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Moving is an inevitable part of military life. However, whether this is your first move or your tenth, it’s nice to have a guide for a seamless transition. Each move will bring questions – many are the same but many are specific to your next base. Military life has enough unique challenges, don’t make your move unnecessarily stressful by putting things off for too long. As soon as you receive your orders, begin planning ahead.  

As VA Home Loan specialists, we talk every day with clients who are embarking on their PCSing journey to Arnold Air Force Base. We understand how big of an undertaking this can be. That’s why we created this guide to help get you started on a smooth transition.

Organize Your Paperwork

Start with your PCS binder and gather all of the following:

  • Orders
  • Moving documents (including housing and shipping documents)
  • School records
  • Medical records (this includes veterinary documents too)
  • Family records

Though you may want to place physical copies of these items in your binder, it’s also good practice to scan them as well. This is an enormous relief in the event that something is lost or permanently destroyed accidentally. 

Become Familiar With Entitlements

Visit Move.mil to learn about your entitlements for the move. Find out if you qualify for extra financial assistance. This depends on your rank and whether you have dependents.

Who’s Moving Your Stuff? DIY or Military

You will need to consider what type of move you will have and how many people will be involved. Obviously, the more people involved the more important it is to get organized to prevent potential delays. 

DIY – Use the move to get rid of anything that you don’t truly love or truly need. Pare down as much as possible and start packing efficiently. Some prefer to DIY their move as it ensures no one else touches your belongings and you complete the moving process on your timeline.  

Military – When using the military to help move, schedule movers at a time convenient for you where you will be present. Be polite but also let the movers know that you are keeping a close eye on the process. Document valuables as well in case anything is accidentally damaged or stolen. 

Keep all copies of receipts and documentation regarding the move as you will submit for reimbursement. Typical PCS expense allotment will apply.

Determine If You Should Sell or Lease Your Home

If you are not currently renting, you’ll need to decide if you prefer to sell or rent your existing home. Home value, market trends and personal preference can all impact this decision. 

If you are currently renting, you will need to notify your landlord of your move date. 

Research Arnold Air Force Base

While ideally you would visit Arnold Air Force Base in advance, that may not be possible before your move. Since AAFB is located almost equal distance between Chattanooga and Nashville, you can take time to learn more about those cities and the surrounding areas. There are many smaller cities, like Tullahoma, where people choose to live, where they still have easy access to Music City or Chattanooga for adventures or live events. If you or your spouse owns a business, some pre-requisites may transfer from state to state. For example, contractors licenses may be reciprocated depending on which state you are moving from.

Find A New Home 

Once you have researched AAFB, you will need to decide what you want for your new living situation. 

If you think you want to live on the base, you’ll need to contact the housing office at Arnold and ask about getting on the waiting list. It may take some time for housing to become available and you’ll want to make other arrangements in the meantime.

If you plan to buy, consider using the VA Home Loan program to help you realize the American dream of homeownership. You can also search for a new home on Military By Owner to see what is available. You may be shocked at how simple and streamlined the process of home ownership is thanks to the VA Home Loan. 

If you think you’d like to learn more about VA Home Loans and how to qualify, contact one of our VA Home Loan specialists today! 

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