You’ve planned and put away your money, and now it’s time to take the big leap from military to civilian life. You may also want to take another big leap into home ownership. Buying a home during your military-to-civilian transition can be filled with excitement and stress. But with some preparation and knowledge, you can be successful purchasing a home during your transition.
Start Early – Choose a Realtor
Buying a home is a process, and like most processes, it can take some time. I highly suggest taking leave to the location where you are planning to move before arming yourself with a pre-qualification from your preferred lender.
Contact a Realtor (Read: Choose a Realtor for a Military Move) in the area ahead of time so he or she can schedule tours of the homes that match your criteria. This will optimize your leave period. Not to mention that it would be helpful to have an address for your future household goods delivery!
There is a chance you will not find a home during your leave, so be sure to establish a Plan B.
Also, be aware that if you do make an offer on a home, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to settle on an offer that will satisfy both parties. During this time, you will have the option of hiring a home inspector. Always have a potential home inspected. It can’t be stressed enough! Inspectors guard your interests in the purchase and will warn you of any issues concerning the house. If there is an issue, you may provide a counteroffer to the owner addressing any concerns.
Once an offer is accepted, the owner may need time to move out of the home, as well as for the transfer of the title to occur. Therefore, anticipate the probability that you will need to have a place to stay while you wait.