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    Buying a Home in the Military? Start with This Guide from MilitaryByOwner

    Is your military family considering taking the plunge to become homeowners? Congratulations!

    This is an exciting time, but one that is also filled with questions. After all, buying a home as a military family is a different experience from civilian home buyers. We typically deal with a shorter window for home shopping, may be shopping for homes at a distance, or even have one spouse signing all the paperwork while the other is deployed or traveling. Whew! But don't be deterred if home buying is your goal. We've been where you're headed.

    You don't need to go it alone. We here at MilitaryByOwner are constantly researching and putting together resources for military home buyers, including articles, videos, ebooks, and blog posts. Use our vast experience to your advantage!

    Let's start by taking a look at some factors military members and their families usually consider when it comes to the home buying process. We'll point you to further resources for each step of the way!

    Guide to Buying a home in the military

    Should a Military Family Buy a Home?

    This is a common question. After all, is it completely nuts to purchase a home when you know you'll only live in it for a handful of years? Not necessarily.

    military family packing boxes to move into new home

    Photo from Canva

    Many military families would rather own a home instead of renting or living on base, even when they know it will only be for a few years.  Some view a home purchase as an investment opportunity and plan to either return and live in the home later or maintain it as a rental property for additional income.

    Start with these resources, which include information on how to make the best decision for your situation. 

    Buying a Home Long Distance

    You know that when you make a military move, you'll usually only have a few days of house hunting to tour homes and make a decision. Add to that the nuances of military life that rarely accommodate the traditional home buying timeline.

    While not the ideal scenario, you may be doing the bulk of your home shopping long distance before you ever arrive at your new duty station. 

    woman househunting on smart phone

    Photo from Canva

    When you're new to an area, you'll likely be relying on the advice of a real estate agent regarding neighborhoods and areas or word of mouth from friends and acquaintances. Take a look at the following helpful resources, and then consider using the services of a real estate agent with the Military Relocation Professional certification. They'll be which well versed in the unique aspects of military life and have a better understanding of what you're looking for. 

    What to Know About Finances Before Buying a Home

    Common Pitfalls for Military Home Buyers 

    For any home buyer,  when you do find the home of your dreams, it's easy to let all your best intentions regarding budget, location, and unchangeable characteristics like school district fly right out the window when you find a home you love. (And fixer upper? Sure, you've got nothing but time and energy to deal with renovations, right?)

    couple looking at home they want to buy

    Photo from Canva

    Take a look at the following information to help keep your wits about you and not fall prey to some of the most common home buying mistakes. 

    Understanding Home Financing

    VA Loan, mortage pre-approval and pre-qualification, FICO score... what does it all mean, anyway? Perhaps you're familiar with the terms but need more understanding.

    woman looking at financial papers before applying for home loan

    Photo from Canva

    "In simple terms, a mortgage is a loan that a bank or mortgage lending institution provides buyers to acquire a house. In return, the house becomes collateral if the borrowers cannot pay the financing. Owners typically pay mortgages monthly and, although paid in one sum, there are four components within the mortgage: principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. 

    • Principal: the total amount of money borrowed to purchase the home.
    • Interest: the percentage of money paid to the lender for the opportunity to borrow. 
    • Taxes: refer to property taxes paid by the owner, usually tallied by the house’s value.
    • Insurance: lenders require homeowners insurance. " (from Mortgage 101: Your Basic Questions Answered)

    Read on to learn how to get your finances in order before you even apply for a home loan. You'll also find money saving tips and rebates for military home buyers! 

    Countdown to Closing Day

    So you've made it through home shopping, have been pre-approved for a home loan, and are ready to make an offer....but you're not quite there yet!

    Countdown to closing day.

    The end is in sight, but there are still a few steps before you hold the house keys in your hand.

    You'll need to get past the home inspection (especially the particulars required for a VA Home Loan), any contingencies, and the paperwork required on closing day. Of course, your agent will walk you through much of this process, but it's always good to be armed with info! Take a look at:

    Congratulations on your new home! Please let us know if you have any questions that we can help you with, and be sure to download our free home buying guide below.

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    Jen McDonald


    Jen McDonald

    Jen McDonald is the Content Editor for MilitaryByOwner Advertising. She's a longtime writer, the author of the books You Are Not Alone: Encouragement for the Heart of a Military Spouse and Milspouse Matters: Sharing Strength Through Our Stories. Jen is also the host of the Milspouse Matters podcast, and has written hundreds of articles and essays which have been published in other books and numerous publications. She was a military spouse for 30 years and is the mom of four, including one son in the military. One of her happiest roles now is being a grandmother. She and her veteran Air Force husband have been stationed all around the world from Europe to the Pacific and won’t count how many houses they’ve lived in because that would be too depressing. Her passion is encouraging young military spouses and regularly sharing about topics like military life, parenting, homeschooling...and now grandparenting! See more from Jen at her site, Jen McDonald and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram , and Pinterest.

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