When you are in the military, you often spend the first year or so moving around and participating in various training sessions at various camps and barracks. But then, you may settle down in the same place for a couple of years, and it is at this point that you might want to buy your first home. Doing so is often more affordable than renting an apartment, and it definitely gives you more freedom than living on base. Here are a few tips to follow in order to ensure your first military home purchase is a positive, rewarding, and responsible endeavor.
1. Take advantage of VA loans.
As an active member of the military, you are eligible for a type of mortgage backed by the VA. This type of mortgage has lower credit score requirements than a conventional mortgage and typically does not require a down payment, which could enable you to buy a home sooner. Most big lenders do offer VA mortgages, so you can apply to a few lenders and see where you get the best rate.
2. Look in a military area.
Most people want to live close to base, so there's a good chance that there are a lot of homes near base that are being sold by fellow members of the military. It's nice to buy from another military member when you can. They will be more understanding if your purchasing timeline gets changed due to orders or work-related endeavors.
3. Work with a real estate agent who is used to working with military members.
Ask around base to see who other homeowners have used as a realtor. There may be some veterans who now do this as a career. The closer the real estate agent is to the military, the better. They will be better equipped to work with you if you have to do some of the paperwork remotely, move appointments due to duties on base, and the like.
4. Don't overbuy.
Remember that this is your first home, and that as someone in the military, it is not a question if you will move again, but when. Spend less than you think you can afford. The extra money will come in handy when decorating the house and fixing things up. Later on, when your career advances, you can spend more on a bigger, better home. For now, focus on keeping things well within budget.
With the tips above, your first home purchase as a military member is sure to be a responsible one.