PCS to Hawaii: The 2021 Ultimate Guide

First and foremost, begin planning as soon as you receive your PCS orders to Hawaii! Following the issuance of PCS orders, each military member will be assigned a sponsor who will offer information about relocating to your new base. Aloha! First and foremost, aloha means hello and goodbye, mahalo means thank you, and you’ll need to learn how to throw the shaka to show your aloha spirit. Because the Hawaiian islands, the most populous of which is Oahu, are located in the midst of the Pacific Ocean. The majority of Hawaii’s military troops are stationed on this tropical island, which has seven military sites.

Moving Household Goods During PCS

Determine what household items will accompany you to Oahu and what will be left behind while arranging your relocation, as living space in Hawaii is severely limited. A three-bedroom, two-bathroom house typically has a living area of about 1,500 square feet. To assist with stay-or-go decisions, use Move.mil’s calculation calculator to estimate the weight of your HHG (approximately 1,500 pounds per room excluding bathrooms and storage area). Before the movers arrive, take inventory of everything you own. If you’re transporting high-value products, consider increasing your insurance coverage. For missing or damaged property, the moving firm pays a certain sum. Items in transportation may be covered by private insurance providers, your moving company, or your homeowner’s policy.

Temporary Housing Allowance (TLA) Approved Army Hotels

Newcomers must report to their housing office within 72 hours of their arrival. You will be routed to on-base or off-base temporary accommodation by the housing office. There’s a possibility you’ll be approved for TLA, which may last anywhere from 30 to 60 days depending on on-base lodging availability. Obtain authority to check into a TLA-approved hotel by receiving a TLA “Non-Availability” letter prior to making any reservation at a TLA-approved hotel. The following is a current list of TLA-approved hotels and prices in Oahu. If you make a contract to buy any island house or condo off base, newcomers will need to present documents to the housing office as proof of your home search and current escrow.

Shipping Your Personally Owned Vehicles to Hawaii

Military personnel are allowed to transport one POV at no cost. You may anticipate to pay around $1,000 in transport expenses to Hawaii from ports on the West Coast. Transport might take anywhere from two weeks to a month, depending on when the cargo ship leaves port. When you arrive on the island, contact Horizon Lines’ Vehicle Processing Center to schedule a pickup. Visit the supplied link for further information about car turn in, checkout, or in-transit visibility. Horizon Lines Terminal (0730-1630): 855.389.9499 1601 Sand Island Parkway Pier 51-B Honolulu, HI 96819-4357

Registering Your Vehicle in Hawaii

Within the first 30 days of their arrival, newcomers must register their car with the Hawaii Department of Motor Vehicle Registration. Visit the Department of Motor Vehicles’ Information homepage for further information. For each registration, renewal, or transfer transaction, non-resident active duty military personnel must present a fully completed Non-Resident Certificate, Form CS-L (MVR) 50*. Your military personnel office or unit can provide you with Form CS-L (MVR) 50 and Form CS-L (MVR) 50A. Passing the Hawaii State Safety Inspection is required for vehicle registration clearance. This may be done at a few auto-garages on the island of Oahu. To ensure that an auto-garage can do a Safety Inspection, give them a call. After you’ve passed, you’ll be able to register your vehicle.

Requesting a Temporary Mailing Address in Hawaii

Temporary mailboxes can be rented for 90 days upon arrival and can be extended upon request. It’s a good idea to reserve a mailbox 30 days before your PCS. Every base will have its own temporary mailbox and contact point. Please contact your respective base’s post office for temporary mailbox information and set up using Oahu’s Military Directory (808.449.7110).

PCS Resources in Hawaii

Medical Resources for Military PCS in Hawaii Hospital functions have nearly all been consolidated to Triple Army Medical Center: Address: Jarrett White Rd Honolulu, HI 96859Online Appointments: www.tricareonline.com 24-Hour Nurses’ Line: 1-800 TRICARE (874.2273) All Medical/Dental: www.tricare.mil MetLife Dental: 1-855-638-8371 (CONUS) / 1.855.638.8372 (OCONUS) Schofield Acute Care Clinic: (808.433.8850) ***The Acute Care Clinic is located 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: Center Emergency Room: 808.433.6629 Central Appointments: 808.433.6661 Drop-In Care: 808.433.3270 United Healthcare: 877.988.9378 Schools for Military PCS in Hawaii The Hawaii State Department of Education works hard to smooth the transition for military families who enroll their children in Hawaii’s public schools. School enrollment requirements, zone maps, and FAQ can be found online. It’s also recommended that you contact your current and destination SLO (School Liaison Officer) to assist with the transition.

