In the past (almost) 9 months of being married, I have learned a lot about being a military spouse. The military wasted no time in giving us the full military career experience in three-quarters of a year— a deployment and homecoming (okay, okay– that was a month before we got married, but I’m counting it!), John’s return to C-School to learn skills for his upcoming orders, leaving my job to move to be with John and then finding new ones.
And then, of course, we also PCSed.
Neither John or I had ever PCSed before, and we dug into it. We spent hours and hours looking through pages of Google and CraigsList results for weeks. We consulted with a real estate agent and were even able to take a Saturday and drive to our new duty station to do some in-person apartment shopping. (I know– that’s something that’s virtually unheard of in the military community!)
We decided we were going to DITY move rather than have the government move us. When we told our military friends that, inevitably, they would tell us horror stories about people who lost a ton of money, wrecked their possessions, or ended up in huge cross-country fights with their spouses. I don’t regret our choice to DITY (and I thought I was going to). In fact, we made it through unscathed– just a broken IKEA drawer and a lightbulb! We didn’t get the UHaul stuck under an overpass. And John and I still are on speaking terms!
When I look back on our PCS, I have just one major regret. I really regret that we hadn’t heard of AHRN.com during our search. It would have saved us tons of time and frustration, not to mention the wear-and-tear on my computer (I’m not joking when I say I did a lot of apartment research).
AHRN.com is the Automatic Housing Referral Network– a website designed to help military members an their families with all things related to housing. No matter where you are in the process– whether you want be a renter, a landlord, a seller, or a buyer, AHRN.com’s resources will make your life a lot easier. And they’re not just related to CONUS properties– you can also browse and list properties overseas. (If you’re interested, check out Jessica Lynn’s Italy experience! She’s much more versed on PCSing internationally than I am!)
Personally, I think the RentSmart search feature is the crown jewel of AHRN.com. Answer a few basic questions (including base, rank, and housing preferences) and it synthesizes the information so that you can see what the average rent and projected utilities for your ideal housing situation measures up to your BAH.
Here’s what it looks like:
When you click on the details of a particular listing, you’ll see even more detailed information– including a comprehensive report of the property’s amenities, area schools, and a chart of nearby military installations. It does the research in a few seconds that it would have (and had) taken me a lot, lot longer.
And I would be completely remiss if I didn’t point out their blog with posts about specific military installations, buying, selling, renting, moving, and everything in between. Connect with AHRN.com and stay in-the-know through their social media: Facebook, G+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter. Do it now– not months after your PCS! Learn from my mistakes so that your next PCS is regret-free!