How To Sell Your Home Quickly After Your PCS Order

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Of the many active-duty service members we've helped buy and sell homes, getting a home sold quickly after receiving their PCS orders has always been a huge cause of stress for our military clients when they first meet with us. And just like we've helped them, we're here today to show you how to get your home sold quickly, meet your PCS deadline and do it all with as little stress as possible. 

You've Received Your PCS Orders, What's The First Step in Selling Your House?

 military family worried about their home

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A lot goes through your head when you get your PCS orders. Things like:

"Will I like my new location?"

"What will my new home be like?"

"Will I like the other military members I'm stationed with?"

And, then you realize you need to get your current home listed and sold before you leave. That leads to a whole new set of questions:

"How will I get my home ready in time?"

"Will I even be able to sell the house before I'm due to report?"

"What sort of paperwork do I have to fill out?"

Don't worry. Take a deep breath and consider your options. You may have a few months or more before you need to report. On the flip side, you may have just a few weeks. Regardless, you'll need to get a few decisions out of the way before taking any action. One of the more important things to ask yourself is:

"Should I sell my home by myself or find a real estate agent?"


Understand the Risks of FSBO or Selling Yourself 

moving boxes in an empty room

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Clients that come to us after trying to sell their homes by themselves always started with the best intentions. They figured they'd simply put the house on the market, find a buyer and then save all the costs associated with hiring a real estate agent and, in turn, pocket all that "Saved Cash" for themselves once the home's sold.

And sure, if you do manage to navigate the paperwork, home inspections, professional photos, showings, lawyers, and more - you'll avoid agent commissions, but the time and effort could be even more costly.

And, that's just for the civilian population!

If you decide to go the "For Sale By Owner" or FSBO route, as the owner, you're responsible for all the marketing, legal and administrative requirements that are involved with getting your house listed. And for an active-duty service member with PCS orders, the added responsibility of keeping all the details organized can simply be too much to undertake.

We recommend you hire a real estate agent to help you with the process. I'm sure that comes as no surprise since we're real estate agents! But, there's more to choosing an agent to help with a military relocation than meets the eye, which we'll get into with the next section.


Hire a Real Estate Agent Familiar With Your Military Needs

Sarah Coleman-Lee at her military retirement


According to The Close, 92% of home sellers used a real estate agent to sell their homes in 2021.

There's a reason why.

A good real estate agent will have the experience and expertise to guide you through the process of selling your home - one that best suits your circumstances - and for the best price.

With a qualified Realtor® working with you, you'll have the freedom to focus on other things like packing and looking for a home in your new location while they take care of the rest.

Regardless if your orders dictate you have months or weeks to move, you should get in touch with a real estate agent as soon as you get your PCS. As we're a retired military family, we know things can change quickly so it's important to discuss your needs with an agent as soon as possible.


Choose An Agent With an MRP Designation 

Military Relocation Professional Logo

Moving due to a PCS involves some very specific needs, so you need someone familiar with them. One surefire way to know you'll be hiring an agent familiar with your specific needs is to look for an agent with an MRP designation. The MRP designation stands for Military Relocation Professional

The MRP designation is earned by taking an exam that shows proficiency in military terms, buyer and seller benefits, and more. For more information on agents with the MRP title, try reading our blog post about why you should choose an MRP for your next move.

One additional thing to mention: While the MRP title must be earned through documented knowledge of military information, not all MRP's are veterans or military spouses. Look for real estate agents with a military background for an even deeper understanding of the logistical and emotional needs of a situation like this.

After you've located a few agents with military experience and an MRP designation, it's time to do some additional research...


Focus on the Agent's DOM (Days on Market) Stats

An agent "DOM" or "Days on Market" stands for the average number of days a home they've listed remains on the market before it goes under contract. If you can locate agents with lower than the average days on market, you can expect them to have a robust network and excellent marketing skills to get plenty of eyes on your home. 

