What Do I Need To Do First?
After you get your PCS order, your new command will assign a sponsor. Your sponsor will have a lot of really good information for you as you’re preparing to move, and can be tremendously helpful. Take advantage of the service specific info they provide, and the most current issues being faced.
One of the best sources of information and support is your spouse (if you have one) or a local agent (me!) who can hook you up with someone.
With Facebook’s popularity, I recommend connecting with a Facebook page or group for the island. There are groups for virtually everyone and every interest.
Should I bring all of my Household Goods?
How do I Estimate my Household Goods?
How Do I Bring My Pet?
How to Qualify Your Pet for the 5-day or Less Quarantine Program?
Where are the best places to stay while on Temporary Housing Allowance (TLA)?
Do I Really Need To Go To The Newcomers’ Briefing?
How do I get my POV to Hawaii?
Horizon Lines Terminal (0730-1630):
1601 Sand Island Parkway Pier 51-B
Honolulu, HI 96819-4357
Where do I register my POV?
Special Laws In Hawaii
Like most of the country at this point, texting and driving is a big issue.
The Honolulu City Council just passed a bill that allows the City to fine you if you are texting while walking across a street ($15-$99 fine)…so be alert as this may soon be law.
Talking on your cell phone while driving is also against the law in Hawaii.
Please remember, everyone (including the back seat passenger) must wear seatbelts.
Motorcycle helmets are optional (until you go on base) but advisable for your safety. No option on base!
I Want To Bring My Weapons, What’s The Process?
When you arrive in Hawaii, you’ll need to register any firearms with the state, and the base.
Hawaii is very strict on firearms, so you’ll want to act quickly.
You have a short grace period upon arrival, which is 3 days. You’ll need to register your firearms with the Honolulu Police Department (HPD).
Once you’re beyond that period, you COULD be subject to felony possession of firearms. (PLEASE, don’t wait to register your weapons!)
To register simply take the unloaded firearm to the Firearms Division of HPD for inspection along with proper identification and proof of ownership.
You will be fingerprinted ($16.50 fee), photographed, and you’re done.
If you plan to live in military or privatized on base housing, you must register the firearm with the base’s security.
You will need to bring a valid military ID card and proof of HPD firearm registration, and proof of residence in the housing area.
Check with your sponsor, or the Military directory for the best contact info.
How Do I Request a Temporary Mailing Address?
30 days before your PCS would be a good time to reserve a mailbox. Each base will have their own temporary mailbox location and point of contact.
Upon arrival, temporary mailboxes can be reserved for 90 days, and they can be extended by request.
>Each base has a post office, and Oahu’s Military Directory (808.449.7110) provides a great source of information for your needs.
Where do I find out info about Medical?
Hospital functions have almost all been moved to Triple Army Medical Center:
Address: Jarrett White Rd Honolulu, HI 96859
Online Appointments: www.tricareonline.com
24-Hour Nurses’ Line: 1-800 TRICARE (874.2273)
MetLife Dental: 1-855-638-8371 (CONUS) / 1.855.638.8372 (OCONUS)
Schofield Acute Care Clinic: (808.433.8850) ***The Acute Care Clinic is on the first floor of Building 684 of the Schofield Barracks Health Clinic. Access is via the ACC front door facing Waianae Avenue.***
Tripler Army Medical Contact Info:
- Center Emergency Room: 808.433.6629
- Central Appointments: 808.433.6661
- Drop-In Care: 808.433.3270
- United Healthcare: 877.988.9378
What about the Kid’s School?
The Hawaii State Department of Education works hard to smooth the transition for military families who enroll their children in Hawaii’s public schools.
GreatSchools.org is a great resource that will quickly acquaint you with school ratings and performance.
If you’d like to find a private or parochial school, click here. There are a number of summer camps listed.
There are many schools and after school programs as well.
Can I HomeSchool The Kids?
There are many homeschooling communities, active and flourishing all over the island. Oahu is a close community, the groups are welcoming and helpful.
Here’s a search from Google on Home School Groups
The Big Decision: Should We Stay In Base Housing, Rent, or Consider Buying?
Moving On Base
I’d Like to Rent Off Base
I’m Interested In Purchasing a Home, but Have Some Concerns!
Not interested in losing your BAH to on-base housing or rental landlords? Then, Buying a home on Oahu just might be the option for you.
The ideal time to buy a home is upon your first PCS arrival into Oahu.
Military members and their families are provided 8 days of “house hunting” and up to 60 days of Temporary Housing Allowance (TLA) to look for and purchase a home.
Considering it takes 45-60 days to “close an escrow” (purchase a home), this is exactly the right amount of time to get into an island home. There are a couple of local lenders who can close in less than 45 days (as quick as 28-30 days). If you need a recommendation, let me know.
The biggest question I get. Will my home appreciate?
The median price of a home on Oahu in 1985 was $158,600. In July 2015, the median price of a house was $710,000. In June, 2017, it increased to $795,000! Source: Honolulu Board of Realtors.
The military has a very strong presence on Oahu. Due to its presence in the Pacific, that is not going to change any time soon. Approximately 30% (thirty percent) of the island is VA-eligible.
Will My VA Loan Cover The House?
Oahu’s current VA loan benefit limit is set at $721,050.
This means if you are pre-approved for a VA loan, a veteran can buy a home at 0% down up to $721,050; as opposed to a Conventional 3-20%+ down loan non-veterans are subject to when buying a home.
Already used your VA loan in another location? You’ll be surprised to find out you most likely have enough of the loan left to use the rest of your VA loan on Oahu.
Remember, that a requirement of using a VA loan is the buyer(s) must live in the home for at least 1 year immediately after closing.
Given the size of the mortgage, another key benefit to using a VA loan include is not having to pay Mortgage Insurance, lower interest rates, and lower credit score requirements.
VA loans can also be used to purchase multi-family properties (as long as you live there).
It is important to keep in mind when looking to use a VA loan, strict condition requirements must be followed. Homes need to be in good condition (no fixer uppers) and only have permitted work done on them.
Any unpermitted improvements causing a property to not match tax records will negate the use of the VA loan. This is to help make sure the veteran is buying a safely built and permitted home.
The VA does not want to see veterans hit with home repair costs. They want the transition to home ownership to be as stress-free as possible.
When it comes to VA loans, closing costs can be negotiated and sometimes covered by a lender. Generally, buyers will need 2% of the loan amount to pay for closing costs, appraisal, home inspection, taxes, and fees, and other costs.
I do have a few “preferred” contacts that I work with, and would like to talk with you to make sure I’m putting you into the best situation as possible. Contact me for more information on how you can take advantage of your VA loan benefit.
Where Are “The Best” Places To Live Off Base?
How Long Will The Commute Be?
Additional Resources To Speed You On Your Way!
Mahalo nui loa!
I hope this guide was helpful in preparing you and your family for your upcoming PCS.
If you have any further questions about PCS’ing to Oahu, HI, are interested in exploring your island home options, please contact me for an easy conversation.