One of the running jokes of military life is that families move a lot, floating from base to base. Whether you get a 30-day Permanent Change of Station (PCS) notice or a six-month notice, you must use that time wisely to plan your move.
As a Northern Virginia property management company that serves the entire DMV area, we’ve seen over the years that one of the most difficult decisions for servicemen and women is figuring out what to do with their homes when it’s time to move.
If this is your first time receiving a PCS (and you’re worried about your house), here are a few suggestions to help you get the most out of your investment.
Selling Your Home Is an Option
A ‘quick’ sale is usually the first consideration that comes to mind for most people because it means you get a cash infusion to fuel your move and the worry of your former home off your hands immediately. However, the illusion of speed is where things often get tricky.
Will there be enough time to sell your house? It could take months to sell a home—and even if you hire a real estate agent, there’s no guarantee that this will make things easier. Trying to sell your home while packing, purging, looking for your next landing point, researching schools for the kids, and taking care to navigate the PCS red tape can take its toll.
- Because servicemen and women don’t have the luxury of time, it’s always recommended to opt for a shorter (albeit expensive) mortgage as that allows you to build more home equity and get more bang for your buck when it’s time to sell.
- You should also consider market conditions: Perhaps you bought the house when the market was riding high, and conditions have since changed for single-family homes in the DMV area.
If you’ll end up taking a loss from the sale, then it’s just not worth it to try and sell your home just yet. However, there is an alternative for service members: Rent your home with the expert skills of a Northern Virginia property management company!
Retain Your Investment
If you’re the ‘Warren Buffet type,’ you’ll want to hold onto your former home: that property represents serious income potential in the DMV rental market—and holding on a sale now can lead to higher returns in the future. You can also use the property as a second home. The question is; Can you afford to pay two mortgages at once?
You could always consider the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) programs to alleviate some of the financial strain, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll qualify for either. That’s where our next suggestion comes in.
Rent It Out
If you want to keep your home, rent could help cover your mortgage costs. The only issue is that you can’t exactly be an active property owner, caretaker, and handler once you’re off on your next adventure. Military life is a full-time career.
A good workaround to this problem would be to work with an experienced, local Northern Virginia property management team that can transform your house into a rental property that’ll make you money long after you’ve paid off the mortgage on it.
- A property manager will screen renters on your behalf, using tried-and-true standards and background checks.
- They’ll handle rent collection, manage renter disputes, tackle maintenance and repairs, undertake inspections, and generate the cash flow and income reports you need to keep an eye on everything from abroad.
- All you have to do is check-in as often or as seldom as you like—and leave the rest to the professionals while enjoying an extra source of income.
To quickly find a property manager, you can look online and shortlist the best candidates. Then, call prospective property managers and ask them what type of properties they manage.
- Confirm that they specialize in finding and managing great renters.
- Find out if they charge extras for other things like quarterly walk-throughs because that could eat into your profits.
- See what properties they have listed and what condition they’re in to get a feeling for how your new rental property will be cared for in your absence.
The most important thing is to find a Northern Virginia property management company that you’re comfortable working with. This will give you peace of mind knowing that your property is taken care of so that you can focus on settling into your new station.
Moving to a new area can be an overwhelming experience as a military service member, especially if you have a family. The biggest consideration of all is your house, which is a valuable investment that’s worth holding onto—especially in the current climate.
Working with property management services to rent out your former home is a viable and quick solution that could help you make the most of your investment. The right full-service property management company will handle everything from advertising and screening to maintenance and inspections so that you can focus on your new assignment.
Want to learn more about how we serve you as the property owner? Investigate our free resources or get in touch with us to see how we can help make your move a breeze.