Navigating the Real Estate Market in Military Relocation Destinations 

Military relocations can be stressful, especially when it comes to finding a new home. Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves often involve tight timelines and specific needs. Here are ten tips for military families to successfully navigate the real estate market in their new duty station.

1. Start Early

Begin your home search as soon as you receive orders. Use online resources to research neighborhoods, schools, and amenities. Early preparation gives you a better understanding of the market and more options to choose from.

2. Leverage Military Resources

Utilize resources like the Military Housing Office (MHO) and Automated Housing Referral Network (AHRN). These platforms offer listings tailored to military families and can connect you with experienced real estate agents familiar with military moves.

3. Understand Your Housing Allowance

Know your Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rate for the new location. This will help you determine your budget and narrow down your options. Remember, BAH rates vary by location, rank, and dependency status. Be especially mindful if your current BAH rate varies significantly from your new one. 

4. Explore Different Neighborhoods

Consider both established and newer neighborhoods. Established areas may offer more amenities and mature landscapes, while newer neighborhoods might provide modern features and community activities. Visit the areas if possible, or use virtual tours to get a feel for the environment.

5. Evaluate Commute Times

Decide on your preferred commute time. Living closer to the base reduces travel time and transportation costs but might come with higher property prices. Conversely, homes further away may be more affordable but require longer commutes. Weigh the pros and cons to find what suits your family best.

6. Consider Resale Value

Think about the resale value of the property. Military families often move every few years, so it’s crucial to buy a home that will be easy to sell. Look for areas with good schools, low crime rates, and planned community development. These factors contribute to a higher resale value and a local, trusted real estate agent will help you navigate these considerations. 

7. Make a Competitive Offer

In competitive markets, a strong offer can make all the difference. Get pre-approved for a mortgage to show sellers you’re serious. Consider offering above the asking price or including an escalation clause if the market is hot. A personal letter to the seller explaining why you love the home can also make your offer stand out.

8. Hire a Knowledgeable Real Estate Agent

Choose a real estate agent experienced with military relocations. They understand the unique challenges of PCS moves and can guide you through the process. A knowledgeable agent can provide valuable insights into the local market and help you find the best deals.

9. Be Flexible

Flexibility is key during a PCS move. Be open to different housing options, such as renting initially before buying, if the market is particularly tough. This approach can give you more time to find the perfect home without the pressure of a tight timeline.

10. Inspect Thoroughly

Ensure any potential home undergoes a thorough inspection. Military families often buy homes sight unseen, relying on virtual tours and photos. An inspection can reveal issues that might not be visible online. Addressing these problems before closing can save you time and money.

Additional Considerations

School Districts

If you have children, research the quality of local schools. Homes in good school districts often have higher resale values and provide better educational opportunities.

Community Amenities

Look for neighborhoods with amenities that fit your family’s lifestyle, such as parks, pools, and community centers. These features enhance your living experience and can increase property values.


Check crime rates in potential neighborhoods. Safety is paramount, and areas with low crime rates are more desirable.

Long-term Plans

Consider your long-term plans. If you plan to stay in the area after retiring from the military, you might prioritize different factors than if you expect another PCS move in a few years.

Financial Readiness

Ensure your finances are in order. PCS moves can be costly, so having a budget for moving expenses, closing costs, and potential home repairs is crucial.

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