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Tips for Finding Your Next Rental Home 

While searching for your next place to live can be a big chore after a PCS move, the bright side is that it’s temporary. With a rental, you’re looking for a property to meet your needs for the next few years, not a more significant financial investment like buying a home that you plan to hold onto for a decade.

But temporary doesn’t mean that aesthetics and convenience don’t matter. You still want the best bang for your buck and a solid place to call home, even if it’s for a short time.

If you’re looking for a few tips to find your next rental home, not to worry, we’re here to help!  

 

As You Research the Area

 

Unless you’re revisiting a previous duty station, you’re PCSing to somewhere new and unknown. The best thing you can do before starting your rental hunt is to get familiar with your new town. 

Details to think about

  • Where do most military families live?
  • What areas are considered safer than others? 
  • Do most people spend beyond their BAH? 
  • What is the traffic like?  
  • Where are the best schools? 

 

Keep Your BAH in Mind

 

Your Basic Housing Allowance is not your budget. It is, however, a pretty good representation of what you can expect to pay for rent, but it doesn’t account for utilities or your housing priorities. It can be helpful to get an estimate of utilities for the area and conduct a quick search of properties online before you set your rental home budget. Are there any appealing rentals in your desired location within the BAH rate? 

With your research findings, you can broaden your scope and prioritize where you want your money to go and how these new expected expenses fit into your larger financial goals. Some prefer to live well under BAH to use the pocketed amount to get out of debt or increase their savings.

In some locations, this can be incredibly difficult, and you may find that for these next few years, you’re willing to spend $200 over BAH to live closer to the base, have a larger home, or reside in your desired school district. 

 

Create a Home Priority List

 

Without an established list of priorities, it’s far easier to get distracted or influenced by a home that doesn’t quite meet your needs. Consider putting the following on your list. 

1. Commute Time

How important is a quick commute to work for the service member? The area near the base may or may not offer homes that meet your family’s needs. Many duty stations near a big city don’t always have a variety of rental options. Military families open up to the idea of a longer commute to spend less money on rent or find a larger home with a yard. 

2. Amenities

Do you need a two-, three-, or four-bedroom home? How important is a single-family home versus a condo or apartment? Then there are extras like a yard, community gym, and pool. Not only should amenities be on your priority list, they should have a tier system themselves.

Considerations like the rental type and the number of rooms are much harder to compromise on, but a community gym, gourmet kitchen, and jacuzzi tub are all amenities you might need to be willing to drop off your list if they compete with higher priorities like location and budget. 

3. School District

If you have kids, then finding a home within a great school district or near a highly-rated private school will likely be on your list of priorities.  This can help you narrow your search. Great Schools and Private School Review are a couple of helpful resources for this step. 

4. Budget

Once you have your list of rental priorities, you can revisit your budget. As mentioned earlier, do you want to live outside your BAH, or are you using this set of orders to spend conservatively and prepare for the future? 

 

Know the Difference Between the SCRA and a Military Clause

 

homeWhy is the difference between the SCRA and the military clause, and why is it necessary for military renters to understand? Every rental agreement comes to an end, whether it’s because the lease is up or (more often than not) you get orders to PCS.

For many of us, that means terminating a lease prematurely. Understandably, early termination can cause a strain and sometimes a tiff with the landlord as they’re trying to protect their rental investment and keep a steady flow of income. This is where the SCRA and military clause come into play. 

The SCRA is a federal law enacted to provide active duty servicemembers legal protections. As it pertains to housing contracts, a clause in the SCRA guarantees military members, including certain groups of activated National Guard and Reserve components, the right to terminate a lease if a set of conditions are met.” –Everything Renters and Landlords Should Know About the SCRA and Military Clause

When certain stipulations are met within the SCRA, the tenant’s lease is terminated 30 days after the first date of the next monthly payment due. 

A military clause, however, is not part of the SCRA and is written into the lease.

Landlords often insert a military clause to accommodate short-notice orders stating that the tenant may terminate their lease prematurely when supplying the landlord with written notice and a copy of their orders 30 days before termination.

This clause does not replace the SCRA. However, because it’s an indication that the landlord is understanding of the military lifestyle, it’s a good idea to request they include this clause in the lease if it isn’t already. 

While there’s freedom in searching for a rental home, knowing that it isn’t a long-term commitment, you’re committing to more than a place to live for the next few years. You’re shopping for a landlord or property management company as well. And as important as it is to find a home that meets your needs, it’s crucial to find a landlord you can communicate with easily.


From MilitaryByOwner Advertising, Inc. 

 

*For more from MBO, visit their Band of Bloggers Author Page.

 

Author

  • MilitaryByOwner Advertising Inc

    In 1999, the owners of MilitaryByOwner Advertising, Inc, David, (USMC,Ret.) and Sharon Gran, were stationed in Germany faced with a move back to the states. This move triggered the idea of linking relocating military families. In 2000, MilitaryByOwner was launched. Our website offers advertisements of homes for sale or rent near US military bases. Our home advertisers connect with other families in need of living near a military base. Our business advertisers provide valuable resources to help make a PCS move a smooth one. For more information, please email listings@militarybyowner.com. We strive to provide superior customer service by being available for questions through our live chat online, email and office hours. The majority of our staff is either military spouses or dependents who can relate to the joy and stress of a military move. Don’t hesitate to contact us by phone, email or live chat!

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