There is one aspect of the armed forces that never seems to get easier: military PCS move season. And with 2020’s unprecedented PCS travel guidelines and restrictions, it’s been a season like no other.

Despite the current uncertainties about when and how to PCS, thousands of military families will still complete a move this year. May typically starts the PCS peak season, however, most families won’t be on a regular timeline this year, due in part to COVID-19.

And that means it is time to start preparing for your military PCS move now.

Managing your upcoming move effectively is all about doing your research in advance, building a solid move strategy, and getting help from the right people to ease some of your burdens. Moving will never come without surprises, but with the right planning, you can greatly simplify your move—and maybe even put some cash back in your pocket in the process. After years in the business, here are a few tried-and-true strategies to help make your PCS move easier.

3 Tested Strategies for an Easier Military PCS Move

1. Don’t skimp on research.

We all know PCSing is stressful and hectic. Looking up new places to live, schools for the kids, and available jobs for your spouse can feel daunting. While Google and Facebook can be great resources, they are black holes of information, and you’ll likely end up with more questions than answers. Enter: PCSgrades.com.

PCSgrades is a one-stop-shop for military families to discover area guides and trusted reviews by and for the military and veteran communities. Built by a veteran and supported by a team of veterans and military spouses, PCSgrades does all the heavy lifting when it comes to planning for PCS: they help you understand local neighborhoods, base housing, moving companies, lenders, schools, and more. Plus you get unfiltered and honest reviews from military families from around the world about the areas you’re moving into.

To start, just create a free account. It’s the best place to begin planning your move and narrowing down your options.

2. Use a real estate agent who understands military needs.

From navigating the complexities of VA Home Loans to understanding PCS travel restrictions during COVID-19, you need a professional to guide and advocate for you and your family. That’s where a real estate agent makes all the difference. They understand your need to find a home during your 10 days of house-hunting leave, or your request to sign all paperwork virtually because you are stationed out-of-state. Attempting to make a cross-country—or even local—move with an inexperienced real estate agent is a risk you don’t want to put your family through.

Luckily, you don’t have to delve into classifieds on military pages to find highly vetted, trusted agents. PCSgrades works with Realogy, a national leader in real estate and the parent company to some of the most recognized names in real estate like Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate®, Coldwell Banker®, Century 21®, ERA Real Estate®, and Corcoran®, to connect you with top, local agents through the Realogy Military Rewards® program. These agents have years of experience working with military families and bring expert insights about your desired area to you. For military families on the move, this guidance is priceless.

My real estate agent was the very best I have ever had. I received help and communication throughout the entire process. Even though this was a stressful time, it was less stressful because of the help and guidance I received.”

– Dorothy G., Veteran

Do yourself a favor and don’t settle for the agent you heard about in a Facebook group. Get an agent that fits your family’s unique needs and truly understands the parameters of military life.

3. Take advantage of military-focused reward programs.

Even with some costs covered by allowances, military PCS moves can become expensive. In fact, the Defense Department estimates that 1 in 5 DoD household shipments had some sort of lost or damaged goods—which, sadly, means money will likely be coming out of your pocket to fix or replace it. This creates a tough situation for military families on top of other moving expenses like buying furniture, closing out utility bills, and replacing everything from the pantry.

The reality is that moving is draining both financially and emotionally. The best way to limit the impact of moving is with cash benefit programs built specifically for military families to ease your financial burden.

While also connecting you to top agents, Realogy Military Rewards also provides a cash back bonus to military families who buy or sell a home through their program. And it’s simple! After closing on a home using a participating agent, you can receive $350-$7,500 in cash back benefits. It’s a win-win for active and former military looking to move with ease and make the most of their move.

This program took the guesswork out of buying or selling a home. I felt like I had people that were in my corner and willing to help me and answer any questions that I have.”

– Willie S, Active Guard Reserve

For more about Realogy Military Rewards, request a free, no-obligation call here: https://realogymilitaryrewards.com/

Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to enjoy the journey!

Remember, moving is all about preparation. And while there’s always work involved in a move, it can be an exciting time for you and your family. The key is to get ahead of the hassles, plan your move with the right tools, and make the most of the benefit programs available to you. By doing these three things, you’ll be on a path to PCS success and loving your new home in no time.