Just received a PCS to Fort Shafter or Schofield Barracks? Congrats and welcome to O’ahu! You’re about to be living a life of swaying palms, lush tropical forest, breathtaking mountains, and stunning turquoise waters! But moving to Hawaii isn’t quite like moving anywhere else in the US, so start planning for your relocation now! Here’s what you need to know about military relocation to Fort Shafter or Schofield Barracks.
Things to Know About Relocation to Fort Shafter and Schofield Barracks
Fort Shafter is the headquarters for the US Army, Pacific. Schofield Barracks is home to the 25th Infantry Division of the Army. Both are located in Central O’ahu and provide options for on-base and off-base housing. Here’s what you need to do and know to make your PCS as seamless as possible.
Shipping Household Goods
You can’t just pack up a UHaul or moving truck when relocating to Hawaii. Household goods must be shipped, which can get a little tricky. Consider carefully what you’ll need to bring with you, and what can likely be replaced upon arrival. Additionally, service members are allowed an “express shipment” of a small collection of household goods that arrives before the regular shipment, which is good for clothes, kitchen items, and small appliances.
Relocating to Hawaii with Pets
Unfortunately, bringing a pet to Hawaii can be a bit of a headache if you don’t plan ahead of time. Because Hawaii is rabies-free, any pet relocating to the state is required to have current vaccines and a full bill of health. Be sure to research specific requirements for your pet and talk to your vet. Pets that don’t meet the 5 Day or Less Program requirements will be required to be kept in quarantine for 120 days.
Shipping Vehicles to Hawaii
The military will pay for you to ship one vehicle to Hawaii. If you would like to pay out of pocket to ship an additional vehicle, use the PCS POV to find the nearest Vehicle Processing Center. Be aware that it typically costs upwards of $1,000 to ship a vehicle and can take weeks to arrive.
Enrolling Children in School
Talk to your School Liaison Officer to learn more about the schooling options available in the area. You’ll be able to choose from great public, private, and charter schools, and talking to your SLO can help you determine which option is best for your child.
Finding Temporary Housing
One of the most important steps you’ll take is finding a place to live. Upon arrival, you’ll report to your housing office, where you’ll then be directed to on or off-base temporary lodging. Depending on availability, you may be authorized for TLA, but make sure you find a TLA-approved hotel so you don’t end up paying out of pocket. If you have pets, make sure you find pet-friendly housing, like the Inn at Schofield Barracks.
Finding Permanent Military Housing on O’ahu
You may be considering on-base housing, but be aware that wait lists are typically quite long, and while there is some new housing available, a lot of it is pretty old and out of date. You’ll also lose your BAH when you live on-base.
Because of this, many service members choose to live off-base in a nearby town. You’ll find a lot of great housing options nearby in towns like Wahiawa, Mililani, Aiea, and Pearl City. Other great communities in the area are Ewa Beach, Kapoli, and Honolulu—but commutes can be a bit longer and more congested.
Contact a Realtor Right Away to Buy Your PCS Home on O’ahu
Want to put your BAH towards good use? If your PCS will last at least 3 years, consider buying a home on O’ahu. Enjoy low interest rates and as little as $0 down with a VA loan, and use your BAH to build equity. And because the Hawaii market is on the rise, when it’s time to relocate again, you’re pretty likely to make more than a few dollars on your sale.
Make sure you work with an O’ahu realtor with plenty of experience working with VA loans and military service members. And be sure to contact your realtor well before your move—you’re only allowed 8 days of “house hunting” to find the right place.
Relocating to Schofield Barracks or Fort Shafter and Buying a Home?
If you’re planning to buy a home near an O’ahu military base, then it’s time to contact RE/MAX Honolulu. We have extensive experience working with military service members and can help you learn more about the area, find the right location, and discover the perfect home for sale.