Moving Tips for Military Families
September 9, 2019
Sharing tips, experiences, and advice is imperative to any client-agent relationship, especially those that involve military veterans and working service members. We spoke to some of these veterans and to real estate professionals for tips on creating a smooth and seamless moving experience.
Tips to Share With Clients
Find a real estate professional you trust. “When you receive your Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders, it’s imperative to establish a solid and realistic timeline for your move and when you need or want to be in your new home,” says Justin Candelaria, a former Army officer who’s now a sales associate with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties in Dunwoody, Ga.
An agent can provide several items to make a veteran’s move less stressful, including local market conditions and a purchase timeline, Candelaria says. “This information helps build your plan for house-hunting trips, getting your VA loan or other financing options in place, and determining how the process will be handled from contract to close,” he says. In other words, these measures can help when determining whether your client will be local during the process or still out of state, coordinating household goods, planning for temporary storage of those goods if necessary, and finding temporary housing if required, Candelaria adds.
Store important documents, and keep them easily accessible. Jameson Smith, an Army veteran and Quicken Loans® agent relationship manager, is no stranger to military relocations. “Always secure all your legal documents in a separate area that is easy to access and look up,” Smith suggests. “During a move, many items get displaced. If you’re using a VA loan, you’ll need access to documents like your Social Security card and DD-214.”
Avoid stocking up on household items. Save impulse purchases and buying in bulk until after your move. “Do not replenish liquids like cleaners or cooking oils the month or two before your move,” says Ron Webster, also an Army veteran and Quicken Loans® agent relationship manager. “You can’t pack them, and you might feel bad about having to leave them behind; they aren’t cheap.”
Snap photos and keep them for your records. It’s easy for belongings to get damaged or lost in the moving process. “Inventory your belongings being packed by taking photographs; it’s a lot quicker and easier,” says Webster. “If anything goes missing or gets damaged you have a record of the item and the condition it was in.”
Tips for Real Estate Professionals
Familiarize yourself with individual situations. “I don’t think there is an extreme difference for helping a military family find their new home than there is for any other family in the sense of wants and needs,” Candelaria says. “They have a lot of basics down, but it’s still extremely stressful for them to pick up and move every two to four years to a completely different state,” he adds. “Therefore, understanding their moving timelines and requirements, knowing the military process and jargon for PCSing, and having experience with VA loans is a must to help ease the homebuying process and gain their trust. If you didn’t serve in the military and conduct a PCS move yourself, I strongly encourage getting your Military Relocation Professional designation to help you better understand the process and jargon in order to deliver an exceptional moving experience.”
Offer financial advice wisely. Many clients will look to you for mortgage advice. “If they are an active-duty family, they likely won’t be in the home but for a few years,” says Steve Murray, a Navy veteran and Quicken Loans® agent relationship manager. “Adjustable-rate and even interest-only loans make more sense.”
Step up your communication game. When working with married couples, Murray also suggests prioritizing communication. “The agent will often deal with just one spouse, as the other may be deployed, and that can make communication tough,” he says.