Buying a Military Home
for Sale by Owner

For any member of the military, finding a home that fits both your financial requirements and family size is very important. Lucky for you, the government has set up all kinds of special options and preventions that help ensure you get the best deals possible.

Housing Costs and Financing for Military Homes

When purchasing a home during or after serving the military, you’re able to work with the Military Housing Assistance Fund to help get great deals on homes!

When it comes to the military and mortgages, the VA offers two main options. This includes the adjustable rate mortgage and the VA Hybrid Adjustable Rate Mortgage Loan.

An Adjustable Rate Mortgage has an interest amount that will gradually increase throughout the duration of the loan. The VA Hybrid Adjustable Rate Mortgage Loan is a loan that will gradually increase based off of economic factors.

VA loans offer many benefits that make things more affordable, including:

  • No down payment
  • No insurance for the mortgage
  • Closing cost limitations
  • Lower average interest and blockages

To receive these loans, there are a few requirements you must meet, despite being in service. You must be on active duty for a minimum of 90 days during wartime, 191 consecutive days during peacetime, or 6+ years in reserves or national guard. Additionally, if you’re the spouse of someone who died in service, or as a result of a service-related injury, you may also be eligible to receive a VA loan.

Paying For Housing

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The monthly housing allowance that some active-duty members receive can actually be used to qualify for a home loan! This is because lenders can regard it as Basic Allowance for Housing, which can help individuals switch from merely renting, to owning property!

Basic Allowance for Housing is based on a variety of factors, including one’s duty station, income amount, and family size. A BAH can change every year, seeing as these factors will likely change.

Protection Of Your Finances

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Active-duty members can face a number of financial issues, even after receiving a loan and getting a house. Due to this occurrence, several different organizations and acts have been set in place to help prevent further degradation. Such things include:

● Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act deals primarily with interest rates, income tax payments, foreclosure, and eviction. For a house to foreclosed to someone in active-duty, a court order must be obtained to do so.

● Veterans Affairs (VA)

This organization seeks to help both active-duty members and veterans avoid foreclosure working both with them, as well as with lenders.

Looking Through Your Options

Before finalizing on any deals, you’ll need to fully understand that buying a home is a long-term deal. If you aren’t quite ready, or are unable to find a home that fully fits your financial and family needs, it is okay to continue renting until you do!

Searching for homes nearby military bases

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Offered online are several websites that help military members find homes near bases. The difficult part isn’t finding a home, but rather finding a home that fits all of your needs and requirements. Before you even begin narrowing down on homes, you’ll want to determine whether or not your credit score is in good enough standing to be purchasing a house. If your credit score isn’t the best, don’t worry too much about it. You can always pay a bit more in the down payment and still be approved for buying or renting.

After establishing your credit score, you’ll need to continue your searching. Some things to look into include:

● Price comparisons

To be able to determine whether or not you’re getting a good deal on a house, you’ll want to look into the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). The CMA bases comparisons off of location, amenities, and square footage.

● Finding the Best Prices

A home price that fits best for you is dependent upon your income, as well as your saved money and how much you’re able to get in loans.

● Home Loans

When dealing with loans, you should get in contact with Veterans Affairs to see how much you’re eligible for.

● Open Houses

After compiling a list of homes you like, you will want to begin attending open houses to determine which you like best in person. You should choose which appears to offer the most for what it’s worth.

Renting a Home Near a Base Vs. Buying

Deciding between renting and buying really just depends on how long you intend on staying. If you could potentially have a base relocation, it would be imperative to rent. Additionally, if you have a spouse that works elsewhere or kids that are in need of attending a particular school, you should rent.

However, if you know that you’re going to be staying long term, and you’re financially fit to do so, you should look into buying.

Making Your Offer

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Upon finding a home you like, you will need to make an offer in regard to the closing cost. There may be many people making bids, so you will want to make yourself stand out amongst competitors.

Some ways you can do this include sending personalized letters to the owners, as well as scheduling a private home-tour with specific questions about the property.

The Renting Process

If you don’t have all of the monetary assets you need to buy a home, or you know that you will be relocating soon, you should consider renting out a place for a while.

Listed below are all of the renting steps, as well as what is needed for each of them.

1. Application

The application is what needs to be done before you’re even considered for approval. Some things it may require includes personal identification, pet preferences, proof of income, and possibly even reference letters.

2. Credit Check

Credit checks are run help a landlord determine whether or not you’ll bed a reliable tenant. If your credit score is slacking, you may just have to pay a heavier down payment.

3. Background Check

Every possible tenant must undergo a background check to ensure the safety of the building.

Seeing as you must also pass a background check to enlist in the military, you’re likely already good to go.