In the current real estate market where homes sell almost as quickly as they're listed, try finding DOM numbers that span a longer period than just a single year to get a more realistic overview of their abilities. Every area has an average DOM so don't be shy about asking your agent what their average DOM is. To find the overall average DOM for your area, try looking for this information on your current city's page and compare that to your potential agent.

If the agent under consideration doesn't want to provide this info or you discover their DOM is much longer than the average, you should consider moving on to your next choice. After all, in your case it's important to get your home sold quickly, right?


Military Specific Tips For Home Sellers

father in the military holding his child

Photo by George Pak from Pexels

As active-duty military, it's important to be well-educated on the specific benefits and resources you have available to you in the sale of your home. Here are a few important ones to keep in mind:

What If You Don't Sell Your Home Before Your PCS Deadline?

happy military family after selling their home

Photo by George Pak from Pexels


The best scenario is to have your home sold and your closing complete before your move. However, sometimes your home may not sell before you have to move. So what are your options?

Here are a few to consider:

1. Have your agent manage the sales process for you

It's not uncommon for sellers to have to leave before the home sells to report to their next duty station. And we're very proud of the fact that our military sellers have had the confidence in us to assist in the completion of the sale of their homes after they've had to relocate. We've done so on numerous occasions and with a 100% success rate.

This has involved everything from simply acting as their power of attorney on closing day to coordinating cleaning, repairs, landscaping - the works - to preparing the home to list on the market and then handling showings, negotiations, etc. in their absence. While this is convenient, it's important to make sure you're communicating with your agent on a regular basis to ensure everyone's on the same page.

2. Rent Out Your Home

If it looks like your home may not sell before you have to report to your next station, there's always the option to become a landlord and rent out your home.

Of course, this route comes with its own set of challenges in order to make it work, so you should weigh this option with the laundry list of tasks you're already working through like school transfers, packing, paperwork, etc.

If you are having serious thoughts about renting the home out, you should be fully aware of the total costs associated with the process. Unfortunately, it's not just a matter of collecting a rent check each month. Renting your home means you're now a landlord and responsible for a number of things with the home that requires management. It's a good idea to get in touch with a property management company in the area to get an idea of what the market would bare in terms of rental rates and what their fees would be to manage the property for you.

This of course means a smaller portion of the monthly rent payments end up in your pocket but it could be completely worth it so you can avoid the hassle of addressing every leak, squeak, and tweak that comes up regarding the house.

How to get your home ready on short notice

If you do find yourself in a situation where time is not on your side and you need to move on short notice. We have some tips for getting your home ready to list quickly.

Follow OPSEC

Operations Security is guidelines prohibiting military members from including any specific information about deployments and job details online. In addition, any items that could indicate your military involvement in the photos of your home could break these guidelines. So, it's important before any listing photos are taken or home showings to remove any trace of your military involvement

OPSEC prohibits military members from posting specific information about themselves online. Any trace of your military involvement in your listing photos or information can break this code.


If we've told our clients once, we've told them a thousand times; declutter your home! One of the most effective things you can do to increase the appeal of your home is to remove clutter and make your home seem more open and inviting.

Have your real estate agent, friends, and family point out anything they think is non-essential to remove and place in storage before any photos or showings begin. One great tip: Any non-essential items that "Hold" things like books, framed photos, and knick-knacks are first on the chopping block.

Improve your curb appeal

Decluttering and depersonalizing are for the inside, but improving your curb appeal is essential for the outside. Consider hiring landscapers to give your yard a facelift by cutting and edging your grass, adding mulch, and planting some flowers.

And since the front door is one of the first impressions potential buyers have of the home, you'll want to give that some attention as well. So consider a fresh coat of paint and some vibrant flowers or potted plants to make things more welcoming.

Final Thoughts

As a veteran military family of 22 years, we completely get the stress and uncertainty you may be feeling about selling your home before reporting for your PCS. But the good news is if you take a deep breath, follow the above steps, get in touch with us by email or give us a call - the home selling experience you have will come with reduced stress and peace of mind. 

For further reading, consider checking out our blog posts on how to qualify for a VA home loan and learning what the closing costs on a VA loan are.


Charleston's Best Home Team