AF House buying — The Bump
Military Families

AF House buying

So, we find out a little over a week from now our next duty station. We are really hoping it is where we are now, NC and if it is we will be here 3-4 years sight possibility of 7. We are really nervous about buying a house right now, especially in the economy, but at the same time feel like we are throwing money away by paying rent. I am just wondering what some of you ladies do, is it easier just to rent for a couple years? Is it worth it to buy a house near a base with the risk of not being able to sell it and not wanting to retire there?

Any advice is appreciated!!! 


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Re: AF House buying

  • We bought a house where we are now. Our mortgage was cheaper than our monthly rent. We also got a great deal on our house. Our BHA easily covers our mortgage, utilities and maintence expenses for the house. We'll be in the house almost 3 years when we get ready to sell. We've discussed trying to sell when we leave and if we can't sell it we will rent to another military family. Houses our size rent for more than double our mortgage, we figure either way we will be fine financially.
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  • It varies greatly by duty station....do a LOT of research on the local markets. And think about what'll happen down the road once you're moving on: are you willing to rent the home? Can you handle paying two mortgages for a period of time?

    We (regrettably) bought a house at our previous location, and we 100% regret it. However, we bought not at the height of the housing boom, but very near it. We just PCSed, and our house is now empty -- it's up for sale, but no one wants to buy in that area. And the price we have listed for the home is significantly less than what we paid. We're not technically doing a short sale (because we don't want to kill our credit), but we're taking a huge loss if we sell. We don't particularly want to rent it out, but if it doesn't sell in the next month or so, that'll likely be our only option. And the local market is so bad that even rental prices bottomed out -- the rent we'll be able to get won't be anywhere near our mortgage, even though we put a nice chunk down and have a very good interest rate. So either way, we're losing money.

    Just a few things to think about. While renting does feel a financial waste, I can tell you from personal experience that paying a mortgage on an empty house REALLY feels like throwing money away. Until DH is out of the military and we're looking at forever homes, we'll be renters. No more buying for us.

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  • We own a house from 2 duty stations ago near base (charleston, sc) and would like nothing more in the world than to get rid of it. some things to consider: when you personally no longer occupy your house your taxes sky rocket because you no longer get home stead exemption and discounts, maintaining a house is hard when you are not close by unless you get a management company, not all renters are reliable in paying you, renters don't always treat your house like you would. My husband bought his house for 250 k and since 30% of his neighborhood was foreclose d in the last 4 years it is now worth 180 k. On the other hand I owned a house in a non military area (30 mins from base right next to down town charleston) and I had no problem selling out because my area had very few house for sale and almost no foreclosures. Just do your research.

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  • imageufsandra85:
    We own a house from 2 duty stations ago near base (charleston, sc) and would like nothing more in the world than to get rid of it. some things to consider: when you personally no longer occupy your house your taxes sky rocket because you no longer get home stead exemption and discounts, maintaining a house is hard when you are not close by unless you get a management company, not all renters are reliable in paying you, renters don't always treat your house like you would. My husband bought his house for 250 k and since 30% of his neighborhood was foreclose d in the last 4 years it is now worth 180 k. On the other hand I owned a house in a non military area (30 mins from base right next to down town charleston) and I had no problem selling out because my area had very few house for sale and almost no foreclosures. Just do your research.

    A lot of this is our experience too. We bought a house in an area near an AF base. We CANNOT sell it. If you choose to own a house, plan to be able to pay the mortgage for it with NO tenant and a place for you to live...just as a worst case scenario. We have had to pay the mortgage and our rent for a few months while we had no tenant (between tenants) and its not easy. It ate up our savings. I hate owning the stupid house and would love for nothing more than to get rid of it. However, in this market, you could buy a house for a good price and potentially have a good thing going by renting it out in a military area when you move away. Take your time to think about it and do your research. 

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