4. Cosigning

Depending on your credit, as well as where you’re looking to live, you will need to find someone to cosign with you. This is essentially just someone who helps ensure that you will pay your rent on time.

This person will need to have a very good credit score, especially if you do not have one yourself.

5. Lease

Before committing to any place, it is imperative that you truly read your lease requirements. Additionally, you will need to think carefully about how long you sign your lease for. You need to make sure that you won’t be deployed or relocated in that time period.

6. Utilities

The cost of included utilities is not always reflected in the rent owed, so you may end up owing a lot more. You need to look into all of the utilities offered so that you can better decide whether or not a certain living location is worth paying for.

Common utilities include wifi, cable, water, electricity, and garbage collection and disposal.

7. Amenities

Typically, rent will be higher or lower depending on the type of amenities the property comes with. You should look into all of the amenities to determine whether or not the cost you may potentially pay is worth it.

Such amenities include covered parking, kitchen appliances, laundry services, and recreational areas offered.

8. Payment

Finally, you will need to look into the cost of rent, as well as the ways that you’re able to pay it. If the monthly cost requires more than what it’s worth, you should look elsewhere. Additionally, if you’re unable to pay rent in the way that the landlord or leasing office requires (such as check or online) you will need to continue on with your search.

Exploring the Neighborhood

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Throughout your home buying or renting search, you should be checking out the surrounding areas as well. This is especially important if you have family that is going to be living in the house a majority of the time while you are deployed.

If you have kids, or even a spouse, that is attending any level of school, you should look at homes in areas that offer them. Additionally, if you have much younger children, you should around in areas that have adequate daycares.

Some other aspects of a neighborhood that you may want to look into include neighbors, grocery stores, recreational areas, gyms, malls, and any other facilities you feel as though might play a frequent role in your life. It is also important to look into nearby repair and renovation services for future reference!

Furniture and Amenities

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Another important aspect of buying or renting property is the furnishing it comes with. If you are likely to be relocated soon, it may be wise to look into homes that are furnished. If you are not able to find fully furnished homes, but have too big of a family to live in an apartment, there is another option.

On average, a military moves about every three years. This means that you will have to pack and unpack several times throughout someone's enlistment. To make things run more smoothly, you will want to purchase durable items that can withstand a little roughhousing.

Renting Out Your Military Home

Sometimes while you’re in service, you get deployed or relocated. If this happens, and you’re renting out your place, you have one of two options. You can either try to break your lease, or sublet.

Subletting is the process of subleasing a property to someone else under your lease. Before you decide to do this though, you should speak with your landlord to determine whether or not he is okay with it.

If you’re renting out your house, you will need to begin the process by establishing rent. This can be done by researching and understanding your local real estate market. The price should reflect a combination of utilities, amenities, furnishings, nearby attractions, and the costs of homes that neighbor yours. Truly look into each of these aspects so you don’t sell yourself short!

Over time, trends may change, so be sure to continuously check up on each factor throughout your renting journey! Raise or lower prices accordingly.

Remember to repair and renovate anything that appears to be broken or outdated. This should be done anytime before someone is going to move in. This will help get people to refer, as well as potentially help you increase your rent over time. Additionally, you should also take pictures of everything so that at the end of a sublease, you’re able to charge for any damages done.

Before you allow anyone to sign a lease, you’ll need to thoroughly look into who they are. You should create a series of relevant, personal questions, as well as meet them face to face. Additionally, you will need to look into their credit score and any eviction reports to determine whether or not they’re reliable renters. It would be advised to request reference letters, perhaps from other leasers. Viewing a proof of income will also help ensure that they will be able to make installments in a timely manner.

After you a suitable subtenant, you will need to lay down the law in terms of a lease agreement. It should specify all rules that need to be followed, the amount owed each month, and the consequences if any of the terms are broken. Additionally, you need to add in a military clause, which basically lets a renter know that a lease can be broken at any time due to active duty orders.

You need to make your requirements are explicitly stated so that you don’t run into any problems while you are away.

Selling Military Housing Off-Base

When it comes to selling a home, there are many steps you must take to be ready. To begin, you must make sure you have enough money to handle renovations and repairs of anything that may need to be modified.

If you decide to sell through a real estate agent, you will end up losing out on the 3% commission fee. If you decide to sell the home yourself, free of any professionals, you could end up saving thousands.

Additionally, you’ll want to give yourself as much time as possible. If you try to sell in a short amount of time, you’ll have to settle for lower prices. However, if you have a lengthy period of time to sell, you can better handle negotiations, therefore enabling yourself to earn more in end. You should look into the average time it takes for a home in your area to sell to determine how much time you should allot to yourself.

