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Even if you choose to rent out your home for a few years after you PCS, you will eventually need to sell your property. Luckily for military families, there are some programs specifically designed to help service members save money when selling a house.
For many military families, buying or selling a house is the largest financial decision they will make in a lifetime. If you have been able to buy a house at one duty station, you may wonder how hard it will be to sell the property when you move. The good thing about owning real estate near a military base is that there are always new families moving to the area who want to buy or rent your home.
Have the House Ready for the Market
Once you have decided to sell your house, there are steps you can take before you contact an agent or place an ad. Staging is one of the most important aspects of selling your home. You will want to do basic cleaning, repairs, painting, and organizing to make the house look its best for those ad photos. Try to start saving for repairs months before you sell. If you are renting out the property, you can do some repairs while the tenants are still there.
You may want to pressure wash the home’s exterior so it looks newer. Have the carpets professionally cleaned, and touch up paint in any areas that are scraped or worn. Use the military discount at Lowe’s to save 10% on all purchases. This will help you get the walls painted and the landscaping completed for less. Inside, declutter and get rid of any furniture that is not absolutely necessary. If you aren’t yet ready to PCS, consider renting a storage unit during the home sale process.
Selling Your House – Military by Owner
If you still live in your house or are stationed nearby, you may be able to skip hiring a real estate agent and sell the home yourself. The benefit of this strategy is that you will save on agent costs, which average 6% of the final home sales price. 3% typically goes to each of the buyer’s and the seller’s agents.
The challenge of selling your own home is that you will need to do the marketing and the legal paperwork yourself. The website Military By Owner assists military families with this process. They act as an intermediary between military families who are buying and selling property.
Since homes on the site are specifically for military families, every listing includes the distance to the nearest military base. Military families preparing to PCS can search for homes and contact the seller through the site. The seller can then arrange a visit or do a virtual tour. Listing an ad on the site starts at $15 for the Basic Package (no photos can be posted), and goes up to $80 to include a video walkthrough of your home.
If military families can connect through Military By Owner, the seller will save thousands on agent fees. But do your homework—selling a house is a complex process, so doing it yourself will require some commitment. In addition to the ad fee, the seller should be prepared to pay additional rates for a lawyer and a home inspector.
Realtors & Rebates
Choosing a real estate agent is an important step when selling a house, especially if you are already living in another state – or country! We recently decided to sell the house we own from a former duty station. Even though we successfully rented the property for five years using a property manager, we knew we wanted a professional Realtor to help us with the sale.
If you are unsure of where to turn when hiring a realtor consider the MilHousing Network. This group connects military families with pre-screened military real estate experts all over the country. Additionally, MilHousing Network’s business model helps military spouses get jobs in real estate, a true win-win!
Other companies provide rebates for using their realtors and lending programs. These rebates include:
- Navy Federal – Receive $400 to $8,000 in cashback.
- U.S. Military on the Move – Community “experts” will provide a rebate based on the sales price of the home.
- Heroes Home Advantage – Offer a wide range of discounts for using their service providers. Rebates are provided for lenders, attorneys, title fees, homeowners insurance, inspections, home improvements, and more!
- Veterans United – Their bundled services allow veterans to benefit from lower monthly payments and closing costs. Veterans United is the top VA Loan provider in the U.S. Here is our review of Veterans United.
If you end up not being able to sell, due to the housing market or because you can’t emotionally let go of the memories associated with your home, consider property management. When you are a renter property managers may feel like the enemy. These stories of tough property managers are usually music to the ears of property owners who rely upon property managers to maintain their homes from afar.
It is essential to properly vet your property management company. Are they responsive? How long have they been in business? What is their reputation with locals? What fees do they charge? What happens if they can’t rent out the property? There are a million questions to ask. Even if you don’t know what to ask there are others who do, like those over at MilitarybyOwner.
Selling a home can be a frustrating process, but with these resources, military families can save money and know that they are getting the best value for their property.