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How To Prepare for Your PCS Move -- And How a VA Loan Can Help

a woman packs for her PCS move with funding from a VA loan

While peak “PCS Moving Season” is between May and August, military families know it could be a possibility at any time. If you’re assigned a PCS, you may feel many mixed emotions. Excitement for a new start, uncertainty about a new home and new community, and more feelings are very common. But you can help alleviate some of the stress by preparing as much as you can and knowing your options -- including VA Loans.

Learn some of our best tips for PCS moves as well as how VA Loans work and how they could help your move go smoothly.

PCS Move Preparation Tips

It’s helpful to start your planning as soon as you have orders in hand. Start by making a checklist and preparing a PCS binder when you receive your RFO (request for orders).

No matter what time of year you’re assigned your PCS, it’s important to be proactive. You can contact your local Transportation Office to make sure you have a plan and understand all of your options and choices along the way.

When it comes to your documentation, be sure to keep all your records related to the move in a centralized location, including receipts. A record of all the communications and conversations you have related to the move will also be helpful. With whom did you communicate and when? What were the key points of your conversation, or any promises that were made to you?

One handy tip is to keep an individual folder for each duty station PCS, just as you would do for your tax returns -- up to the last two moves. Be sure you have all of your personal records in order, for the active duty member(s) as well as any dependents.

And don’t forget medical records for any of your furry family members!

Packing Tips and More

While your life may feel like it’s being turned upside down, be sure to hold onto any irreplaceable (or difficult to replace) personal paperwork/documentation.

You don’t want to mail or ship those items, because they could become lost. Always carry these types of items with you. These include passports, other forms of identification, PCS orders, medical records, your pets’ medical records, and your PCS binder.

Make sure you determine move-out requirements from your current residence, and be prepared for temporary lodging at your new duty station.

Remember: If you are relying on the government or a moving company to move your belongings, be sure to have an accurate inventory of your household goods. You could even take a video of your home before the packers arrive.

Want more tips? Here’s our full PCS move checklist.

How VA Loans Work and How They Can Help

If you’re thinking about buying a home in your new location, a VA Loan could be the right option for you. That’s because it often offers the best rate and does not require a down payment.

With a VA home loan, you can purchase any home that would be considered your primary residence. This includes single-family homes, duplexes, or condos. (Second homes, investment properties, and farms/lands do not qualify.)

One of the main benefits of a VA Loan is that veterans may qualify for 100% financing -- which means there is no down payment requirement and no mortgage insurance premium cost for the home buyer. Keep in mind that buyers may have to pay a “funding fee,” based on veteran exemption status, which can be paid off over the life of the loan.

Many military families are not sure about committing to buying a home, knowing how much they make PCS moves, which is very understandable. But a major benefit of VA Loans -- and one that some people don’t know -- is that VA Loans are assumable.

This means that when it’s time to sell your home, the loan can be transferred to the new home buyer, even if they aren’t a service member or qualified veteran. This is highly attractive to many home buyers because VA Loans often have better rates and terms than conventional or FHA mortgages.

When you move on to your next PCS and your next home, you’ll be able to apply for another, brand-new VA Loan. VA Loans are designed with servicemembers in mind, so there’s no limit to the number of times you can take out a VA Loan.

Apply for Your VA Loan with Armed Forces Bank

If you work with a loan advisor from Armed Forces Bank -- an approved VA Lender -- we’ll help you get started on your application. We will stay with you through the whole process, so you’ll never be alone.

Armed Forces Bank will also waive the loan origination fee on all VA loans for borrowers who qualify for the VA loan product.

Other features of an Armed Forces Bank VA Loan include:

  • No down payment option
  • No mortgage insurance premiums to pay (though funding fee may apply)
  • Flexible credit standards
  • Options available to tailor your mortgage to your unique situation
  • No penalty to pre-pay or to refinance your VA home loan at any time
  • An assumable mortgage
  • $0 Loan Origination Fee*

We’ll Help Make Your PCS Easier

Armed Forces Bank is a family-owned military bank. Our mission is to provide a superior banking experience with fast, easy and personal service. Our VA Loan can give you the path to homeownership and help make your PCS move easier.

Member FDIC
*The lender origination fee is waived for borrowers who qualify for the VA loan product. Borrowers only pay third party closing costs. Third party fees include appraisal fee, title fees, insurance, etc. Owner Occupied Property only.

Subject to credit approval. VA funding fee may apply. VA loan qualification guidelines apply.

VA loans are offered exclusively to qualified Military Service Members. 100% Loan-to-Value on VA loans only. Additional restrictions and fees may apply.