Frequent moves are synonymous with military life. While finding and moving into a new home can be exciting, the process can be stressful and overwhelming, especially on short notice.
While Home Bay wants to serve as a resource to everyone selling or buying a home, military families benefit from access to additional resources and some special perks to ease their next permanent change of station (PCS).
Whether this is your first military move or you’ve lost count, there is always room for improvement in your current process and there is always something new to learn and discover.
Here is a list of resources compiled for our servicemen and women:
Relocation Assistance Program
The Relocation Assistance Program provides support to service members and their families. It includes planning assistance, counseling, referrals and education on how to maximize the benefits of a move. Relocation professionals can help answer questions about housing, transportation, household goods, education and even topics such as employment and children’s adjustments.
Moves can be expensive, but luckily there are a number of free financial planning resources available for service members and their families.
Personal Finance Management Program: Financial guidance and budget planning services provided on your base. They typically offer classes, seminars, one-on-one counseling and additional information to educate service members and their families about consumer rights and financial stability.
Finance Office: Another service provided at your installation. This office can help you plan for the unexpected expenses of moving and determine what relocation benefits you might be eligible for.
Military OneSource Financial Counseling: Military OneSource is a free tool that provides counseling and information on a variety of subjects including financial counseling covering housing questions. On their website you can connect with experts through phone, live chat or secure video chat to learn about financial information and resources.
While service members can qualify for a VA loan, which lets you buy a home with zero money down and no private mortgage insurance, only 1 in 3 people select a VA loan when they are presented with all options according to Andy May, COO for AAFMAA Mortgage Services.
While interest rates on VA loans tend to be comparable to other mortgages, fees are sometimes higher. If you have a good credit score and can make a down payment, the VA loan might not be the best option.
For service members who are struggling with mortgage payments, you can learn about government programs to help with loan repayment at makinghomeaffordable.gov. You can also find a housing counselor approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) at www.hud.gov, or by calling 888-995-HOPE.
Special Tax Rules for Home Sale Profits
If you sell your home for a profit after renting it out, there are special tax rules that can allow you to minimize or avoid the capital gains tax. In order to claim the tax-free profit (up to $250,000 of that profit for singles or $500,000 if you’re married filing jointly), you must have owned the home for at least two years and lived in that home for at least two of the last five years. The two years of living there doesn’t have to be in sequence. See IRS Publication 3, Armed Forces Tax Guide for details.
The legal assistance office at base can help with many situations where you may need legal advice or help completing legal documents, such as contracts and lease review, notary services and more.
Military OneSource also provides free legal aid.
There are a variety of resources that give military families information about their new location and housing and rental options, as well as other data such as cost of living.
Housing Office: To begin the process of finding a place to live in your new location and to explore housing options, you should contact the housing office on your installation.
Plan My Move: Plan My Move is a Department of Defense relocation tool that allows you to research real estate prices and trends, as well as compare the cost of living and other statistics between communities.
HOMES.mil: HOMES.mil is a service designed to connect service members and their families with community housing rental listings located near U.S. military bases. Note: You can also list your own rental properties!
The above are only a selection of some of the valuable resources available to veterans and active members of the military.
As you are preparing for your next move, Home Bay’s team would love to support you and your family. Our mission is to help homeowners save thousands of dollars by providing an alternative to a “traditional” or local real estate agent that charge an average of 5-6% of the home sale in commissions. Home Bay sets itself apart as a modern service with a team of expert real estate agents who rank in the top 1% nationwide (based on home sales), coupled with a platform that manages the entire transaction from listing to close - all for a low flat fee that is always less than 1% of your home’s value. This translates into an average savings of over $15,000 per transaction.
These savings can be turned into your own real estate investment. Elizabeth Colegrove of The Reluctant Landlord breaks down how her own military family has invested in real estate and has grown their portfolio of properties over the last 8 years. Check out our interview with her where we explore how to Not give away your real estate investment in commissions here.
Constant moves mean you are constantly having to pay inflated real estate agents’ commissions. Protect your home equity and see how much you can save with our Pricing Calculator or call us today to talk to a Home Bay team member about your options.
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