The question always seems to be ‘should we buy a home now or wait till we retire’? People argue about it both ways, but it’s suprising how often I see that question asked in the military community.
My ex and bought a house. It had some issues and we weren’t smart enough at the time to realize what we were getting in to. It wasn’t the actual buying of the house that was the problem, but the house we bought. We put it up for sale when we separated. It took 2 years to sell. Hubby bought a house at his last duty station. He bought it when he was single, with the intention of selling it when he PCSed. He rented his spare bedrooms out to single guys to put some extra money in his pocket every month. Eventually, we all lived there as a family. We still have that house. We have it rented and we are making a small amount of change on it every month. He bought the house new, so we haven’t had any major issues (fingers crossed). We haven’t deceided how long we are going to keep it though. Part of me wants to sell it. We don’t plan on buying another house until we retire, so we would just sell it within the next five years or so. The other part of me wants to keep the rental income. It’s a relatively safe investment, especially since we can afford the mortgage even if we don’t have renter’s.
Even in Okinawa, this question comes up. Homebuying courses are offered by the Marine Corps and the Air Force here. I wouldn’t think there would be such a demand, but I guess there is since they continue to offer the class.
Many people want to take advantage of their military VA loans and buy a house now. A person either gets sick of living in housing or just wants to be a homeowner. How nice is it to not have to worry about if your yard is mowed or if your boat is parked in the driveway or your neighbors hearing you through your paperthin duplex walls. Others are content to rent or live in housing. It saves the hassle of so much – maintenance, possibly yard work or even not having to pay utilities. It is nice knowing that with hubby deployed, I can call my housing agency if I have a problem. The only thing I’ve called them for since he has been gone is a clogged toilet and then a total brainfart on my end.
If you do plan on buying a house while in the military, know the area. Know what houses are worth and the condition of the market. You could get the best deal on the house, but if you can’t sell it when you leave, it may not be worth being able to paint the walls any color you want. It truly is a personal decision and definitely not one size fits all.