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Old 08-13-2012, 02:53 AM
16,438 posts, read 18,611,991 times
Reputation: 9494


Originally Posted by BlitzyBug View Post
We are concerned about being able to sell our house when we PCS next. Is that something that is a big enough concern that would make you rent over buy.
It would be for me! Don't buy unless you know you aren't going to have to move again. In military service, you never know that.
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:49 AM
Location: Toronto
193 posts, read 296,793 times
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We PCSed in June, and put an offer on a house in July. we made the decision based upon the housing market in this city, specifically. To rent a similar home would be $1200-1450. Our mortgage, including insurance/taxes, will be $1050.

My husband got specific intel that we will be stationed here 6-7 years. That is a timeline that we are comfortable with in regards to reselling. If you are doing a more typical 3 year tour, I would think harder. Many families are still buying under those circumstances, however, due to amazing mortgage rates, and reasonable home prices. The bottom line is, right now it's cheaper to buy, than to rent. However, it is a huge risk for military folks, due to transitory nature of jobs.

I have been eyeing the housing market here for 7 months now. Homes that are priced well, sell quickly. Rentals go MEGA QUICK!! I have no doubt that we could rent the house we are buying for a minimum of 1200/month. I would in fact list it at 1400 and i'm sure we'd get someone - thus, I don't feel like we'd be in a bad spot when we PCSed. I thought about renting it before we put an offer in (or selling), and I think that's a massively important consideration for all military.

If it's not something you'd be confident about, then don't do it. I find the idea of 'Americans' paying off my mortgage appealing. On the other hand, if my husband got an amazing assignment in 3 years, we'd have to turn it down. So say goodbye to wanderlust.
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:02 AM
313 posts, read 363,882 times
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If we had to do it over again, we would never have bought a house while still on active duty unless it was somewhere we knew for sure we wanted to retire to eventually and we were 100% sure we could rent it for more than our monthly payments (since you need to be able to cover the cost of a property manager, maintenance and repairs between tenants and transition between renters). We bought a house at our last duty station (since I was unwilling to live in unrenovated base housing another 4 years; I was traumatized by the rats at Hickam). We actually made money when we sold it but the stress of worrying about getting the house ready to sell, showing it while getting ready to move, having contingency plans (where would we live for a few months if it sold right away?), worrying about my husband having to go on ahead while I stayed behind with the kids to sell the house if it didn't sell in time, worrying about losing money on the house when it did sell...it was just awful. PCSing is stressful enough (and it gets even harder and more stressful the older the kids get) without adding the stress of selling or finding renters for a house on top of it. Add to that the uncertainty of the real estate market (we just bought a home because we have retired here and the owners of our rental house - who have tried twice to sell the house since the PCS'd 4 years ago - just listed the house again for $30,000 less than they paid for it and it's still priced too high) and how nice all the base housing I've seen here is and it just wouldn't be worth it to Me to buy for a 3 to 4 year stay. Longer than that, maybe, but you move when they tell you and it could even be less than the typical 3 to 4 years if mission needs change.

On a side note: as excited as I was to buy our first house at our last duty station, it wasn't as much fun or as exciting as I thought it would be because I knew it was temporary. We did a bunch of renovations (including an all new master bath due to water damage) and every decision I made I had to keep in mind the fact that we would be selling or renting in a few years and everything needed to be kept neutral so it would appeal to everyone. That house ended up being nothing like the one we just built (which is our long term dream house) and I wasn't as attached to it as I thought I would be since it never felt 100% mine or permanent.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:05 AM
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
553 posts, read 1,420,241 times
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It's a tough decision. When I was in uniform, I bought three houses.

The first one was a location where I could be pretty sure I'd be in place for four years. The region was experiencing rapid growth, so I thought I could sell it pretty easily, when the time came. I was right. When I got orders out, I sold the home without a lot of heartache, and made a nice sum on the flip.

My next assignment I also anticipated 4-5 years, and bought another house. And, disaster struck. The BRAC closed that base, and there was no way to sell it. They had a program where we could turn our homes over to the Army Corps of Engineers, but you walked away with nothing. Except a tax bill for taking advantage of the "privilege" of giving your equity away.

My next assignment was Peterson. I bought again, but retired in COS, so I'm still in that house.

My point with all this is that it's a risk. I was successful twice in taking that risk, but horribly unsuccessful once. I don't see Base Closures in Colorado Springs' future, so the risk for you would be less. Keep in mind that if you buy, you not only get to take advantage of any increase in your home's value, but you also get a tax break on mortgage interest that you DON'T get paying rent. Given the decrease in home values recently, and the historically low interest rates available, I'm not sure there's been a better time to enter the home-buying market.

Good luck.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:57 AM
Location: Toronto
193 posts, read 296,793 times
Reputation: 129
@MrsMac, you summed up my major concerns. We are first time homebuyers and I have so many ideas & projects that I want to complete since it will finally by *my* home. My hubby has a minimum of 12 years to go until retirement, so while it is possible we could be here all of those years (some guys in his squadron were here 15 already!), it's not probable...

So do i really want to make all of these 'dream home' changes to a property that will either be destroyed by renters, or sold outright? That's really what i'm struggling with at this point.

Something else in our favor when it comes to selling, will be the option to transfer our current mortgage (with excellent rates) to the potential buyer. If rates rise in the next few years back to more normal levels, that would be very appealing to someone looking for a home.
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