June 23, 2017

3 Home Buying Tips for Military Families

Homeownership is very important to military families. Not only is it a vital part of the traditional American Dream, it’s also a way to fortify your community, create jobs, and strengthen local businesses—all the things our military personnel fight for every day! This may be why homeownership among veterans is one of the highest rates in the nation—82% of veterans own homes, per the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Whether you are a veteran, an officer, or active duty, homeownership is something you likely want and definitely deserve. If you’re thinking of buying a home, there are several key factors unique to military families which you’ll need to consider. Here the top three.  

Location, Location, Location  

This is the one aspect of your home you’ll never be able to change. Remember, you’re not just buying a home—you’re buying a neighborhood and a community! To ensure that your home is in the best location possible, consider the following things:

School districts. If you have or plan to have children, check out the local districts and make sure they’re rated highly. This will help ensure that the generation you’re raising has every advantage you can give them.

Commute. You’ll need to work to pay off your home, and you don’t want to spend most your free time driving back and forth. Instead, choose a location within a few miles of your employer. If you’re stationed at Camp Lejeune, for example, The Preserve at Tidewater is just a fifteen-minute drive away—not bad at all!

Resale value. Whether you’re buying a starter home or plan to stay put for ten years, most people eventually sell their homes. Make sure your home appeals to more than just military personnel by buying a home that could fit a variety of lifestyles. Safe neighborhoods, strong communities, and areas with a lot of natural beauty (such as The Preserve at Tidewater) will always fetch a higher selling price. 

Know How Much Home You Can Afford

2017 is viewed as a “seller’s market,†which means prices are a bit higher than usual. This means you may be tempted to purchase a home out of your price range, which isn’t the best idea! Before you start shopping, use a website such as Bankrate.com or Military.com for free, easy-to-use mortgage calculators that will help you figure out which price point is right for you. A good rule of thumb is to find a home that doesn’t exceed 40% of your income, including payments and insurance. We may be biased, but we suggested looking at homes at The Preserve at Tidewater, which range from a reasonable $250K to $330K.

Military Families Can Apply for a VA Loans  

One of the ways the government tries to support our veterans is through affordable VA loans. Although the Department of Veteran Affairs doesn’t lend money for VA loans, it does back loans made by banks and mortgage companies, which can be a huge help for veterans hoping to buy a home. (Note: if you’re an active-duty member of the military, you can apply for a VA loan after six months of service.) There are several benefits to getting a VA loan rather than a conventional mortgage. First, VA loans are made through private lenders and are guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, so they don’t require mortgage insurance. There’s also no minimum credit score to apply for these loans, lower closing costs, and borrowers don’t need to have a down payment, which is a huge plus.

We hope these tips help military families find the home of their dreams, and we’d be honored if you began your search at The Preserve at Tidewater! In the meantime we thank you, as always, for your service.