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How to transition smoothly into your next PCS.

This content is provided courtesy of USAA.

"Moving your family can be overwhelming, but technology and timely advice can be the ace up your sleeve," says Sandee Payne, military spouse and author of "That Military House: Move It, Organize It & Decorate It. As someone who has moved all over the world seven times in the first 10 years of her marriage, at times on her own and with children while her husband was deployed, Payne advises that, "it's critical to have online tools and resources you trust, placing you in control of your move." This is especially true for military families who move to cities they've never visited. "I learned that it's about finding a place that fits your family's lifestyle with minimal disruption," she adds.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 Population Survey, nearly 40 million Americans move each year, including more than half a million active military personnel. According to Payne and USAA, overspending and inadequate research are the two most common mistakes when moving to a new home."

The following is a list of the 7 most common mistakes military families make when they move, based on Payne's experience.

  1. Spending beyond your budget. Be aware of the hidden costs when buying a home. Consider the financial obligations beyond a mortgage that add to the cost of homeownership, including city taxes, utilities, insurance and maintenance -- not to mention the length of a commute, given the fluctuations in gas prices. And remember updating expenses, such as granite countertops, plantation shutters, or a pool or spa.

  2. Not researching your new community. Use the Internet to research real estate listings and to learn about your new home, city, local amenities, school ratings, crime rates and children's activities. Talk to parents in the community who can provide firsthand insight on the topics that are most important to you. Make sure to understand your neighborhood by day and by night before moving in.

  3. Lacking a household inventory. Use photos, video or a notebook to document valuable items. This will help you file a claim if an item is lost or damaged. Store them in a moving file or on a thumb drive.

  4. Not watching how boxes are organized. One of the most common mistakes when moving to a new home is placing large items, like lawn equipment, next to boxes containing valuables in the moving truck. Keep a watchful eye on those packing for you if using a moving company.

  5. Moving all belongings. Not everything has to go with you. Pack suitcases and storage bins as if you're going on a short vacation. Include essentials for the first few days in your new home. And take the time to separate items into sections of keep, sell, donate or discard before you pack

  6. Dismantling your electronic equipment without labeling wires. Take photos of the connections, and place the wires in a single box. Knowing how to reinstall your kids' computer games can be a lifesaver.

  7. Not keeping important documents with you. Hang on to important documents, so you can easily re-establish your lifestyle. These are needed at every stage of a move, from making travel arrangements, registering children for school and establishing new physicians using your prior medical records.

To help take some of the stress out of relocation, USAA's Home CircleTM provides members access to detailed information about real estate financing and insuring, as well as research, through a computer, iPhone or AndroidTM regarding homes, rental properties, schools, local amenities, military bases and more. In addition, USAA members can get up to $3,100 when they buy and sell their home through the USAA's MoversAdvantage real estate assistance program which can help members find, finance, insure and rent a home.

"At USAA, we're committed to helping our members with the entire moving process. We strive to understand and anticipate our members' needs and provide innovative solutions that make their lives easier. That's why we created Home Circle -- a free program that guides members through making one of their largest financial decisions," says Rich Novak, USAA Home Circle assistant vice president. "Since our members move frequently, they can turn to Home Circle to help them find, finance, insure and even rent a home."

And according to a recent survey by USAA, 34% of consumers agree with Payne. They would prefer to search online for a new place to live, compared with 10% who would use newspapers or other printed materials.

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