If you’re looking to PCS this summer, you’re faced with a number of challenges. Housing prices are hitting all time highs, rent certainly isn’t getting cheaper, and gas prices seem to be driving up the cost of nearly everything. With the average U.S. monthly rent approaching $2,000 and some cities seeing nearly 30% year-over-year rent increases, finding an affordable home during a PCS may be a challenge this summer. We’ll go through a few cost-saving housing strategies that may help you navigate this PCS season:
- Consider living with roommates: Single? Living the geo-bachelor life? Living with a roommate can save you over $500 a month on average, with multiple roommates saving you even more. If you’re really into it, house hacking can also save you money while building home equity — you can purchase a place and live with roommates to help offset the mortgage cost. If you know someone that is heading to the same base as you, it might be worth considering living together to save money during a tough housing market. Don’t know anyone? Try sites such as Roomster or Craigslist or offer your spare room up on Facebook Marketplace.
- Consider the school district: If you’re looking to rent and you don’t have school-aged children, you could save some money by searching in a less than ideal school district. Buying in such an area may find you some cost savings as well, but may not produce the results you want when you sell or rent out your home home.
- Buying? Consider an ARM: While I won’t advocate in favor or against pursuing this option, I will say that with mortgage rates rising, ARMs are becoming a popular option. ARMs offer home purchasers the flexibility of lower rates initially with rates adjusting later on in the life of the loan. One con of this option: if rates continue to rise in the future, you may have trouble with your mortgage payment in the future. Please exercise caution if considering an ARM (there are actually VA ARM options if you look into them).
- Ditch underutilized amenities: Were you considering paying a premium for a place with a gym or a pool? Maybe the apartment complex you used to live in had amenities that you never really used. When looking at housing options this PCS, cutting back on a few amenities in favor of price could save you a lot of money over time.
- Consider living on post: Living on post is a great opportunity to save money in a tough housing market as it might end up being significantly cheaper than off-post housing, especially if you have a large family. If you’re looking to get on the waiting list for on-post housing, act early in your PCS. You may experience delays given an increase in recent demand. On-post housing also may offer some of the amenities you’d sacrifice elsewhere such as pools, recreational facilities, and gyms.
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