How Real Estate Agents can Better Assist Military Home Buyers

Lauren Schneider
REALTOR®/Owner Military Home Search


It’s important for real estate professionals to consider all the needs of their clients. When clients are members of the military, there are many factors to consider throughout the home purchasing process that might not be as important (or relevant) to a civilian buyer. With special potential financing options, benefits, and unique lifestyle requirements associated with military membership, agents need to be knowledgeable to be helpful. Helping military home buyers make informed decisions means asking the right questions, anticipating issues, and doing your research.

VA Knowledge and Experience

While not every buyer chooses to utilize a VA loan, an agent should be prepared to assist a buyer that will use this benefit. An agent won’t be processing the loan (and they should be able to refer a few reputable VA lenders), but there are a lot of little bits of knowledge that go into making the buying process go by smoothly for a VA buyer.

Agents that understand the VA’s Minimum Property Requirements may be able to tell their client that a home has a chance of not passing the appraisal and communicate that this may delay the process. Knowing that condo communities must be approved by the VA means an agent will search for that approval before showing them the property.

For many military buyers, time is of the essence. Being able to see delays before they happen will help them achieve their goal before their deadline. Even if a buyer is not in a time-sensitive buying situation, it’s still important to conduct business in an efficient manner.

Understand Their Unique Situation

Many military households move around on a relatively regular basis, and some may even move annually. It’s up to the home buyer to decide whether buying a home is right for them, but agents can help them make that decision by educating them about the home buying process, as well as what their options may be when/if they need to move in the relatively-near future. Depending on the type of loan they want to use, they may need to consider things like minimum occupancy requirements.

Once a potential buyer understands what’s involved with purchasing a home, it’s possible they may decide not to buy after all. There may be situations in which the benefits of homeownership do not outweigh the potential drawbacks or fears a buyer might have. If an agent is truly on the side of their client, they should not pressure them to buy a home.

Military personnel must consider a variety of issues when trying to decide which type of home to buy. Real estate agents may bring up these issues with home buyers to help them decide what type of home is right for them. For example, a person who is anticipating deployment soon may want to consider an easy to maintain home or a newer home if they would prefer not to have their household deal with regular repairs and maintenance while they are gone. Additionally, military members are expected to report for duty in a timely fashion and on a consistent basis. Buying a home within easy access of their station makes getting to work on time easier. Let them know it’s important to take into consideration traffic patterns and distance before deciding on a home, and encourage them to test out the commute before making a decision.

Asking questions and getting to know your clients can help identify all of the variables involved in determining what can best fit an individual or household’s needs.

Military personnel face special issues when buying a home, but the underlying principles of helping a client are still the same. The bottom line is that it’s important to understand the issues that may affect your clients. The more you can educate your clients about their particular situation, the more valuable you’ll be to them — regardless of whether or not they decide buying is right for them.