Is a home purchase while on active duty the right choice?
Obviously, some postings are better at managing their housing than others, but it’s a rare situation where you’ll find better quarters than those you pay for and maintain yourself.
For civilians, the decision to buy a home is already wrought with tough decisions and brings with it a huge financial commitment—doubly so for military families when you factor in variables like your PCS schedule, future duty assignments, and deployments.
On the surface, buying a house as an active duty service member seems like a poor decision, but with the right mortgage loan, it can be a great investment.
Living off-post is almost always preferable to base housing. Stories of poor maintenance, bad water, mold, and unexpected fees are rampant across the services. Obviously, some postings are better at managing their housing than others, but it’s a rare situation where you’ll find better quarters than those you pay for and maintain yourself.
Coupled with the fact that you lose all of your BAH (basic allowance for housing) when living on post, regardless of square footage, finding an affordable place of your own nearby begins to look more and more attractive.
While all markets fluctuate differently, nationwide rents are trending up, with no end in sight. According to Rent.com, the average monthly cost of a two-bedroom rental is $2,106. With good credit, a mortgage from Navy Federal Credit Union can be an economical choice for military families looking to rein in their budget while still controlling their living situation.
While the news is filled with horror stories about ballooning costs as the Federal Reserve continues to increase rates, VA loans are still an affordable option in any market.
NFCU loans are available to veterans and active-duty service members alike, with incredibly low interest rates. If you are ineligible for the VA option, they also offer great conventional loans for approved applicants. In addition to amazing rates, a VA loan means you could forgo a large down payment, which massively increases the inventory of houses you have access to. Disabled veterans are also eligible to have their VA loan fees waived after closing as an added bonus.
The active-duty lifestyle can be difficult for servicemembers and their families, but choosing where you hang your hat after the work-day ends can go a long way toward making or breaking your military experience. While some posts are in less-than-ideal locations (we’re looking at you Ft Irwin…) some bases are in beautiful communities that are filled with military retirees who have decided to set down roots when they leave the service.
If you’re fortunate enough to find your dream home in a dream location, then buying as a no-brainer. Plus, there’s nothing in your oath of enlistment that says you can’t improve your financial status while wearing a uniform. Owning a house near a military base practically guarantees a ready supply of renters each PCS season, so just because you get orders to Nowheresville AFB doesn’t mean you can’t continue to pay down your amazing house by keeping it filled with military renters.
Your mortgage will continue to get paid down, with the added bonus of renting to servicemembers, who are typically held to higher housing standards than their civilian counterparts and accountable to their chain of command if they decide to trash their living quarters (and your hard-earned investment).
If you’re on the fence about buying a home, don’t let stories about high interest rates scare you off. Navy Federal Credit Union mortgage experts will help you choose the best home loan for you, at a rate you can afford.
So what are you waiting for?
This article was sponsored by Navy Federal Credit Union.