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Are We Witnessing the Return to Suburbia?

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As anyone living in and around the National Capital Region can attest, the construction industry has not seen a slowdown—construction on townhouses and apartment buildings, in particular, is flourishing in this busy military heavy market. Apparently the DC area isn’t alone in this trend, as nationwide, over 54,000 new apartments alone hit the market in the first quarter over the year. It seems that building developers read the tea leaves and saw vast growth in the rental market in the years to come.

Neat Homes Garner Bidding Wars

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In the ideal home sale, your home would sell within one month after a tough bidding war between several home buyers, garnering you more than your asking price, leaving you ready to PCS on time with some extra cash in your bank account for your next down payment. How can you wind up in this enviable home selling position? A neat home is a good way to help you garner a bidding war between prospective buyers and help place your home in an optimum selling position. Before we proceed, though, it’s important that you know a couple of key statistics about homes that do well in the market place:    

Is it Time To Invest Near Joint Base San Antonio?

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The San Antonio housing market on Military By Owner is hopping right now during this busy PCS season for military families. Otherwise known as “Military City,” this bustling Texas metropolis is home to several bases including Fort Sam Houston, Randolph AFB, Lackland AFB, and Brooks City Base. This area will soon also become home to a growing cyber security force. U.S. Rep. Pete P. Gallego (D-Alpine, TX) expressed that he was excited that the Department of Defense has clearly recognized the Military City as “Cyber City,” though one can imagine that Fort Meade, MD, may have some issue with that claim.

Do You Need a Military Relocation Specialist?

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As an all-things-real-estate research enthusiast, I was embarrassed to recently realize that of all the times I have worked with real estate agents and property managers for home buying, renting, and property management over the past 8 years, I blindly accepted the term “Military Relocation Specialist.” I assumed it was a legitimate, official designation that indicated the completion of something akin to a boot camp for real estate agents and property managers on what it means to move with the military. I was wrong. Military Relocation Specialist is simply a self-appointed designation insofar as I, despite a complete lack of any real estate credentials beyond sheer enthusiasm and experience, could add the term after my name if I so desired.

What Are Civilian Families Eligible for in Base Housing?

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In our recent blog, we discussed how base housing is opening up to non-military families at installations with occupancy rates of less than 95-percent for a period of 90-days or more. These families are permitted access to many base resources, including playgrounds, dog parks, and chapels; however, at present, they may not access privileges such as the commissary or DODEA schools.

First, Migrant Children and Now Civilians

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An opinion piece in The Washington Post late last year dubbed military installations “the nation’s most exclusive gated communities,” but now these supposedly cushy living arrangements are opening up to all and sundry, and some suggest that this poses a significant security threat. 

5% Cut to BAH on the Table

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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