It can be intimidating when you find out you’re being stationed somewhere new. Even more so, for those of us who have kids. Because of this, I decided to create a checklist of all the things to do when arriving at a new duty station.
- Housing. Are you planning to live on post or off? If you’re planning to live on, call the housing office immediately when you get orders. Some places will let you sit on the waiting list before you actually arrive. If living off post, decide if you want to rent or buy. If you need help deciding, see my other post on the pros and cons of buying. If you are planning to buy, it’s best to set up your loan prequalificaton and paper work before you leave your current location. This way all of your documents can already be in and you don’t have to worry about it as much in transit. Also, contact a realtor and let them know you’re coming so they can start getting listings together.
- Transportation. You won’t be able to make any other plans until you set up your transportation. Are you going to drive? Are you OCONUS and require shipping a vehicle? Do you need a flight? If you are shipping a car make sure you don’t have any recalls on it immediately. Also, consider how you plan to transport your pets and what the out of pocket expense will be to you, if any.
- Movers! In some areas, the moving companies need as much notice as possible. We had a friend wait until the last minute and we ended up having to meet his movers for him after he had already reported to the next post.
- Finance. Visit finance and make sure you understand how your lodging assistance is processed. (TLA or TLE for Army) Do you need a government travel card? Do you know the rules of how to use it?
- Kids. If you have young kids call the Childcare Centers ASAP. If there is a waitlist, many places will let you go ahead and get on it before arriving.
- Job. If you’re a working spouse, look into the job market in the area. Update your LinkedIn to that location and make it searchable. This way the jobs may find you before you even apply.
- Network with other wives! Get on the Facebook pages for the area and start asking questions. Ask about good areas to live. What’s fun to do? School? In general, wives love to help other wives.
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If you need help getting prequalified for a home loan, I can help! Just contact me on here or through my work website. https://www.thefederalsavingsbank.com/bankers/christina-baker