Subscribe by Email

Your email:

Follow Me

MilitaryByOwner Blog

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

5% Cut to BAH on the Table

Veterans and Congress 2 resized 600

The Defense Authorization Bill for 2015 authorizes a total budget of approximately $600 billion for national security programs and the budgetary appropriates for the Department of Defense. The House of Representatives have passed the bill, and the bill is currently on the Senate calendar. The bill reflects cuts of approximately 5-percent to the military basic housing allowance (BAH). Earlier this year, we looked at a proposal of a locality allowance to replace BAH that would tie rental rates directly to the cost of living rather than the actual costs of living in a particular area, but that proposal seems to be off the table, at least for now. Cuts to military benefits, meanwhile, are taking a more prominent seat at the table in Congress.

8 Reasons To Stage Your Home for Sale with Actors

Home Manager resized 600

I heard a story on NPR earlier this week that sounded too ridiculous to be true: Home staging companies are now using home managers to provide homes staged for sale with the “lived in” look. Given that staging generally requires the exact opposite—home sellers remove all photos, trinkets, dad’s favorite comfy chair, and any other artifact that could suggest that anyone other than the home buying prospect walking through your door may possibly live in the home--I was skeptical. Much to my surprise, though generally limited to the luxury home market, I found that home staging with people akin to actors, otherwise known as “home managers,” actually presents a viable option for military families. If you’re preparing for a PCS either this year or next and are considering selling your home, then read on, my fellow skeptical military families.

Migrant Children Living on Military Bases

Army Base resized 600

News reports for the last couple of weeks indicate that migrant children are now taking up residence on military installations as of June 2014. As an immigrant who relocated to the US at the age of 14, the average age of the massive influx of migrant children currently crossing the southern border, I can tell you that most of the new arrivals are likely as oblivious of the prospective negative consequences of their actions as I was of the cultural ramifications of trans-Atlantic relocation.

MCEC National Training Seminar on Military Children Next Week

MCEC resized 600

Pentagon leadership, including General Martin Dempsey, General Mark Welsh, General John Paxton, and Admiral William McRaven among others, will join with The College Board, the Department of Education, and additional advocates of education at the 2014 National Training Seminar in Washington, DC, next week. Hosted by the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC), a non-profit organization that supports the unique needs of military children through research, conferences, and other advocacy work, the seminar will address current issues relevant to the almost 4 million military-affiliated children.

404 New Homes on Hurlburt AFB

7.2.14. Hurlburt resized 600

If you are a military homeowner with a rental property near Hurlburt AFB or Eglin AFB in the Destin area of Florida, listen up! Hurlburt AFB and its sister base Eglin AFB have plans to expand their on base housing offerings, and Hurlburt just broke ground on construction this month! 


Find Homes at 3 Coast Guard Stations on MilitaryByOwner!

Sitka resized 600

Military By Owner is excited to announce the addition of three new search locations for your next home. If you’re in the Coast Guard or looking for your forever home in a location not in the immediate vicinity of a large base, post, or fort, then make sure to check out our three new Coast Guard Stations. The three new locations are in Virginia, Missouri, and Alaska, and two of them already have some elegant, reasonably priced homes listed, featuring Jacuzzis, whirlpools, finished basements, and modern double-sided fireplaces!

Home Buying: Could you live in 100 sqft?

Hummingbird House resized 600

It’s easy to complain about the size of base housing, the sparse square footage that BAH provides for off-base, and how that sectional sofa only ever fit that one house three duty stations ago, but what if you had to live in 100 square foot? One company in British Columbia, Canada, believes that their 100 sq ft prefabricated homes may help solve not only the world housing shortage, but also help combat the rising cost of housing. Estimating that their homes will cost between $20 and $90 per square foot, depending on the location in which they are built (South American countries such as Ecuador fall into the $20 range), the homes would cost as little as $2,000, and as much as $9,000. Oh, thrifty militaries unite! Would you go so far as to live in 100 sq ft to save money?

Should I Market My Home to Male Spouses?

Changing Face of Military resized 600

A Pew Report released this month showed that the traditional roles of men and women are changing. Over 2 million U.S. households now have stay-at-home dads. Though much of this is a result of either a disability or transitional period, such as the father is currently in school or between careers, the number of stay-at-home dads has increased steadily since 1989.  While almost three-quarters of women who stay-at-home cite caring for the family as their main reason, one-quarter of men report the same. That means that approximately 500,000 men have chosen to stay at home to raise their children. In a population of over 300,000 million, that number isn’t large, but it represents a significant growth in the changing face of families.