Another important aspect of home selling is the current condition of the real estate market. If the market appears to have little action, you’ll want to consider selling at a different time. The timing that which you decide to sell will have a great impact on the revenue you get in return.

Pricing Your Military Home for Sale

As you go about coming up with a selling price for your home, you’ll want to look into the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) of homes similar to yours. The CMA provides insight towards the similarities and differences of each house around the same size and value of yours, so that you’re able to develop an adequate selling price.

As you go about comparing houses, you should take note of any amenities that a house has that could potentially add to your home. Additionally, attending open-houses may give you an insight towards good home-selling techniques.

Once you’ve drafted a list of ways to improve your selling skills, as well as your home in general, you’ll need to get in contact with an inspector who will inform you of all necessary repairs needed. From there, you’ll want to go about fixing each item in order of importance.

Trends of the housing market that you may want to match include:

● Kitchen

People are more likely to spend a lot of money on homes that look very modernized. You should look into kitchen trends to establish how you could improve yours. This could be anything including islands, counters, cabinet styles, and lighting.

● Bathroom

Bathrooms are a deal breaker for many peoples final home decision. To improve yours, consider updating counters, mirrors, shower heads, and lighting to make it more desirable.

● Exterior

To help your home develop a great first impression appeal, consider renovating and fixing up the outside of your house. Pertaining to the house, look into getting a paint job and fixing up any holes and chips in the fence.

As for the yard, making sure there is a good curb appeal will help reel people in. Add some seasonal plants, simple decor, and make sure the grass is kept in pristine condition.

● Roof

Over the years, weather can wear down the quality of a roof. Before you list your home, make sure to have your roof inspected and fixed if needed.

As you go about creating a list for your home, you’ll want to emphasize all the strong points. Things to mentions include malls, grocery stores, recreational facilities, schools, and anything else you feel may draw in customers.

Maintaining and Decorating a Military Home for Sale by Owner

In order to successfully sell your home, you need to look at it in the eyes of the buyer to determine how it needs to be fixed. Additionally, you should try to remember how the house looked when you first bought it and consider what factors led you to finalize your purchase.

If you’re looking to repair your home, you should hire a professional to help you establish which ones you need. Contacting plumbers, contractors, handymen, or any other serviceman that you need would be in your best benefit.

The main goals for home selling is making the home appear as a great place to start a life in the mind of someone else. You want your customers to imagine themselves being comfortable in it. To do this, you will likely need to spend a bit of your saved up cash on repairs and modifications.

Some ways you can make your home seem more liveable include decluttering, staging furniture, and doing away with pets temporarily.

Advertising Military Homes for Sale by Owner

If you’re looking to save on those commissions fees we mentioned earlier, you should sell through websites that allow you to buy access to the MLS, such beycome.

When writing your advertisements, you should be straightforward about what exactly your selling. Lay all the facts down, while also making your home seem like a better choice compared to the others around it. To easily list your home, you may find ease doing so on classifieds such as Craigslist, or on various social media platforms.

Some offline advertisements methods you could look into include signs, posters, flyers, verbal sharing, and lawn signs.

Military Relocation Services

As you begin planning your move, whether temporary or permanent, you’ll need to look into a variety of factors to ensure that you're ready and well equipped to do so.

Several organizations, such as the Military Relocation Services, have been set in place to help the process run by much smoother.

The department of defense provides reimbursement to military members moving to help assist them. This assistance is seen in many ways.

As you’re driving to your new duty station, an allowance is set in place for transportation. Per Diem provides assistance for lodging and food throughout your travel to your new home. The DLA, or dislocation allowance, help with extra fees for permanent relocation. A Temporary Lodging Allowance, or TLA, is provided to help with temporary moving costs. Some military moving services include

Additionally, the government pays for anything you need to have shipped from one place to another, as long as it meets certain weight requirements. Baggage that is unaccompanied will usually be delivered separately upon arrival, but still remains a part of the weight limit. Some local moving services in the Miami area include

● Federal Relocation Services

● Pro Movers Miami

● International Moving and Transportation (IMT)

If you don't wish to move entirely, renting out storage units with all of your belongings while you’re undergoing active duty or relocation may save you thousands at the end of the day. Look into local storage units around either your base or the home you intend to move out of and find the one with the best deals. Some local storage services in the Miami area include

● Extra Space Storage

● Safeguard Self Storage

● Public Storage

If you do not live in the Miami area, you can yours online.

Understanding all of the options provided to you will help you go about your moving, buying, or leasing processes much more simply and safely!

Questions?

Call us at 1-844-239-2663 and we’ll help you get started on your home buying journey!