How To Buy and Sell Your Home As a Military Family

Is it better for a military family to buy or rent? We weigh your options
Aug 12, 2022

Being a part of a military family means you may not have a permanent address for some time. It’s common to receive orders to move to another station even if you’ve just settled into a house and neighborhood you love.

To make the experience easier, we share some tips on buying and selling your home as a military family.

Should you buy a house or not?

When you’re an active service member, you’ll receive a BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing), whether renting or buying. The amount depends on your pay grade, where you’re living, and your dependency status.

Buying a home is a good option if you want lower monthly payments than renting, but if you think you’ll get transferred in a short time, you’ll probably want to hold off a bit. The reason is that when you purchase a property, there are expenses that come with it –even if you are buying with a VA loan. 

That means that it will take some time to recoup those costs. Selling too soon will end up costing. Although the idea timeframe can vary, generally speaking, it will take about 3-5 years to recoup purchase costs when buying a home with a VA loan. 

You can use this general guideline and your deployment schedule to determine whether buying a home now is a good move. 

Apply for a VA Loan

If you’ve decided to buy a home, you can apply for a VA loan which offers no down payment and no PMI or private mortgage insurance payments. A VA loan can be a good alternative to a conventional loan if you don't have enough for a down payment.

What if you’re having a hard time selling your home?

If you get your transfer orders and no one is buying your home, you can always get it rented out and eventually earn residual income once your mortgage is fully paid.

This can also work out in your favor if you believe you’ll be transferred back to your original location.

The only problem you may encounter in this scenario is dealing with problematic renters who live hundreds of miles away. If you are ok with spending on property management, you can always hire firms that can do the job for you.

As a military landlord, you can also offer a rent-to-own proposal to your tenants if you decide to sell later.

The Bottom Line

Buying and selling a home for military families who are constantly moving can be a hassle. The good news is that you can apply the things we shared to make the process less stressful.

If you need assistance, contact one of our loan experts for advice.


* Specific loan program availability and requirements may vary. Please get in touch with your mortgage advisor for more information.