A Buying a House Checklist for Your Next Military Move

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buying a house checklist while in the military

Given that the average student in a military family makes six to nine school changes in the course of their school career, it’s clear that military families move three times as often as civilians.

Moving is stressful, but if you’re an active duty member of the U.S. military, you know that it’s an expectation that comes with the job. With the right “buying a house” checklist, you could save time and money during your next military move.

Whether you’re stationed in the U.S. or abroad, you might consider purchasing a house with each move to help ensure your family feels continuity and stability wherever you relocate. Make sure these items are on your “buying a house” checklist.

1. Affordability

Obviously, your home should be within your means. To ensure that you can afford to rent at your next location while you sell your last home, find a rental that is below your means. You could be paying rent for several months while you still have an active mortgage. Even before your home is sold, however, look at the various neighborhoods and get an idea of housing prices so you know what to expect before you start shopping.

Affordability means that you can also see a return on your home price if you’ve made any improvements or the home’s value has appreciated. Therefore, you might find that you can get more home for your money if you’re willing to purchase one that needs a little TLC while increasing the chance of a bigger return when you sell in a few years.

2. Pick the Right Mortgage

Military personnel can qualify for different types of mortgages, giving you more financing options. For instance, you can apply for a VA loan while you’re still on active duty.

VA loans can offer better interest rates than traditional commercial loans. If you have a good credit score and enough for a down payment, then you could be in great shape. Plus, VA loans often require less of a down payment than traditional fixed-rate loans.

There are even companies who specialize in handing out mortgages to people with VA loans. Be sure to ask any questions about the financing, particularly the payment structure, length of the loan, and if there are any conditions your future home needs to meet to qualify.

3. Know the Rental Market

If you suspect you could be moving frequently, get to know the rental market before you purchase. When the homes are overvalued, you could pay less in rent than you would if you purchased a home. Undervalued homes mean that buying could be a great way to earn extra income by renting the home out after you leave.

Timing also matters when buying or renting in a new market. While you might not be able to control when you get reassigned, you may be able to wait to purchase and thus, take advantage of the market’s timing to get the best deal on your home.

4. Have an Emergency Fund

Extra money is essential to any family. You will need some funds to pay for hotels, transportation, moving fees, and rent in your new city or town. Make sure you have enough to pay for essentials for three months before you begin any transition.

While you might not know when you’re going to be reassigned, by making your emergency fund a priority, you can be ready to transition at a moment’s notice without financial stress.

Buying A House Checklist Depends on Savings

Depending on what kind of savings and assets you have, you could have a slightly different checklist. It’ll also change depending on whether or not your spouse also has a military career. Coordinating takes time and patience, but most partners know what they signed up for.

If you ‘re looking for more ideas on how to buy, sell, or refinance your home, contact us for more tips.

We at 7th Level Mortgage are an experienced team of mortgage professionals based out of New Jersey and serving the east coast from Pennsylvania to Florida including Delaware and Maryland. We have won numerous awards for our excellent professional work and reputation with clients for being extremely diligent, accessible and hands-on throughout the entire mortgage process.