5 Issues That Can Affect Military Homebuyers

If you’re reading this post, you already recognize the value in working with our nation’s military homebuyers and sellers.

Handling real estate transactions for our nation’s veterans and active duty service members is extremely rewarding. But working with military clients does require some specialized knowledge.

If you want to brush up on your skills or learn more about this niche clientele, consider these unique characteristics of military homebuyers and sellers.

1. Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

Permanent change of station (PCS) relocates an active duty military member to a different base. It’s no surprise that PCS has derailed homebuying plans for many military families.

Any client should carefully consider future plans before buying a home, but active duty military buyers need to be particularly prudent. Could a PCS uproot a family shortly after a home purchase? Is deployment looming just over the horizon?

Purchasing a home offers unbeatable benefits, but we all know it’s not the best course of action for everyone. Advise your military clients accordingly.

2. Tight time frame for purchase

While a PCS can sideline a home purchase, it can also spur a military family to buy a home in a short period of time. Orders can take a service member out of state with little notice, necessitating a quick purchase or sale. Active duty service members need agents who are familiar with the market and can produce immediate results.

3. Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)

Some service members and veterans receive a monthly allowance for housing costs, known as BAH. BAH rates are based on location, pay grade and whether or not the family has dependents. The BAH amount is designed to cover average monthly rent for the area, but it can be used toward mortgage payments, rent and related expenses.

If your military clients are new to the area, make sure they’re aware of local BAH rates. A sudden drop in BAH rates could be a disappointing surprise for an unprepared military buyer.

4. Purchasing from abroad

Did you know that eligible borrowers can use the VA loan program to purchase stateside homes while abroad? By appointing a spouse as Power of Attorney, a deployed service member can utilize VA home loan privileges from any spot on the globe. The deployed military buyer can either be active in the purchase decision or allow the spouse to handle the sale.

Helping a deployed military member find a home may seem challenging. But serving a client halfway around the world really isn’t that different from serving a client down the road. Virtual tours and email make showings and communication a breeze. A spouse can tour homes in person, handle paperwork and make purchase decisions.

Working with a deployed service member may require more time, but it’s certainly time well spent. What better welcome home gift could you provide to a veteran than a great property?

5. Finding a home that meets VA guidelines

Homes purchased with VA loans must meet VA appraisal guidelines. And although VA appraisals sometimes get a bad rap, they’re generally not much different than any modern conventional appraisal. Nearly all banks have tightened up lending criteria and property guidelines in recent years, causing VA and conventional appraisals to share more similarities than ever before.

VA appraisals do require homes to be safe, move-in ready, and free of major hazards. Make sure that you’re familiar with VA appraisal guidelines and can weed out properties that won’t measure up.

For more information

If you’d like more information about working with military clientele, check out these related posts on military homebuyers and sellers:

An Overview of Property Types Eligible for VA Loans

What Agents Need to Know About VA Loan Credit Criteria

VA Loan Eligibility Basics for Agents

Thanks for all you do, military-friendly real estate agents!

Photo courtesy of John-Morgan