Buying a House While on Active Duty

If you feel you are now ready to buy a house for the first time, it is normal to have some questions and doubts. Most of these concerns may be warranted because you will be spending a lot of money when you buy a home. But in educating yourself about what is required in a home purchase, you will be more certain about your decision. These tips will explain most of these issues and give you a definite idea of what you need to do.

  • What is your end goal? The questions you will need to think about prior to purchasing a home, how long are your orders, and would you want to sell or rent out your home after receiving your next set of orders.
  • As a home buyer, you should qualify for the lowest income possible.  If you are married and someone loses their job, you are still able to make your mortgage payment.  Save all of your extra income (Per Diem while traveling, COLA, ETC).
  • Remember when you live off base, you are responsible for all utilities.  After living on base for years, I forgot I can’t leave my lights on all day when I am away from the house.
  • Do not rush into buying a house.  When you report to your new duty station, start talking to friends, realtors, coworkers.  Find out about the local neighborhoods in the town or city that you are stationed in.  Do your homework. Remember to buy the worst house in the best neighborhood, not the other way around.  
  • Ask other service members who own their own homes.  Ask questions about their home buying experience.  Ask them what would have they done differently?  What would they have done the same?  Everyone has useful information.  
  • Most people don’t buy their dream home when they purchase their first house.  Your first home is a great platform to launch you to your dream home through home equity and tax incentives.
  • Purchase a pre-owned home, and avoid new builds.  If you’re going to be moving in two years, you want to generate as much equity as you can before selling your home. A new build is sold at top dollar and you may not make any profit after only a few years of owning a home.  


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