The Real Estate Market –Choices, Choices, Choices

At Work on Our House

I do not claim to be a real estate expert but after 18 moves there is a bit of personal experience to rely on and with our rather volatile housing market there are many decisions to be made during this PCS season! We have lived in government housing, in apartments, rented housing and owned housing in many different areas and market conditions.

How do you choose whether to live in military housing, rent a place for the family or buy a home at that next location? We rented apartments for our first few locations based on our needs and the short tours we faced during pilot training. We lived in 3 places in 15 months and we looked for places that were convenient and met our budget. We did make mistakes based on our inexperience but they also bring up a few, “remember that horrible place” laughs as we talk about experiences with others. We then received orders for a rather remote location with little housing available so we happily took some rather old military housing as our first after pilot training location.

If you decide to buy you should first consider that if you currently own a home can I sell it? That made a big difference for us as we got ready to leave sunny Lubbock, Texas in the 80s heading to Scott AFB. The timing of the PCS orders did not help (late winter) but the worst part was the closing of several commercial companies that impacted the local economy and put hundreds of houses on the market at the same time as ours. The relocated employees sold their houses to the corporations involved and the companies in some cases then placed them on the market at a loss. UGH! So our sale was delayed by a couple of months and we decided to not buy at the next location while that settled down.

We checked the housing list and found that we had a couple of months to wait so we left the family in the house at Lubbock while it sold and I hung out in the Q for a short time waiting for the house! Do be aware that once you accept a military house that your housing allowance/BAH stops for the family still in the house at the previous location. We also heard that the military unit I was assigned to had been told it was moving south to the Panhandle of Florida so buying became even less attractive due to a possible short assignment (it turned out to be 3 years later but it did happen). So we left base housing very excited about our next location with an oceanside view! The on base stay had also allowed us to save some funds for that critical down payment as well.

We came within a mile or two of the beach at Hurlburt Field when we saw a new home and expecting a long tour and possibly a return tour we purchased it. It was a conscious decision based on those expectations and our location, market conditions and our wish to own a home again! Well, less than 20 months later I had orders to Iceland and we had a new decision to make! Do we sell (possibly at a loss due to the short time of ownership) or keep the house and hope to come back to it? We elected to keep the house due to its location and rented it from overseas with a property management firm as we wouldn’t be close enough to watch it. We rented it for over 5 years before a 3d PCS to a different location indicated that we might not go back to it while on active duty.

We then lived in military housing due to the mission requirements but still drove through area neighborhoods looking at houses we liked and waited for the day we could buy once again. That day arrived when we retired but before settling into a location and a home we lived for a short time in an apartment while job hunting. We had not stayed in an apartment since pilot training and we felt like college kids again.

When we did find the right post Air Force job and location we spent a month looking for a house and it was great to be specific on what we wanted and have the time to look! We have been in place now for 5+ years and we are certainly enjoying the opportunity to landscape, update, add to, etc! The pride of ownership is wonderful and we hope you have the same opportunity!

While choosing where to live check out all of our different categories of housing at MilitaryAvenue . We have categories for Apartments, Apartment and Rental Home Locators, House Rentals, Real Estate Agents and FSBO. If you are trying to sell a house make sure your real estate agent is listed on MilitaryAvenue too!byColonel KonTuesday, July 01, 2008Military Life:,,,,,,

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