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How Military Families Find the Perfect Neighborhood During a PCS Move

by Julie Provost - September 6th, 2022

How Military Families Find the Perfect Neighborhood During a PCS Move

Once PCS orders have been issued, a military family begins the search for a new home, hopefully in the perfect neighborhood. Will it be on base or off base? Well, that all depends on what you are looking for. So what makes the perfect neighborhood for a military family?

Checklist for the perfect neighborhood for military families

Some military families want to live on base while others prefer living out in town. Some want a lot of space, indoors and out. Others prefer something cozier that doesn’t take as much work to keep up. Regardless of where you want to live, there are certain factors military families value most when looking for the perfect neighborhood.

Good schools

Military kids change schools often, so military families want a learning environment that not only has good ratings but also is military friendly. Moving into a neighborhood with lower ranking schools can make for a stressful school year.

Even if a military family does not have school-aged children when they first move in, schools can be important for other reasons. If they are buying a house that they plan on reselling, good schools can be a deciding factor in the home's resale value.

Friendly neighbors

We all dream of finding good neighbors that are friendly and respect your space. The perfect neighborhood has neighbors that don’t start a lot of drama and help one another. These types of neighbors are the ones that military families can depend on during deployments and who will help out in times of trouble. In most cities near a military base, there will be a mix of civilian and military families in off-base housing, while on-base housing is of course mostly other military families.

The perfect distance to a military base

Some military families don’t want a long commute so they choose to live on base or in a local neighborhood within a few miles of the base. Others want to have greater distance between them and work. They choose to live further away in civilian neighborhoods with a greater variety of housing options. The closer the neighborhood is to the military base, the more military families will usually live there. When trying to find that perfect neighborhood, a military family will need to decide how far they want to be from the military installation. There are pros and cons to both choices depending on the type of lifestyle the family is hoping to have.

Perfect neighborhood amenities for military families

In real estate, location matters! An important factor in choosing a perfect neighborhood is knowing what is nearby. From grocery stores to the doctor’s office to favorite restaurants, the stores and offices near your home can make a big difference. Some families like to be able to walk to a park or convenience store. Others don’t mind driving further if that gives them more land and space.

From the amount of trees to the age and style of homes, the way a neighborhood looks is also important to military families. If a family is looking on base, they might not have as much choice as for the type of home. But those looking at off-base housing have a choice. You can search for the perfect neighborhood with sidewalks or walking trails, playgrounds, sports courts, and cul de sacs.

Military families can research potential neighborhoods and decide if it has the amenities and style that make it a perfect neighborhood for them.

Safe neighborhoods are important to military families

Safety is a big concern for military families. With service members spending time away, spouses and children need to feel secure in their home. This is one reason some people prefer to live on base-- it's the ultimate "gated community." Military families can check the crime rates for their new city and talk to some of the residents in order to get a feel for how safe the area is. Driving by at night is also a good idea. This can give someone an idea of how safe the neighborhood is and what nighttime in the area is like.

Finding the “perfect” neighborhood can seem daunting for military families with PCS orders. Thankfully, PCSgrades is here to help! We have honest reviews of on-base and off-base neighborhoods, all left by fellow military families like yours. Our Area Guides can give you important details about the housing local to your next military base. And our military-friendly real estate agents can help you find the perfect neighborhood for your next home!

If you have a neighborhood you just love, please help fellow military families and submit a neighborhood review at

Julie Provost

Julie Provost is the freelance blogger behind Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life. She enjoys life in Tennessee with her husband, a National Guard soldier, and their three boys. Julie enjoys blogging, reading, photography and a good cup of coffee. You can follow her on Twitter @SoldiersWifeCL.