Rent or Buy?
Military Families and
Buying a Home

Should you rent or buy a home?Faced with the decision whether to rent or buy a home, military families have more worries than other American families. It comes with the territory. Being in the military means you know you'll be transferred an average of every three years or so.

For this reason, the very thought of buying a home can seem overwhelming to many military families. After all, home loans are a major long-term commitment, and a home is the largest purchase most families will ever make. What happens if you get transferred earlier than you expected? You wonder, "Will I be able to sell my house?" So you struggle with "Rent or buy?" "Rent or buy?"

Many military families spend an entire military career as renters, never willing to take the risk of buying a home, because they're afraid of what might happen when they're transferred. But when they retire after 20 (or more) years, they have nothing to show for all those years of renting but a stack of rent receipts. They may not even have thought about saving money for a down payment to buy a home after they retire, or more likely in the case of military families, their budget just didn't allow that much "extra cash" to save towards a down payment.

Knowing that you will most likely be moving after 3 years or so is not necessarily a reason to shy away from homeownership. When you ask yourself, "Should I rent or buy?" consider this fact: For most middle-class Americans, owning a home is the best, fastest, and easiest way to grow real wealth and create their "nest egg."

Especially for those families without a lot of "extra money," which we think describes the vast majority of military families, the enforced savings created by buying a home and making mortgage payments may be the only way to ever "get ahead."

The Thrill of Buying a Home

Now, imagine this scenario. You consider whether to rent or buy, then decide to take the plunge and buy a house. The moving truck pulls out of the driveway, leaving you surrounded by boxes. Settled in just a few weeks later, you host a housewarming party to get to know your new neighbors.

You're a new homeowner, and you're so proud of your new home! You start gradually decorating, and making a few improvements here and there. You paint a few rooms just the colors you like, which you could never do while renting. And then...

Yes, then it happens. Just a few short months later, like a bolt out of the blue -- unexpected new orders. You're being transferred after just a year in your new home. Panic strikes. Now what? (More on that in a minute.)

Should I Rent or Buy?

Military families have special considerations when it comes to the decision whether to rent or buy. But that's no reason to automatically rule out buying a house without further investigation.

In fact, with record-low interest rates and affordable real estate values, maybe it's time to take a further look at whether your family should rent or buy a home. In many areas of the country, homes are available at unprecedented low prices, and mortgage rates are lower than they've been in years. There's no better time to buy a home. The current housing market makes your decision whether to rent or buy easier. It's a buyer's market, and good homes are available at good discounts in most parts of the country.

So you're all set to consider whether your family should rent or buy a home while you are serving in the military. Here are some things to think about when deciding whether to rent or buy a home.

(Click the link to continue to Part 2 of this article.)

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