PCS to Hawaii: Find a Military Relocation Professional

A few years ago the National Association of Realtors developed a new certification course, the Military Relocation Professional (MRP), after recognizing military buyers and sellers need agents who speak the language of military permanent change of station (PCS) moves, and understand military families’ unique needs and interests. This was old news to me, as we had already developed a team of agents with personal military experience to serve the military market.

The demand for military experienced agents is particularly evident here in Hawaii where, on the small island of Oahu, all services are represented. The Navy and Air Force are based at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. The Army is located at Schofield Barracks and Wheeler Army Airfield. The Marines are based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe and also operate out of Camp Smith, and Sand Island is home of Coast Guard Base Honolulu.

Real estate agents on Oahu without personal military experience should absolutely earn the MRP, to at least become familiar with the market.

While earning the MRP certification provides a basic level of understanding by requiring a reading assignment, a one-day classroom or online course, and two hours of webinar viewing to orient agents to the processes and procedures involved in a military relocation and how these impact service members’ relocation and housing choices, those qualifications do not come close to the level of real-life experience faced by Hawaii Life’s military veteran or dependent agents.

We have personally lived the PCS process, understand the limitations of your TLA, PTDY, BAH and COLA, and know how to assist your family with getting back into a normal routine in an entirely new place. We’ve been there, done that, and will expertly guide you along the way.

Commissioning day

Commissioning day

Here to Serve You

Since there are many agents on Oahu who have authentic military experience in addition to the Military Relocation Professional certification, military families PCS’ing to Oahu can be comfortable requesting a higher standard of service in Hawaii, beginning with our team of agents.


Where Do Hawaii Residents Vacation?

Sunshine, ocean, rainbows, and umbrella drinks are a regular part of my life. Socks and mittens are not. After growing up in the snowy Midwest, wearing a parka over my Halloween costume and Easter dress, I know how fortunate I am. A popular phrase here is “Lucky We Live Hawaii,” implying we don’t just live IN Hawaii, we LIVE the Hawaii way, with Aloha.

Geisha costumes in Kyoto, Japan

Geisha costumes in Kyoto, Japan

So, when Hawaii residents take a vacation, where do we go?

1. We Visit Family. Hawaii residents spend a lot of vacation dollars traveling to the U.S. Mainland, Canada, or Asian countries to visit extended family. So, we don’t often choose where we go on vacation, but it’s a reasonable trade. Recently, as a compromise,, I coordinated to meet my parents who live in Florida, in California so we both got to see a new spot.

seward, alaska

seward, alaska

2. North. When it’s hot in Hawaii, going north to a cold climate can be refreshing. Alaska, Vancouver, Jackson Hole, and other snowy spots are popular. I recently re-lived my frigid childhood by warming up the car and scraping the ice off the windshield in Whistler, British Columbia.  One week was enough winter for me.

3. Vegas, Baby! Hawaii’s infatuation with “the 9th island” runs deep. Vegas is a comparatively cheap and easy getaway spot, and plenty of Hawaii expats make Vegas different enough, but still familiar.

Golden gate bridge, san francisco

Golden gate bridge, san francisco

4. Asia. If you’re from the U.S. Mainland or Canada, Hawaii is about halfway to Asia, both geographically and culturally, so continuing west seems easy. My children took Chinese and Japanese language classes in school, and later we visited those countries with an educational tour group for a reasonable rate.

5. Down Under. While Australia and New Zealand are still a 10 hour or more plane ride from Hawaii, they’re not nearly as far as from the Mainland U.S., and there are even a few direct flights available..

Lava tube, volcanoes National Park

Lava tube, volcanoes National Park

6. Other Hawaiian Islands. For a weekend getaway, try another island. You’ll be amazed at the variety of scenery and the differences between each island. The Big Island of Hawaii is lava coated in some areas, snow covered mountain in others, and has high prairies with livestock, too. Kauai has The Grand Canyon of the Pacific at Waimea Canyon, and Maui's Haleakala looks like the surface of the moon, yet is just down the road from lavender and strawberry farms.

When Hawaii residents need a vacation, we have some fantastic options for traveling. There’s a lot that can’t be beat about this place, though, and we truly are lucky we are living the Hawaii Life!

Want to Know More?

If you have any questions about the Hawaii lifestyle, feel free to contact me.



Hawaii Military Life: How to Sell your Home when you PCS

If you’re PCS’ing from Hawaii and own a home, selling it before you move can be one more challenge considering the logistics involved. How do you make sure you have the best experience when you sell? Call a Realtor. I happen to be one…And I happen to have PCS’d many times.

Anyone in the military has probably been introduced to the concept of backward planning. You may recall that the day the mission is executed is “D day” and all time calculations are based off of that. We’ll call the day you wave goodbye to Honolulu from the airplane “D Day.”

A Timeline For Sellers

Below you'll find a general timeline of events to successfully sell your home prior to D Day. This schedule is flexible depending on the time you have available and your personal situation. We’ll tailor this schedule to your needs, but the timeline will be clear to you from the beginning.

D -120

To learn about your situation and make recommendations about any repairs or improvements you should accomplish, I’d like to visit your home about 120 days before you leave.  I’ll line up any contractors you need to assist. I’ll also explain the paperwork involved in listing your home for sale. Of course, this can be done less than 120 days in advance if you receive orders unexpectedly, and for planning purposes you may prefer to have this conversation more than 120 days in advance.

D -119

After visiting your home I’ll provide you a complete market value assessment for your property, showing you how much other homes have sold for, how long it took them to sell, and how they compare in condition and features to yours.

I’ll recommend a price range for listing your property based on the market details and on your needs.  I’ll also provide a detailed list of the expenses involved in selling your home, such as commissions, title and escrow fees, and transfer taxes, so you know how much money you'll have to purchase a home at your next duty station.  Beware any agent who walks in the door with an exact number in mind!  They have not taken the condition and improvements in your home, nor your personal needs into consideration.

If you’re planning on buying another home, I’ll also interview a few military focused Realtors at your next duty station and recommend the best fit.  I ask the tough questions for you. You can now start getting familiar with your new station and the homes available in your price range.

D -90 to D -60

Depending on how quickly the homes in your neighborhood are selling, I'll list your home for sale in this timeframe. The week before we list you’d need to have any repairs made, your personal items “de-cluttered” and stored, and the home clean and ready for photographs. I’ll walk you through that entire process and help with staging, so your home is as beautiful possible, which earns you the most money in a sale.  Don't worry if it seems overwhelming.  You'd be amazed at the "Before" and "After" photos of my listings. 

Prior to D Day, you’re welcome to have the movers pack your household goods, move to temporary housing, ship your cars, and any other out-processing tasks whenever you like. We’ll plan that together to best suit your needs.

D -15

By this date, you’ve signed the deed transfer paperwork on your Hawaii home and are ready to close the sale. If you’ve decided to leave early, I work with the escrow officer to provide a mobile notary who will come to you, wherever you are, making your life easy.

D Day

All you have to do is get yourself, your whole family, your pets, your 42 checked bags, and one last case of Dole pineapple onto the plane. Easy, right?

D + 10

By this time you’re on leave en route or you’re signing into your new unit, and you're boots on the ground with a new Realtor looking for your next home. The money from your sale is safely in your bank, your VA Certificate of Eligibility has been restored.  Now you’re ready to make an offer on your next home.