Moving Tips For Military Families (by Jennifer Riner of Zillow)

Moving Tips for Military Families
By Jennifer Riner of Zillow

As most enlisted soldiers have come to know, homes near military bases are notoriously expensive. Whether renting or owning, you’re likely to pay top dollar for a place near a military base. In fact, military base homes are 34.8 percent more expensive than the median U.S. home value, according to Zillow. With the unanticipated relocation, finding an affordable place can be complicated.

Moving in the military is not only financially stressful, but an emotional rollercoaster at times. Leaving friends and family behind is tough, especially when you feel like you’ve just planted your roots. During the relocation process, more than half of parents report crying at least once. And, 47 percent of parents said they have home-buying regrets. Preparing adequately is necessary to minimize the risk of remorse.

For a military family to filter the best options and facilitate a smooth transfer, consider the following moving tips.

1. Search for an Experienced Agent
Real estate agents that are knowledgeable in VA Loans or who have had experience working with military families are the best option. When purchasing, be sure to explain your job unpredictability so your agent can advise you on short returns on investments. Agents with Military Relocation Professional (MRP) or VA and Military Real Estate Specialist (VAMRES) designation are usually well versed in home values near bases. An agent who is a member of the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP) can also assist you in your search for a new property.

2. Find the Appropriate Loan
Veterans, active-duty personnel, National Guard members, and sometimes spouses of fallen service members can qualify for VA loans. Some of the benefits of VA loans include no down payment, lower interest rates, optimal financing, inspection warranties and no private mortgage insurance. If you plan to apply for a VA loan, you must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the Veterans Association.

3. Involve Your Kids
Kids often take moving the hardest. Feeling forced to make new friends in an unfamiliar setting can be emotionally stressful on young children and teenagers. While some information is best left for the adults, stay open and honest with your kids about the nature of being a service member. Giving them time to prepare mentally minimizes potential anxieties. Go a step further and include the kids in the new home search so they feel like they are a part of the process. Finding a place that suits them will help make them feel more comfortable in a new environment.
4. Ask for Help
Packing is one of the highest stressors during a move. At times you might think it’s never-ending. In fact, 34 percent of parents said unpacking was the most stressful part of transitioning into a new home. Unsurprisingly, 66 percent of parents said having someone to help with the packing process would make moving less stressful. Why not use the moving process to spend time with friends and family that you will no longer live near? They’ll be happy to help and you can ease some of your mental woes in the process.

You may be going through a PCS (permanent change of station), a TDY (temporary duty) change or an OCONUS (outside the contiguous United States) assignment, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Finding the right professional to protect your finances and using the aforementioned tips to lessen the stress is key.

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