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3 Options for Upside-Down Mortgages in the Military

The 2008 housing crash along with high unemployment rates and the transient military lifestyle unfortunately left many service members facing upside-down mortgages. Fast-forward to 2019, the housing market has since recovered. In the event that the market is to crash again, Military homeowners should start with their lender or servicer to see what help might be available, as well as exploring their eligibility for the government's Making Home Affordable program, which enables some underwater homeowners to refinance.

Permanent Change of Station or PCS affects service members and their families every year. When a PCS, a deployment or another military move is on the horizon, these homeowners often find themselves in a tough spot. Let’s take a look at three ways some service members and their families deal with PCS.

Option 1: Wait Until the Market Improves

Waiting for the market to improve might not be the most appealing option because let’s face it, postponing PCS or deployment orders in order to sell your home just isn’t possible. Service members that have the option to have a family member or spouse maintain the home until the home sells.

Option 2: Increase Salability

Military members know moving is part of the job, but the desire to own a home is still strong for many. Homeowners may be able to boost their chances of selling in a crunch by working on the home's appeal. Here are some ways:

1). Keep House Clear: Host a yard sale or donate unused items in your home. An uncluttered showing of a home helps potential buyers envision the lifestyle they can have there. The yard sale itself can be great publicity for telling people your house is, or is going to be, on sale.

2). Enticing Exterior: Simply cleaning the windows, clearing gutters and maintaining a neat lawn can entice buyers to stop. Even potted plant or shiny address numbers can add a sense of quality.

3). Interior Upgrades: A kitchen can host a fresh feel with new knobs for cabinets and drawers. Updated paint on walls and moldings can also increase value. Be sure to paint with neutral and attractive colors that accommodate multiple buyers.

4). Siding Upgrades: Siding can have one of the highest returns when it comes to home improvement.

Option 3: Rent Out Your Home

Renting out your home Landlord regulations vary by state so before renting your home out, be sure to learn the different ways of rent calculation, application screenings and your responsibilities as a landlord.

Simply selling your house or letting it foreclose can lead to a loss in security clearance. As long as you follow the two out of five years rule for capital gain, which entails owning and living in a house for two years, you can try to weather the market for three years by renting your home.

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