The PCSing Spouse

Where Spouses Help Spouses

Tag: buying

Remodeling at a New Duty Station

Truth is I wrote and re-wrote this blog post a few times. I wanted to paint this picture of an amazing DIY home remodel that worked flawlessly. Honestly that is not what is happening in our home currently. We are working with a military budget, and on a military time frame. So instead I will tell you a little bit about my projects, give you my current tips and when we finally finish maybe I will share a fabulous update.

We moved to our most recent duty station with no intention of buying a fixer upper. We really had considered living on base again. However a VERY long wait list changed our minds. As we drove around and got familiar with our new town we found one location that just stood out to us as “the area we want to live”.

So we did it, we bought a house right in our desired neighborhood. It looked nice from the outside, ok from in the inside, but we saw a lot of potential in our new home. 30 long days later it was time to move in.

Once the previous owners things were out we could see how damaged the house truly was we knew it was going to take a lot of sweat equity to make this house a home.

The whole house needed new carpet, every single room. The whole house needs new paint, every single room. The back sliding door no longer locked or shut completely. The garage door has been rammed a few times and is all bent up. The fridge stopped working the first week we were there. The whole house needed new blinds, every single room. Door frames were broken. The living room had this weird built in entertainment center over the fireplace that was designed for one of those old tube televisions. The legit hardwood floors in the kitchen have water damage and need sanded. Honestly the list could go on. Now some of these things we were prepared for, others came as huge surprise after closing.

While our house is slowly becoming a home, it is going to take us awhile to finish. This has been the most challenging, frustrating, expensive, learning experience.

So my tips for any of you headed out to your next station and considering a fixer upper.

  1. Don’t. It is not as easy as it looks on Fixer Upper or any other HGTV show.
  2. If you do, make a plan. List all the things you want to do and place them in order of priority.
  3. Create a backup plan. Find a handyman or a contractor willing to do the jobs you can’t.
  4. Be prepared that the job can and will be put on hold for TDY, or other Military related reasons. (2 week TDY right in the middle of laying hardwood floors happening right here)
  5. Youtube.com will become your new best friend. Don’t know how to spray texture on walls? There is a youtube video that will give you step by step instructions. How do we know what we are doing? We don’t but we are not afraid to learn from someone who does.
  6. Try to enjoy it by being hands on. There is nothing more satisfying than realizing you are capable of more things than you ever thought you’d be able to do. I measured, cut, and hung 90% of the sheetrock in my new family room. It is so rewarding to be able to say I DID THAT!!!
  7. Be prepared to learn about yourself, your spouse and your marriage. Remodels/DIY projects/Home Repairs are not easy. They are stressful, time consuming and can be financially straining. Communication is key, talk it out. You will learn what each of you and your pocketbook can handle and don’t be afraid to take a step back and re-access.

Whatever you decide to do whether it be renting, base housing, or buying I just want to say Welcome Home!  

***Welcome to our newest blog teammate Alysha Lutz!!!

PCSing Checklist

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It can be intimidating when you find out you’re being stationed somewhere new. Even more so, for those of us who have kids. Because of this, I decided to create a checklist of all the things to do when arriving at a new duty station.

 

  1. Housing. Are you planning to live on post or off? If you’re planning to live on, call the housing office immediately when you get orders. Some places will let you sit on the waiting list before you actually arrive. If living off post, decide if you want to rent or buy. If you need help deciding, see my other post on the pros and cons of buying. If you are planning to buy, it’s best to set up your loan prequalificaton and paper work before you leave your current location. This way all of your documents can already be in and you don’t have to worry about it as much in transit. Also, contact a realtor and let them know you’re coming so they can start getting listings together.
  2. Transportation. You won’t be able to make any other plans until you set up your transportation. Are you going to drive? Are you OCONUS and require shipping a vehicle? Do you need a flight? If you are shipping a car make sure you don’t have any recalls on it immediately. Also, consider how you plan to transport your pets and what the out of pocket expense will be to you, if any.
  3. Movers! In some areas, the moving companies need as much notice as possible. We had a friend wait until the last minute and we ended up having to meet his movers for him after he had already reported to the next post.
  4. Finance. Visit finance and make sure you understand how your lodging assistance is processed. (TLA or TLE for Army) Do you need a government travel card? Do you know the rules of how to use it?
  5. Kids. If you have young kids call the Childcare Centers ASAP. If there is a waitlist, many places will let you go ahead and get on it before arriving.
  6. Job. If you’re a working spouse, look into the job market in the area. Update your LinkedIn to that location and make it searchable. This way the jobs may find you before you even apply.
  7. Network with other wives! Get on the Facebook pages for the area and start asking questions. Ask about good areas to live. What’s fun to do? School? In general, wives love to help other wives.

 

Comment on the Post with your Pro-Tips!

If you need help getting prequalified for a home loan, I can help! Just contact me on here or through my work website. https://www.thefederalsavingsbank.com/bankers/christina-baker

Using Your VA Loan

 

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The VA loan is an awesome tool available to military members. But, buying a home is a scary and confusing process for a lot of us.  What follows  is a quick rundown what the VA loan is and how you can use it.

Lifetime Access

You can use it more than once! Although, you do get the best deal the first time you use it.

0% Down

Traditional loans typically require a buyer to provide at least 3 to 5 percent of the homes
price as a down payment. For many first-time home buyers, supplying this amount of money upfront may not be feasible. The VA Loan does not require a down payment. Another big plus is that there is no mortgage insurance required.
Refinancing
VA Allows up to 100% cash-out refinancing for currently owned homes.
VA Streamline Refinance

Veterans with current VA mortgage can refinance to a lower rate without appraisal or employment verification.
First Time Buyers
The best financing available for first-time home buyers.

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Buying vs. Renting

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When it comes to buying vs. renting the choice can be hard. It really depends on your personal finances and what your goals are. Here are some quick pros and cons to consider.

Renting/On post Pros

  • No paying for your own maintenance
  • Free yard care on post
  • No monetary commitment when you PCS aside from deposits.

Renting Cons

  • Rental payments may increase when you renew lease
  • Landlord approval needed for any
    changes
  • No capitalization; your money
    disappears forever
  •  Rental is temporary

Buying Pros

  • Excellent tax deductions for your mortgage on interest paid
  • Mortgage payments could be fixed Decorate and make changes, without
    prior approval
  • The value of your property may increase
    over time
  • Your house will become a home, not a
    temporary living situation; you are not at
    the mercy of a landlord
  • Rental income when you PCS

Buying Cons

  • May not sell immediately when you PCS
  • Having renters can be good or bad
  • All maintenance is on you

Talk to your family about which pros are most important to you!

*All opinions on this site are our own and do not constitute legal advice.

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The Journey Begins

Welcome!

This site was created by two seasoned military spouses trying to make the Spouse Life less confusing. It has evolved into a huge network of spouses willing to provide their knowledge and support to help each other. If you’ve got a problem, we’ve got the answer. If you’ve got answers, please consider joining the ranks and contributing!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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