As a military family, you know that moving is part of the job. It can be a challenge, though, especially when you own a home. To help ensure that you don't break the bank when finding your new home, here are four tips from the pros.
Work With a Specialist. Rather than using any real estate agent, look for one with experience helping military families face their unique home ownership challenges. If there's a base nearby, the chances are that you'll find sufficient real estate agents with a working knowledge of the PCS process and housing options both on and off base. In addition, you may want to look for an agent who possesses a special certification as a Military Relocation Professional.
Assess All Options. Deciding between living on-base and off-base can have many facets, so consider all your off-base housing options before deciding. Living off-base may make having guests easier, but it may lack some of the secure community features of being behind the gates. Work with your real estate agent to research the costs of both living options and compare them to your budget and stipends. Depending on the property market in the surrounding area, you may find that one option makes more financial sense than the other.
Avoid Extra Work. Finding a house in your budget range may mean settling for one that needs some work. But, try to avoid taking on a home that needs extensive remodeling, updating, or landscape work. Because most military families are busy and may have one person gone much of the time, starting a big project in the home may be a recipe for both physical and financial stress. Be realistic in your assessment of what renovations you're willing to take on.
Consider an Investment. If you own a home, the natural assumption is that you will sell when your station changes. However, you may want to consider whether it's a good investment to keep that house and use it as a source of passive rental income. Military families understand the needs and wants of other military families, and being a landlord to others who serve can be a natural way into the landlord business. As you consider homes in your new area, you may want to look for features that will make a good future rental, such as easy access to the base and to schools.
By applying one or more of these tips as you plan your move and your house-hunting, you can help ensure the smoothest transition and the least financials stress for the entire family.