Stuck in the Renting Rut

If you’ve been renting an apartment for longer than you’ve had a Facebook, don’t worry—you’re not the only one. But if you’ve been teetering on the fence of buying or renting, going over the pros and cons, all whilst watching your friends settle into their own place, it might be time to say goodbye to the landlord.

It’s normal to be afraid to take the plunge into home-buying territory, but with the help of a great agent and a little research, you can determine if the time is right for you.

If you have a healthy savings account.
Perhaps the scariest part about buying a home is making the financial commitment, but if you’ve managed to save enough (and then some) to put a down payment of at least 10 percent, you should feel confident in your ability to make the purchase.

If you’re ready to commit.
Another common qualm about buying a home is the uncertainty of where you will be a year or two from now. However, if you have a steady job and are happy with the location, there’s really no reason for concern.

If the price is right.
An agent can help you determine whether or not the price you are looking to pay is reasonable for your specifications and needs in a home, but ultimately, if the market is favorable and you’ve found the right deal, there’s no better time than the present.

If you’re sick of pouring money into someone else’s pocket.
It sounds harsh, but if you’ve been renting for three, five, or even ten years, you have been spending thousands of dollars on something that doesn’t even truly belong to you when all is said and done. Sure, a mortgage is likely more than your current rent, but you’ll have a place to really call your own.

Homebuying Tips for Military Families

Among the many changes that joining the military brings, a frequent change in location is sometimes part of the territory. For families, moving often can make it difficult to feel settled in a home, or to even make the commitment associated with homebuying.

But if you’ve made the decision to buy a home, you deserve to feel confident in your choice. These tips can help!

Consider the likelihood of selling.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that, because of the risk of deployment, you may not be in your new house for long. While some families will stay in a house for over thirty years, this prospect isn’t as likely for active military members.

While searching for a house, look for points that can influence selling price down the line. Is the house in a good school district? Are there modern appliances? Are there any structural issues? These are all qualifications you would want to look at anyway, but are particularly important if you’ll eventually need to sell.

Get familiar with the neighborhood.

If you will be away from your family for long periods of time, you’ll want to make sure the neighborhood is warm and welcoming, and a place that the rest of your family will feel supported by while you’re gone.

Looking for a home near base could be beneficial in that there will probably be other military families nearby that you will be able to relate to and rely on. Some communities even offer special resources through programs like Joining Community Forces, which brings local businesses and services together in support of military families.

Use your resources.

There are a number of special resources available to military families interested in buying a home. VA loans, while not always feasible, can be extremely beneficial when used properly. A real estate agent familiar with the system can help military homebuyers work through the VA’s requirements process.

You will have to work with a VA appraiser, and not all homes meet the VA loan requirements, but it is absolutely worth it to look into and understand the resources available to you as a service member.

Ask around.

This is especially important if this will be your first homebuying experience, but it’s always beneficial to talk to families who have been through the process before. If you know of anyone who has bought a home previously, using a VA loan or other type of military assistance, ask them about their experience. What did they do right? What do they wish they did different?

Previous homebuyers can be a wealth of knowledge and guide you through your own journey, helping you avoid pitfalls and make decisions that will benefit you greatly down the road.