Summer months are considered the height of PCS Season, but thousands of military service members and their families will negotiate an off season PCS this Fall. Moving outside of summer months offers some challenges, but presents key opportunities as well!
In military communities across the world, moving vans start rolling in late May. Furniture is wrapped, clothes and knick knacks are boxed up, and families begin their travel to their next new home. While the bustle slows down in August, PCS moves continue to happen throughout the Fall as the changing needs of the military are not limited by the calendar. Let’s take a look at the added challenges and unexpected opportunities of an off season PCS.
Off Season PCS & Schools
Perhaps the most significant hurdle involved in an off season move is the school switch for our military kids. Starting a new school at the beginning of the year presents enough challenges. Coming in mid-year presents a whole new set of issues. Don’t hesitate to tap into available resources to help navigate this change. Identify your new installation’s school liaison, someone very familiar with the requirements of that school district. Some schools also offer additional resources when they serve a largely military community.
- Contact the new school directly (if you know where you will be zoned for) and ask what documentation they need.
- Ask your child’s current teacher to help you put together a summary of what your child has already covered this year so the new teacher knows about any differences in curriculum.
- Get in touch with the school liaison at your new installation to discuss transfer requirements and any attendance issues.
Not knowing where you will live creates a tremendous amount of stress during a PCS. House hunting outside the high tempo summer move season can be tricky. With fewer people moving, many locations experience a smaller inventory of available homes – both on and off the installation. At the same time, homes often take a little bit longer to rent and owners may be open to negotiating the rent during the off season to avoid a long vacancy.
“Off-season PCSing is beneficial financially, if you want to get a house, because the off season is a harder time to sell. So sellers may be willing to negotiate lower than usual prices so they can make the sale quickly ” recommends Malori Mayor, author of Living A Warrior Life. Savvy military families can translate their off season PCS into more home for the money than they would have during the high turnover summer months.
- Update your AHRN.com dashboard with your new installation and PCS date.
- Use the Choose The Right Home worksheets in your PCS Toolkit so that you know exactly what you’re looking for in a new home.
Taking Weather Into Account
Winter weather (or even Fall and Spring storms) can create PCS complications – on both ends. Severe or wet weather on clearing and packing days can cause closures that slow down the process and result in delays. There can also be weather-related delays for drivers, creating a late household goods delivery.
With all the ways weather can impact your move, prepare a PCS back-up plan. At each end, account for a longer than anticipated hotel stay. Be prepared to get your household goods later. During one January PCS to Ft Leonard Wood, Missouri, an ice storm delayed delivery of our things for almost a week, as the truck couldn’t safely be driven down our street.
Like with any PCS, off season moves require preparation and organization to minimize the challenges and maximize the opportunities available!
We want to know:
What is the biggest difference you’ve experienced with an off season PCS?