By Carla Olivo, PCSgrades Director of Strategic Communications

More than 650,000 service members make a military move to a new duty station every year. The majority, approximately 390,000, will PCS over the summer months. Nearly 40% of those are intent on buying a home according to a Defense Manpower Data Center Survey of Active Duty Spouses.

Many begin their search using social media. We’ve all seen those posts looking for a ‘military-friendly’ Realtor or the best neighborhood with the ‘good’ schools. Reaching out on Facebook or Twitter to compile information on a new duty station may get you some quick answers, but try finding that same info a week later! It really is not the best option.

WORD OF MOUTH

Military and veteran consumers are very loyal. Without the traditional roots our civilian counterparts enjoy, we depend on each other for needed information. Word of mouth marketing is never stronger than between military families making a military move. It is tradition to share information to help a military move go smoother. When those orders arrive, one of the first things we do is reach out to our military network. And that is EXACTLY what PCSgrades is – a network where military families can share trusted reviews on housing, neighborhoods, Realtors® and more!

A New Voice

This trusted third-party platform was founded and is run by fellow military members and spouses. A unique website, PCSgrades provides the Armed Forces community with a voice in the PCS process which has never existed before. More and more military and veteran families are turning to this great resource for all their relocation needs in large part because PCSgrades.com is not the same old tired Realtor network we’ve seen time and again.

Army spouse Allyson Miller says, “I believe strongly in what you are all doing at PCSgrades and I believe that the only way the moving experience is going to improve is by using our own voices to rate Realtors, moving companies, and landlords.”

Exclusive to the Military and Veteran Community

Every single review is submitted by military members, veterans, or their spouses. There is a level of trust which simply doesn’t exist anywhere else. The military and veteran consumer are significantly different than their civilian counterparts. A PCSgrades Focus Group survey shows when considering similar products and services, more than 50% of military consumers choose companies run BY and FOR military and veteran families. They value the military connection even more than price.

mil-Vet trust

‘A-Graded’ Realtors featured on PCSgrades are the most reputable and highest-rated. This is not because we “certify” them as such. This is based directly on feedback from the people the military community trusts the most – our fellow military members, veterans, and spouses.

Loyalty isn’t for Sale

Unlike other Realtor networks, Realtors can’t pay for inclusion on PCSgrades.com. Instead, all professionals and communities must first be reviewed by military and veteran families.

Realtors have the chance to proactively engage, interact, and ultimately help shape their online reputation created by their clients. This is not another unfiltered and unrestricted social media forum for disgruntled clients to rant unfairly. Reviewers have a total of 90 days to personally edit or delete their own reviews. So there is ample time for Realtors to clear up any confusion or make things right.

While any Realtor with reviews from the military community can be featured on the site, those with a veteran or spouse background are highlighted with distinctive badges.

Not only do Realtors receive instantaneous notification for every new review, but they have the ability to contact reviewers through their PCSgrades username. This allows them to thank clients for their review or begin a dialogue toward a resolution if there is a less than favorable review.

Allyson Miller says it is crucial that military families help build this review database. “The reviews we write not only benefit military families looking for some kind of reassurance during a tumultuous time but can also give credit where credit is due,” says Allyson.

Military Move Game Changers

PCSgrades members are not assigned a Realtor. Instead you can make your own selection based on reviews from your military peers. This is particularly appealing to a community which typically doesn’t have a lot of choice in the relocation process.

One final bonus…the website is completely free and has no annoying ads. Win-Win!

Carla Olivo has garnered numerous TV industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News Reporting, and Documentary Reporting. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel, and their two children.

Carla Olivo

PCSgrades Director of Strategic Communications