When I shop for cars, I dread it. We pull up to the dealer parking lot and I immediately get anxiety. This is because I liken most salespersons to vultures. I know I am being dramatic, but a few bad experiences have left a bad taste in my mouth. I am happy to report that both times I purchased a home, this wasn’t the case.
My advice for purchasing a home under your BAH is really simple: stick to it. Don’t be swayed by the loan amount you can qualify for or allow agents to show you anything outside of your agreed upon maximum. If you are pushed by your real estate agent or lender to go higher, they don’t have your best interests at heart. Your financial health is important, not their commissions.
This is something that Caliber Home Loans has received praise for and one of the reasons they have been given the Military Friendly Brand ® five years in a row. Their approach to serving those who serve is simple: doing the right thing. Their military lending division is also filled with employees that are veterans or currently serving in the reserves. The culture and climate of the company is big on high quality customer service and that includes ensuring that the military family is taken care of.
When I used to talk to new Coast Guard spouses before basic training graduation, we always advised them to find homes at least $300 under their BAH. This allowed for utilities to be covered within BAH and allowing take home pay to be utilized for day to day living. This is important especially for junior enlisted folks, even if they are married. With statistics showing a continual high unemployment rate of military spouses, it’s important to budget as if there is only one income.
I firmly believe this mindset is important to continue even when you buy a house. You may be living somewhere amazing where your spouse has a great paying job, but that can quickly change. By always budgeting family living within the servicemembers total pay, everything extra allows for savings and fun.
One of the reasons this is so important especially when purchasing a home is because of the host of unknowns. Although you will receive an inspection, things break all the time. Murphy’s Law anyone? This means you could be completely within budget and the Air Conditioning can go. Without insurance that can cost thousands to repair or replace. By ensuring you are budgeting conservatively, it allows for the “what if” fund to flourish and your anxiety over it to diminish.
When searching for homes, make sure you and your spouse are a team. Decide early on after budgeting what you want and do your best to not divvy from that. It’s easy to get sidetracked and excited about a garage when you really need a yard for your kids and dogs.
In the end, as long as you budget wisely and stick to your goals – that perfect house is probably waiting for you. And shameless plug, Caliber Home Loans will have the perfect lender to help you buy it. Happy home shopping!
Written by: Jessica Manfre
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