Congratulations on becoming military homebuyers! Whether this is your first home purchase, or one of many, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you prepare to take this exciting step.

1. Take advantage of VA Home Loans

If you are a military family, you almost certainly qualify for a VA Home Loan. This is a huge benefit that you should absolutely take advantage of if you can. VA Loans offer very low interest rates and even 0% downpayment for those who qualify. And you can utilize this program more than once! Take the time to learn all of your benefits so you can utilize them to your family’s greatest money-saving gain.  Shop lenders! Not always do the corporate bank lenders offer the best loan products or best interest rates. Ask your agent if there is a local lender they have had success doing business with and totally trust to have your best interest at heart! This is HUGE! If your lender stinks the whole transaction will be much more painful than it needs to be!

2. Save save save!

Even if you qualify for a VA Loan with a 0% down payment, buying a home and moving a family is riddled with hidden costs. Earnest money, closing costs, insurance, appliances, and repairs/improvements are just a few things that could add thousands of unexpected dollars to your move. Careful planning can help prepare you for these costs. Hopefully you’ve been saving already, but it’s never too late to start! Set aside as much as you can each month with the goal of buying a home. Keep detailed lists and spreadsheets of all anticipated costs, with wiggle room for anything that might pop up unexpectedly. Extra diligence and organization can keep the panic out of the homebuying process.

3. Consider working with a military relocation specialist

A military relocation specialist is a realtor who is passionate about serving military families. They are specially certified in managing the complexities of a military move. They will really go the extra mile to ensure your homebuying process is as smooth and painless as possible!

4. Spend some time getting to know your new community

If you are moving to a new duty station, start researching your new community now. What schools do you want your kids to go to? What neighborhoods get the best reviews? Do you want to live on base, or off? What kind of support already exists for military families there? A move to a new place can feel much less daunting when you know what you’re getting into. Try to find at least one thing for each family member to look forward to about the new city! Maybe a great sports program, excellent restaurants, lots of outdoor activities, or a fantastic museum. Getting your family exciting about your move can cut down on stress and add some fun to the process.

5. Don’t make an big financial decisions while you’re under contract.

Once you are locked into your loan, don’t make any large purchases. That includes cars, appliances, and anything else outside of ordinary spending. Don’t open any new lines of credit, and don’t try to take out or co-sign any new loans. This keeps your credit in good standing and protects your closing!