DITY vs. Government Moves: Which Is Better for Military Homebuyers?

Posted by Lauren Schneider on Friday, October 15th, 2021 at 7:37am.

Which Is Better: DITY or Government MoveOne of the few certainties in military life is frequent moves, often with little notice. When it comes time to go to a new location, many military members will choose between having the government handle the move or doing it themselves. Many are drawn to a do-it-yourself (DITY) move because the government will pay you to handle the move yourself. But, the move itself can be complicated, and there are many potential drawbacks to consider. Keep reading to compare and contrast DITY moves and government moves.

Things to Know About DITY

Do-it-yourself (DITY) moves are now known as personally procured moves (PPM). However, DITY is still used colloquially. Many people are drawn to the idea of managing their move because they think that, financially, they'll come out ahead.

This can be true for some. However, it's essential to know that reimbursement rates for moves fell in April 2010. This is the year that the armed forces switched to the Defense Personal Property System. This new system involved moving companies bidding competitively for government business, which dropped the cost of moves.

The government will only pay a member up to the government's cost to make the move. If the military member can do the job more affordably, they'll come out ahead. But, many find that they can't beat the price offered through official channels. Programs like Military on the Move provide extra assistance when moving.

Things to Consider in a DITY

There are several steps to take to ensure a smooth DITY move. The first step toward a DITY is to create a Form 2278. This form shows an estimate of how much the service member will be paid for the move. The total is based on a weight provided by the service member. If you are unsure of your total, ask a counselor at the personal property office what your weight was during your last move.

Estimating correctly is essential. You won't get extra money if you are wrong. And, if you overestimate, the government will want their excess funds back.

Contact outside movers to see if you can make a move for the same or less than the government rate. You can save a lot by packing items yourself and selling or giving away large items like couches. Downsizing for a military move can be helpful too.

Government moves can often take a great deal of time, particularly in peak moving season. You may be able to move more quickly if you manage the activity yourself.

DITY can be a good deal for people who are highly organized. You will likely have to book many services individually, especially if you use shipping containers to move items overseas.

Times a Government Move Might Be Better

The good news about a government move is that it is all handled for you. This can be a boon when you are moving in a hurry. It also takes out the financial uncertainty. If you are paying several different parties to handle your move yourself, you can over or underestimate. Having the government control the move allows you to avoid dealing with those details.

A government move may be a better idea if you are not sure how you would handle any hitches. For instance, a delayed truck can mean not having people there to unload when you need them when doing DITY. If you don't like handling paperwork and records, a government move can also be easier here.

So Is a DITY Move Better Than a Government Move?

There is no correct answer to whether it is better to move yourself or opt for a government move. Do some calculations based on what you think your reimbursement will be. Make sure you can get all forms in on time to get your funds. If you are doing a DITY, have backup plans if something goes wrong with any part of your moving.

Some people like the flexibility and the potential for extra money that a DITY provides. Others want the security and lower effort of a government move. By considering all of the factors that affect each, you can choose the one that works best for you.

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