Buying a new home is a daunting task for anyone, and if you recently retired from active duty in the military or are looking at civilian housing for the first time for any other reason, it can be especially intimidating. However, with proper planning, preparation and understanding of the process, you can easily glide through purchasing your first civilian home.
Follow these tips as you embark on your homebuying journey:
Determine Why You Want a Home
Depending on your situation, investing in a new home may or may not be the best decision for you and your family. Money Crashers noted you should consider a number of factors before settling on a final decision. If you are still in the military, housing on base may be a better and more affordable option. However, if you are stationed somewhere more exotic, like Germany or Hawaii, it may be worthwhile to purchase a home off-base and immerse yourself in the culture.
If you have retired from the military, you will also want to weigh your options. Because it is such a substantial purchase, you will likely want to only buy a house if you are prepared for the investment. You may want to consider some of the following factors:
- Tax benefits
- Current market conditions
- Eligibility for a loan through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
In addition, Kiplinger magazine noted you’ll want to only spend about 30 percent of your income on housing. This includes homeowners insurance and maintenance.
Know your VA Home Loan Eligibility
When going to a lender to discuss applying for a mortgage, you want to check ahead and see if they offer VA home loans. Before heading to the lender, you will also want to ensure you are familiar with the requirements associated with applying for a VA home loan.
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, to qualify for a VA loan, you must be an eligible veteran and be able to provide the appropriate paperwork to verify your eligibility. The loan size must also match the appraised value of the property you want to invest in, and if it exceeds this amount, you will need to cover the additional costs with your own money.
Your credit score will be evaluated, and a low score will generally not be tolerated. Before applying, get your credit in shape and eliminate any outstanding debt. If you notice any inaccuracies on your credit report, contact a credit repair service to have these items removed.
Partner with a Professional
Finding a house that meets your needs can be a difficult process if you do it on your own. Find a professional real estate agent to work with and build a relationship with this individual to ensure you find the best house for you and your family.
Only select an agent who specializes in the region you are searching for a house, as his or her expertise in this area will be invaluable. In addition, real estate agents have access to a substantially larger network of other professionals who know of available houses on the market. By partnering with someone who can access this inventory quickly, you and your family stand a better chance of finding a home that meets all of your needs.
Know What You Want
There are a plethora of different types of neighborhoods, styles of homes and locations for available real estate across the country. It is difficult to find a home if you do not determine what you want in a house ahead of time.
Sit down with your partner and make a list in order of importance. If you create these lists separately and compare them afterward, it may help you hone in on exactly what you want in a property.
Make sure you consider school districts, distance from work and local establishments, such as grocery stores and other essential shopping options. When you settle on your final wish list, walk around the neighborhoods of each home you are considering and get a feel for the atmosphere. If something does not align with your list, eliminate this prospective home.
Make the Move Easier
Whether you are moving across the globe or across the street, packing up and heading to a new home is always stressful. Don’t make it harder on yourself by not planning ahead for this critical part of investing in a new home.
Hire professional movers to pack up and deliver all of your belongings. If there are some items you want to move yourself for fear of losing or breaking them, rent a storage unit to keep these possessions safe during all the hubbub of relocation.
SecurCare Self Storage is proud to serve military service members and veterans. Head to one of our many storage locations across the U.S. and ask about our military discount to make your move to a new home a little easier.