Housing: Base Housing, Rentals, & Home Buying

Newcomers and their families have 3 options to consider when moving to Oahu. They can either move on base, rent, or purchase.

Moving On Base

The base housing you’ll be allocated to will be determined by the base you’re assigned to. When you contact each service’s housing office, they will be able to connect you with available vacancies at the time of your request. Moving on base, however, will take away all or most of your military Base Housing Allowance (BAH). For current housing office contact information, contact your sponsor or consult the military directory.

Renting Off Base

If you determine that living on base is not for you, you can rent. When you move off base, you will get a considerable amount of military BAH based on your grade and dependent status. BAH is designed to help people afford market-rate housing by providing a monthly allowance that allows them to live comfortably in their community (https://solanagrover.com/hawaii-cost-of-living-in-2021/). In actuality, BAH is based on rent averages in the local region.

Purchasing a Home

Don’t want to give up your military BAH to on-base housing or landlords? Purchasing a property on Oahu may be the best option for you. The greatest time to buy a house is when you arrive on Oahu for your first PCS assignment. Military personnel and their families are given eight days of “house shopping” and up to 60 days of Temporary Housing Allowance (TLA) to seek for and buy a property. Given that “closing an escrow” (purchasing a house) takes 45-60 days, this is the ideal length of time to move into an island home.

Using Your VA Loan Entitlement

The VA loan benefit maximum on Oahu is currently set at $721,050. This implies if pre-approved for a VA loan, a veteran may buy a home for 0 percent down up to $721,050; as compared to a Conventional 3-20 percent Plus down loan non-veterans are liable to when buying a property. If you’ve previously used your VA loan in another area, you’ll be shocked to find that you most likely have enough of the loan remaining to utilize the balance of your VA loan on Oahu. The sole criterion for usage of the VA loan is the buyer(s) must dwell in the home for at least 1 year immediately after closing.

Other advantages of a VA loan include the elimination of Mortgage Insurance, lower interest rates, and fewer credit score requirements. Multi-family properties can also be purchased with a VA loan. It is crucial to bear in mind when seeking to utilize a VA loan, rigorous condition standards must be met, properties need to be in good condition (no fixer-uppers) and only have allowed work done on them. Any unpermitted renovations causing a property to not match tax records may invalidate the utilization of the VA loan. This is to ensure that the veteran is purchasing a home that is properly constructed and licensed.

Closing costs on VA loans can be negotiated and sometimes covered by the lender. However, in general, purchasers will require 2 percent of the loan amount to pay for closing expenses, appraisal, house inspection, taxes, and fees, etc.

Recommended Neighborhoods in Hawaii

Hawaii is a highly desired destination with many great neighborhoods. The most affordable and new off base housing options exist on the Westside or “Leeward” of the island.

Ewa Beach Hawaii is a sprawling suburb of Honolulu, making it a desirable place for young families to live. It is one of the only communities where you can find new homes in Oahu for a reasonable price by Hawai’i’s standards. Some of the best neighborhoods in the Ewa Beach area are:

  • Hoopili
  • Ocean Pointe
  • Hoakalei 

Check out our MLS tools to analyze current housing inventory for your regions of interest using the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) tool to see what houses are for sale right now.

Traveling into and out of Honolulu might take up to two hours if you live on the Leeward side of the island. Commuting in a traffic bottleneck on the windward side takes about 40 minutes to an hour. It might take 45 minutes to an hour to get from the North Shore to Honolulu. If you work unusual hours, you may be able to avoid getting trapped in traffic for lengthy periods of time. Commutes into Honolulu from the Leeward and Windward sides can take as little as 30 minutes outside of rush hour.

When the new train system opens at the end of the decade, another mode of transit will be accessible. The rail line will run from Kapolei to Ala Moana Mall, starting at Kapolei and ending at Ala Moana Mall. 

Make This The Best Move of Your Life!

I hope you and your family found this information useful in preparing for your impending PCS to Hawaii. Please contact us if you have any further questions regarding PCSing to Oahu, HI, or if you’d like to discuss your island property purchase or sale alternatives.

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