Homeownership and End of American Dream

6.19.14. Homeownership resized 600Social media and the blogosphere are rife with controversy over military budget cuts and prospective cuts to basic housing allowance (BAH). It seems like there’s a lot to fret over, but for the average service member with a median age of approximately 28 years old, there’s at least something to be happy about, too.  While our military families are compelled to move every two to three years, we are fortunate to receive a housing allowance. That BAH provides military families with the stability of knowing that they can live comfortably at each assignment without resorting to complex roommate situations or a need to rely on mom and dad. Their 28-year-old civilian counterparts, meanwhile, are not enjoying the same experience.
FINRA Investor Education Foundation recently concluded a study on the financial status and literacy levels of Millenials, those aged 20-34. They concluded that Millenials are struggling more financially than the past two previous generations did when entering the work force and adulthood. While they explained that Millenials clearly suffered financially from the double-whammy of student loan debt and a weak job market upon graduation, they also conclude that low levels of financial literacy have contributed to the poor economic outlook for this generation. 
Why is this important? Good question. For military family homeowners seeking to sell their home in the next couple of years, it’s important to have an idea of what the home sale market will look like when it’s time to sell. Despite a positive outlook for the housing market last year, the most recent housing reports look dim, suggesting a rebounding housing crisis. The facts that the construction industry reports low confidence for quarter two of 2014 and that the Commerce Department reported that new home construction fell 6-percent in May alone doesn’t help matters either. Given that approximately 36-percent of Millenials currently live at home with mom and dad while many more not only rent, but also rent in shared homes with multiple roommates, means that the likelihood of finding a greater return on your housing investment by renting is more likely.  
To better understand what the future of the housing market looks like, let’s take a look at some key facts about Millenials that come from the FINRA study:  
  • Finances:
    • 65-percent earn less than $50,000 per year compared to 47-percent of all older adults
    • 13-percent are unemployed
    • 36-percent have students loans
    • 31-percent have unpaid medical bills
    • 23-percent spend more than they earn
    • 32-percent have rainy day funds
    • 12-percent don’t use banks at all
    • 34-percent engage in at least three costly credit card behaviors, such as late payments
  • Education:
    • 20-percent are currently in pursuit of a first college degree
    • 25-percent have a college degree
  • Family Life:
    • 36-percent are married
    • 45-percent have children

The latest census data shows that homeownership has steadily declined among younger adults since the early 2000s, and given the financial burden facing Millenials—supporting a family, medical bills, student loans, high rent, unemployment, and little ability to save for a down payment whether as a result of too many bills or poor financial literacy—homeownership may not be in the immediate future for this generation.
And yet, the American Dream is not dead. The Pew Research Foundation suggest that Millenials still see homeownership as a viable option as well as an important step on the path to adulthood; that step may just have to come a little out of order from how it occurred for previous generations. Economists, included the chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders David Crowe, explained to NPR recently that in previous generations, those who lived at home during their 20s and 30s simply represented pent up housing demand. Therefore, they conclude that the 36-percent of Millenials who’ve boomeranged back home will eventually unleash their financial fury on the housing market, triggering a massive influx of all of the savings they’re socking away while paying no rent to their parents into down payments, construction, and general housing supplies.
Given the troubling financial stats we looked at above, let’s prepare for the just in case that doesn’t happen situation. So, if you’re contemplating selling or renting, keep the stability of the military family market in mind; BAH arrives in the bank on a timely basis, and your military Millenial’s are far less likely to turn your 2-bedroom condo into a cozy four roommate crashpad. Want even more security in rent payments? Talk to your property manager about requesting military rental allotments.

Is An ARM Ever a Good Idea?

ARM photo with text resized 600

Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) became synonymous with distressed sales over the past five years of the recession. Even the very term “Adjustable Rate Mortgage” (ARM) now smacks of risk and bad debt. The concept behind ARMs was good: Lock in a low, fixed interest rate for 3, 5, or even 7 years, and by the time the rate readjusts (generally meaning increases) to whichever index rate it is tied to, the borrower will:

All Posts