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Debt To Income Ratio Living On Base    Debt Service to Income Ratio Living Off Base

The very first question should be why? Why do you need to buy a house while you’re in the military? Forget what the Realtors and Mortgage industry write and say; their motivated to make a sale and could care-less if you PCS in three years owing more than the fair market value of your house. Two words for active duty service-members who are considering buying a house, “Base Housing.

Buying a house is a big commitment of time, money and resources. We recommend service-members do a great deal of “independent” (from people without a vested interest in you signing on the bottom line) research before ever buying a house. Yes there may be a long waiting list for base housing, renting a house is a good alternative. And no, renting is not throwing your money away. Home ownership is expensive, in most every case more expensive versus renting. If buying a house is a want, which for most servicemembers it is, we recommend you re-evaluate your Values, Goals and Sacrifices and see a good financial consultant.

Do you know your State Laws and Statutes for homeowners who do a short-sale or their home goes into foreclosure? Do you understand what can happen in a “Recourse” State to a homeowner with a “Deficiency” balance that is owed?

We could go on all day offering reasons why service-members shouldn’t buy a house. We could mention the tens of thousands of service-members that had to PCS and now have a foreclosure or a bankruptcy after a short-sale deficiency balance owed, and now on their credit report. You know, the one’s that said it would never happen to them, that they are too smart because their relative is in the real estate business. We could talk about the thousands of savvy military-lifers and their family (with respect) who never bought a house and have loads of financial resources because of their financial wisdom. The wise service-members who lived in base housing for many years enjoying their benefits.

If you still want to buy a house then do it the right way. Complete our Home Buying Questionnaire that is attached to this section and see if you’re ready.

We recommend you establish and maintain your household finances based only on the income of the service-member. This will greatly improve your financial success and goal achievement.

Valid reasons for service-members to buy a house:
  • Separating within the next five years and plan to maintain residence in the house
  • No base-housing or local rentals available for at least 12- months
  • For quality of life and you won’t PCS for at least five-years
Not a big list is it.

For service-members a single family brick and mortar dwellings should not be purchased as an investment. If you want to learn how to invest in real estate, take investment classes and learn about REITS.

Preparing for a house purchase:
  • Know your Values, Goals and Sacrifices, for details read our books
  • Establish sound financial habits by using a monthly spending plan
  • Have a fully funded revolving savings account and fully funded emergency account of at-least one months gross income with monthly scheduled allotments and these accounts will be fully funded after the home purchase
  • All unsecured (credit cards, personal loans) debts paid-off
  • Pull all three credit reports and scores (myfico.com) review your current credit standing. If your FICO scores average are not above 720 don’t buy a house, wait until you have improved your credit rating and then re-evaluate
  • Have you completed our Home Buying Questionnaire, if not do it. The questionnaire covers much more that we won’t add here
  • You will need to get Pre-approved (which is better than pre-qualified) from a mortgage broker, bank or financial lending institution This will require a laundry list of financial documents
  • You may want to take advantage of the VA loan which is a great benefit for servicemembers, but remember just because they approve you for a loan doesn’t mean you are prepared or should buy a home. The VA has very low standards to meet for service-members, which means you could have a lot of debt and still qualify for a VA loan, which could be a recipe for financial disaster
  • You will need to find a local real estate agent to work with who will find homes that meet your price range and house preferences
  • See the counselors on base at the base family resource center. Get information on the local schools, local resources, neighborhoods, home buying classes, etc.
  • Read “Buying Your First Home” Nolo
There is a list of a hundred items we need to put here but we wanted to motivate and influence you to do your due diligence. We recommend you live in an area for at least one year before you ever consider buying a house.

Service-members are marketed aggressively by the housing industry. The entire realestate industry is based on commission; they only make money when they sell, and will tell you anything to make a sale. It is up to you to make the right decisions for you and your family. Financial stress can impact every part of a service-members life, from family, career, to being mission-ready. Be patient while you gain knowledge and information; make sure your choice is based on facts and not emotions.

Remember: Never take financial advice from anyone who has a vested interest in you signing on the bottom line, President, Phillip Day

TSP Payday - Millionaire
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Buying a House


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