How to buy a home, military edition

Soldier holding a miniature house with an American flag

Joining the military is not just a profession. It’s a vocation that involves a lot of risks and sacrifices, which is why I believe you deserve to have your very own piece of American dream: a house you can call a home. To help you get closer and closer to this goal, here are a couple of home buying tips to live by if you are part of the military.

  1. Work with a Military Relocation Professional (MRP)

    Whether you are an active or retired member of the military, it’s a great idea to work with a realtor who is also a certified Military Relocation Professional (MPRs).

    Realtors who are certified MRPs will help you explore the full range of homes for sale in Las Vegas and financing options specifically for military home buying. They are usually well-versed in VA loans and can understand your needs as a military member better.

    Note that realtors can’t easily call themselves MRPs. They need to apply with the National Association of REALTORS®, complete the MRP course (which includes webinars), pass the examination, and must be in good standing with the organization.

  2. Take advantage of VA financing benefits

    VA stands for ‘veteran affairs,’ but that doesn’t mean only veterans are eligible for VA home loans. Active-duty personnel are more than welcome to apply after serving for six months, while reservists and National Guard members must wait a little longer (six years) to be eligible. If your spouse passed on during active-duty or because of a disability borne out of their service, you are also qualified to apply for a VA home loan.

    Of course, you have the freedom to choose another kind of financing. The benefits of getting a VA loan, however, are too good to be ignored. Some of the perks include no down payment and private mortgage insurance requirement, both of which can significantly ease total home buying and ownership costs.

    Read more about VA home loans here.

  3. Do your research

    VA home loan benefits are not the only things that can ease your expenses during the home buying process. You might be eligible for certain kinds of allowances and entitlements if you are purchasing a house as a result of a Permanent Change of Station (PCS).

    A dislocation allowance helps you cover household relocation costs, while Temporary Lodging Expense (TLE) takes care of meal and lodging expenses for you and your dependents as you look for houses. If you are using your own vehicle for the move, you may be entitled to a Monetary Allowance in Lieu of Transportation (MALT), which will reimburse your gas, toll, and other transportation-related expenses.

    If you hire a realtor who is also an MRP, exploring military allowances and entitlements will be much easier. There are also various resources online that outline these benefits such as this article about military pay allowances.

  4. Prepare for closing costs and fees

    One of the most common mistakes military home buyers make is not saving enough funds to cover closing costs and fees. VA home loan benefits sure are plenty, but you still have some expenses to take care of to complete the transaction.

    There are instances that home buyers don’t have to pay closing costs, but this depends on the seller. To err on the safe side, make sure you have enough saved up for closing costs as well as other processes, such as home appraisal and inspection.

  5. Take care of your credit score

    Another thing to remember about VA home loans— qualifying for one does not rest solely on your eligibility. There are still a handful of basic requirements to meet such as having an acceptable credit score. Although there is no set figure, lenders do have a benchmark of at least 620.

    The usual rules in keeping your credit score within the good range applies to military home buyers. Pay off outstanding debts and, as much as possible, avoid making big ticket purchases and opening new lines of credit until the loan and the home sale are finalized. Even if you find yourself pre-approved for a mortgage, take special care not to lower your credit score.

Are you looking for a Military Relocation Professional?

There is no need to look further. Since 2001, I have been the go-to Military Relocation Professional serving Las Vegas real estate and military home buyers. To learn more about buying a house in the military or to start your home buying process, get in touch with me today at 702.419.3212 or loralee(dotted)wood(at)cbvegas(dotted)com.