Buying a home can be stressful, especially if you happen to be in the Armed Forces. Life in the military comes with unique challenges, even for those stationed stateside.
One of these challenges is housing, requiring a special type of realtor, known as an MRP or military relocation professional. Since these realtors specialize in military housing, they’re likely to know a lot more than the average realtor.
However, even military realtors are not genies. You’re going to need to ask questions and voice concerns if you want to make the best of your situation. Whether you’re working with a military realtor in Hawaii, Nebraska, or wherever else you might be stationed, the same is true.
We’ll discuss a few of these questions in this article.
1. How Long Have You Been in Real Estate?
Experience is a huge asset, regardless of what business you’re working in, and real estate is no exception. Therefore, it’s important to ask your agent how long they’ve been in the industry because more experienced real estate agents may know more about navigating the market and getting you the best deal possible.
There’s also the issue of contacts and connections. A lot of businesses benefit from networking. The longer someone has been in a business, the more time they’ve had to meet other professionals who might help them in the future.
2. Have You Worked with Military Families Before, and How Much?
While MRPs are often ideal, some civilian realtors will gladly work for military families. Depending on the area, they may also have a great deal of experience with veterans or active-duty service members.
Don’t be surprised if civilian realtors in Hawaii know quite a bit about helping veterans find homes. Hawaii ranks fifth in veteran population by percentage. Nearly 1 in 10 Hawaiians are veterans.
For your part, it’s best to tell a civilian realtor that you are in the military. With veterans being in such a unique situation with housing, you’ll be doing your realtor a big favor.
You could also search for a military realtor in Hawaii.
3. What Price Range can I Expect?
Before diving into the buying process, you should ask what neighborhoods your realtor serves and what the average price for a home is in that area. In regards to Hawaii, expect the prices to be fairly high.
The Hawaiian Islands are often described as a tropical paradise, and homebuyers have taken notice. The influx of buyers and tourists has led to something called a ‘paradise tax.’ This means that the high demand for homes and other things in Hawaii has led to price hikes.
The average cost of a home in Hawaii differs year to year, but it’s currently estimated to be over $700,000.
Renting is much more affordable, but it’s still pricey, often reaching 1-2 thousand dollars per month. If neither of those is in your budget, you could choose to live on-base.
A. Basic Allowance for Housing and the Prospect of living on base
The military will often provide its recruits with money to help pay for their housing. This is known as a Basic Allowance for Housing, or BAH for short.
Many utilities on base are paid for, repairs and upkeep might be, depending on the circumstances, and most of your day-to-day needs, like groceries, can be found right on the base.
You should note that you won’t get any of your BAH if you choose to live on-base. This may not seem like a big issue, and it often isn’t, but what if you can find a home that costs less than your BAH?
This would allow you to live in your own home while also having a little extra money for yourself or set aside for future issues.
4. What Kind of Paperwork Will This Involve?
Buying or renting a house is a transaction, and most transactions produce some form of paperwork. The simplest example is a receipt, just in case that 98 cent pack of gum is somehow important to your financial records.
For house hunters, the relevant paperwork will likely include documents pertaining to employment and establishing that you have a steady income and aren’t likely to default on the mortgage.
The good news is that since you’re active military, employment shouldn’t be hard to establish. Your commander’s contact information, if it’s required, shouldn’t be a problem, either. Wherever you’ve been stationed, there’s likely a base nearby.
Still, it’s always best to check in with your military realtor, just in case.
5. How Closely Will We be Working?
How much time will the realtor personally spend on your case? A lot of larger businesses tend to delegate much of the work to lower-level employees. Others will refer you to contacts in the industry who might be better suited to your situation.
It could also just be that the realty agency is busy, and your realtor doesn’t have much time to devote to any particular client. However, given the high percentage of veterans in the state, don’t be surprised if a military realtor in Hawaii has a lot on their plate.
If the realtor you end up working with knows what they’re doing, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, it’s best to establish this as soon as possible. If your realtor doesn’t bring this up in the first meeting, ask about it.
What to Ask a Military Realtor in Hawaii
If you’re looking for a military realtor in Hawaii, we can help. Hawaii has a high concentration of veterans and likely also boasts quite a few experienced realtors.
However, finding a military realtor is one thing, but knowing how to make the most of their expertise is another. That’s why we’ve discussed the various questions you should ask in this article.
If you want to know more about military realtors and real estate, please visit our site. In addition, we can tell you about some of the best places to live in Hawaii.