liz Moore & Associates Also; I am part of the Liz Moore & Associates’ Military Team which specializes in homes for sale in James City County, Newport News, Hampton, York County, Poquoson, and Williamsburg, VA as well as surrounding markets. I offer Active Duty friendly support to families relocating to Langley Air Force Base, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, and Cheatam Annex. When you PCS to Hampton Roads, VA you will find that I understand that when a family member joins the military, the entire family belongs…thank you for serving our Country, and I look forward to serving your real estate needs!

When you are transferring to Langley AFB, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station or Cheatam Annex, if you’re interested in buying a home for sale call 757-651-3763  e-mail me at jenniferhernandez@lizmoore.com