Over the last few years many military families making the move to Fort Belvoir, the Pentagon or any of the installations within the Military District of Washington made the decision to purchase a home when their orders arrived. With quick appreciation and fast sales it made the choice easy. Now with prices lower and the market slow trying to make the choice between buying and renting is harder.
VA loans make buying a home in Northern Virginia with no money down a snap. With lower prices military members can buy more house today than they could before. With sellers often making a contribution to the closing costs up to the allowable VA limits it gets even easier to keep your money in your savings. But is it the right choice?
If this tour is your first to our area and you know that you are coming back in the next five years, buying and using your home as a rental after you leave could be a viable option. Understanding the costs associated with owning a rental property including maintenance, management fees and tax implications are a big consideration. If you know your current tour is less than three years, you have to weigh the risks of breaking even or even a loss when you go to sell. There are tax benefits to owning your own home but do they outweigh the concerns you may have when you go to sell?
Finding a rental can take as much time as finding a home to buy. The more flexible you are in what you are looking for will be helpful. If you focus on only one type of home or only one school district then you will need to understand that your choices may be limited. If you own a pet or two the available homes shrinks even further. None of this is insurmountable it just means that you need to be realistic.
Before you decide which is the right choice for you, talk to your financial advisor and a mortgage professional to understand how buying or renting will impact you. Then find an agent who is willing to work with you no matter which decision you make. Just as with buying a home if you decide to rent work with an agent who knows the local neighborhoods, transportation options and school districts.