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It’s not uncommon for military members to buy a home when they move to a new duty station. If they retire there, great – they already have a home. If they end up moving, sometimes they will sell the home. Other times they will decide to rent out the home and treat it as an investment. Here are a few things to consider as you decide if you should buy a house in a military town.
Consideration #1: Is Your Military Town Nice?
How nice is the area you’re considering buying a house in? Is it a nice suburb where all of the homes have kept lawns, houses that stay maintained and decent cars in the driveways? Or could a lot of the homes use a little TLC and cars have seen better days?
As most military members can attest, bases are usually not built in the nicest part of town. They were built where land was inexpensive, meaning the overall cost of living is low. In a way, that’s great for you because it means you can live well. But it’s also something to consider before you drop a lot of money on a home in the area.
Keep in mind that just because an area has a lower cost of living doesn’t necessarily mean it has more crime and is more dangerous. But it might take you or your family out of your comfort zone.
Consideration #2: High Turnover
The reason why some people choose to buy real estate in military towns is the high turnover. There are always new servicemen and women moving to the area. They need a place to live, so your rental home is likely to stay occupied most of the time. Since that solves one of the biggest hurdles to owning a rental property, it makes buying in this area a great choice.
Another thing to consider is if you decide to sell your home, the high turnover means a lot of people may be on the market and ready to buy it.
The downside is that turnover at your rental property can be frustrating. Depending on the assignment and who rents your home, they may only be at that base for 2-3 years before moving on to a new station. While that’s not terrible, it’s generally nicer to have someone rent your home out longer than that.
Consideration #3: Long Distance Selling or Managing
What happens if you have to move to a new assignment before the house sells? Or what if you decide to rent it out, but now you’re having to manage it from 1,000 miles away? Neither situation is fun, but these things do happen.
That said, there are ways to mitigate these issues. For example, you can hire a local property management company to take care of the rental. If you’re trying to sell, you can do things like drop the price a bit.
Should you buy a house in a military town? There are pros and cons to think about. To help navigate this question, and any other questions you have about buying a house, give us a call at 844-4-VA-LOAN. We’re excited about helping you any way we can.