New Jersey is home to bases from the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. In fact the only branch of the armed forces without a base in New Jersey is the United States Marine Corp.
With PCS (permanent change of station) occurring roughly every three years this means many service members and their families are moving into and out of New Jersey. (For those not familiar with military jargon PCS is the specific term for military personnel being transferred to a new base.) Peak PCS season is mid-May through August. As we are approaching that time this post is prudent for service members preparing to move into or out of New Jersey to their new assignment.
Buying a Home as Active Duty Military Personnel can be a smart decision. It allows you more choice in school district for your children. It gives you an investment asset that can increase in value during the course of your current tour. It also allows you the freedom to use the property as you wish, instead of how your landlord allows. Obviously as an active duty service member you and your family have different time frames for purchase/sale and needs from the professionals working on your team. It is important that the professionals you work with understand those needs and how to serve them.
Is Buying a Home at a Duty Station Common?
According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors early and mid-career service members buy their first home, on average, 6 years earlier than their civilian counterparts! Service members also buy single family homes at a higher rate than their civilian peers.
What leads to this higher purchase rate among service members? The most obvious is the qualification for a VA loan after 181 days of active service during peacetime or 90 days during wartime. Many service members take advantage of their VA loan while still in the service to purchase a home for their family in the vicinity of their duty station. For those in the National Guard or Reserves the minimum service time is 6 years. This still allows those in the National Guard or Reserves to buy homes earlier than their civilian peers.
As we move into peak PCS season this blog will publish a series of posts about the process of buying a home as an active duty service member. The next installment will look at the process of closing on a property with a VA loan. Following that we will have a post on choosing the right professionals to work with when buying a home. We will then have a post on being a tenant as an active duty service member. Finally, we will conclude the series with a post bringing the whole process of buying or selling a home together.
Buying a home is a major decision and is likely to be among the largest, if not the largest, financial purchase a person, military or civilian, will make in their life. From signing the purchase contract through closing it is important to make sure your rights are protected. For service members in particular, who are unlikely to be natives to New Jersey, it is important to make sure your legal rights are protected.
Please contact us today to get your New Jersey real estate questions answered.