Military Families: Should You Buy or Rent a Home?

Front Door of a HouseDeciding to buy or rent is a daunting undertaking, especially if you’re in the military and could be called away to serve at any time. However, as a military buyer, you also have access to a multitude of home-buying advantages afforded by VA loans, such as 0% down payment, no mortgage insurance, and a housing allowance every month, among many others. And while the right time to purchase a home is when you’re emotionally and financially prepared, consider these crucial factors first before buying a home.

The Cost of Buying a Home vs. Renting

In general, it’s still more affordable to buy than rent, but circumstances vary. A reputable VA loan company could get you preapproved easily, considering that you meet all eligibility requirements and give you realistic numbers. You also won’t need to worry about paying for the down payment, mortgage insurance, and other related costs. Additionally, if you’re on active duty, you could use your basic housing allowance to qualify for a VA loan and cover your housing costs every month. However,  you also need to pay for your home’s maintenance, appliance repairs, and lawn maintenance.

Relocation Frequency

Those in active duty move frequently, usually every two to three years. That said, you must be comfortable with the prospect of moving and then renting it out or selling it. While you might not have any issues finding renters or selling your house in your specific area, this isn’t also guaranteed, and even if your PCS or Permanent Change of Station orders you to the other side of the country, you still have to finish paying off the mortgage for the house you left behind.

What Do You Need and Want?

Although homeownership offers a ton of benefits, it also comes with huge responsibilities. You need to think about your priorities to determine which choice is right for you. Are you fine with doing maintenance work?  If you rent a house, you could call your landlord if something breaks. On the other hand, when you rent a house, you’re not building any home equity.

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question, “Should I rent or buy?” You need to examine your situation and take into account your family and finances. Consider the things above to make a more informed decision that would suit your needs best.

About the Author