In the Middle of a Military Move? Here's How to Do it Fast.

When you're in the military, you don't get to decide where you'll live, but it can be exciting to explore new places, especially when your employer covers your moving expenses. But a military move sometimes means a fast move, and that can be hard when you don't know the area. The easiest thing to do would be to rent for a little while and then buy once you’re settled. But maybe you want the kids to have as smooth of a transition as possible. Or maybe you just can’t stand the thought of moving one more time.

The point is, you need to buy a house. Fast. So what do you do?

Do your research before you relocate.

How much can you afford in your new town?

You might be surprised which towns have a higher cost of living. So the question is, what can you actually afford in your new town? That’s the first thing you need to figure out in order to have an informed conversation with a mortgage loan officer about buying a new home.

Read More → How Much House Can I Afford? Like, Really?

Where do you want to live in your new town?

See if you or your spouse can find time for a quick visit to the new city. And talk to other people in the military who live there now or have lived there. If you don't know anyone, seek out information in online forums for military families. Contact a real estate agent before you visit. Tell her what you’re looking for and don’t be afraid to ask her to show you places in different parts of town. After all, location is everything! Make sure you also look up the history of resale values in the neighborhoods you like.

Read More→ Location Is Everything. How to Find a House in a New Town

Are there any region-specific hazards you need to know about?

Different areas of the country have different risks. The South is pretty termite-prone, some states have more radon than others, and beach towns are more likely to get hurricanes. Ask your real estate agent if there’s anything, in particular, you should be aware of. This will be important when it comes to homeowners insurance costs.

Read More→ Mother Nature Can Be Kind of a B&#%*

What if you can't sell your old house?

You found the house! The only problem is yours hasn’t sold yet. Handling two mortgages isn’t an option, so what do you do? You can keep your old home and rent it out. But between moving and starting a new job, becoming a landlord might be a little much. In that case, you can always apply for a bridge loan to help you pay both mortgages until your old house sells. If you have a VA loan, you can contact your lender to find out what your options are.

Can't Sell? Read this. Accidental Landlord: What Do I Need to Do First?

What about the home inspection?

Do your research, not all states require home inspectors to have licenses. In that case, it’s up to you to hire someone who’s qualified.  Remember, this is your chance to learn about your new house, so whatever you do, don’t miss the home inspection. When you're in a hurry, hiring a qualified home inspector is more important than ever.

Cover all the bases. Home Inspections and Appraisals: An Inside Look

So, you ready? As soon as you know you're leaving, make sure you also consider whether it makes more sense to let TMO move you or to DIY and go it alone. If you think you can handle it, you may even make money going the DIY route. Good luck with your move!