PCS Guide: Judge a Neighborhood From Afar

Military relocations, or PCS moves, can be whirlwind affairs. Picking a new neighborhood often happens quickly, based on limited information and tight timelines. While visiting is ideal, sometimes it’s just not possible. So, how do you judge a neighborhood from afar and ensure it’s the right fit for your family?

Embrace Remote Reconnaissance:

  • Online research: Dive deep into the community’s official website, local news outlets, and community forums. This can reveal demographics, crime rates, school ratings, and public services.
  • Virtual tours: Many real estate listings offer 3D tours or drone footage, giving you a feel for the area’s layout and aesthetics.
  • Social media: Neighborhood Facebook groups and Nextdoor offer unfiltered glimpses into daily life, local events, and resident concerns.

Seek Out Expert Insights:

  • Connect with a local real estate agent: Choose one familiar with the area and your needs. They can provide detailed information, access listings not yet public, and even arrange virtual drive-bys.
  • Reach out to military families already stationed there: Get firsthand accounts of local amenities, schools, family-friendliness, and deployment support networks.
  • Utilize PCS relocation services: Military installations often offer relocation assistance programs with neighborhood information and community connections.

Focus on Your Priorities:

  • Schools: Research school ratings, class sizes, extracurricular activities, and distance from your chosen home.
  • Family-friendly activities: Are there parks, playgrounds, kid-friendly restaurants, and safe walking routes?
  • Commute: Look at traffic patterns, public transportation options, and proximity to your workplace or base.
  • Lifestyle: Does the neighborhood vibe resonate with your family’s preferences? Consider walkability, noise levels, and overall atmosphere.

Beyond the Basics:

  • Cost of living: Research housing costs, groceries, utilities, and childcare expenses to budget effectively.
  • Pet-friendliness: Check dog park availability, leash laws, and pet-friendly rental policies.
  • Cultural offerings: Do local museums, libraries, and events align with your family’s interests?


  • No neighborhood is perfect, but armed with information and realistic expectations, you can find a good fit.
  • Don’t rely solely on online research. Virtual visits and expert insights are invaluable.
  • Be flexible and open-minded. Unexpected gems can be discovered in unexpected places.

PCS moves are challenging, but choosing the right neighborhood doesn’t have to be. By utilizing remote resources, seeking expert advice, and focusing on your family’s priorities, you can confidently judge a neighborhood from afar and set yourself up for a successful transition.

Still feel overwhelmed? Ready Front Real Estate, led by military veteran Raoul Rowe, can help navigate your PCS move. Call (737) 276-1953 or visit www.readyfrontrealestate.com for expert guidance and support.

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