3 Questions To Ask Yourself When Finding A Home As A Military Veteran
Each year, approximately 200,000 veterans leave the military and begin their transition to civilian life. As a part of their transition process, many of them are faced with the decision of finding a home after leaving the U.S. military. From negotiating and understanding a new lease or navigating the minefield that comes with becoming a homeowner, finding a place to live as a veteran can take some time, and a bit of planning. The good news is that there is now a wealth of information and help out there for veterans out there now. As for getting started, asking yourself a few key questions can help you find that perfect home during your transition to civilian life.
Do You Know Where You Want To Live?
One of the most important things you will need to decide is where you would like to live after leaving the military. While enrolled in the military, your location is determined according to where you are stationed. However, after your military career ends you are able to choose your ideal location. When deciding where to live as a veteran, think about factors like the cost of living, the current job market, proximity to family members and veteran support or resources. Have a look at some of the best states to life as a veteran before making your decision. Keep in mind whether you would like to retire or start a second career when choosing where to live.
To Buy Or To Rent?
Another question veterans will need to think about is whether they would like to rent or buy a home after leaving the military. While there is no right answer, your choice should be determined by your personal choice, finances and future goals. For instance, if you are looking to seek employment and stay in a state long term, buying a home might be cheaper. There is now a growing list of programs helping veterans buy homes including VA loan options and grants. However, not every veteran will qualify for them. Additionally, think about what your finances can afford before making your choice between renting and buying a home. The use of a rent vs buy calculator can give you a good idea of the costs involved in either option.
Do You Know Where Your Finances Stand?
Finally, finding a home as a veteran will be dependent on what you can afford. If you opt to rent, you will need to think about securing references and a deposit for your tenancy. While veterans can utilize the VA loan to avoid paying a down payment upfront, they still need to ensure their credit score is acceptable and they can make the monthly mortgage payments.
It may be helpful to draft a household budget based on your estimated income to work out what you can afford. If your credit score is below the eligibility level, you may need to spend a few months rebuilding your credit score to access a fair mortgage interest rate.
It is also worthwhile mentioning that there are also home assistance programs offered by both federal and state authorities to help veterans buy or rent a home during their transition. Your local veteran office should be able to provide details for the right resources if you need additional help. Additionally, The National Resource Database can give you a list of organizations in your area that are dedicated to helping veterans buy or rent a home. Finding a home after leaving the military does require some planning but once you know the answers to these questions, you are off to a great start.