Tips for military members buying a home in HRM.
I have a huge appreciation for members of our military. The commitment and sacrifice they make to defend our rights and our country is more than I can imagine, and I am so thankful for their dedication. Not only are they expected to make sacrifices at work, but also at home, leaving their families for long periods and uprooting their lives whenever a new posting tells them to. That’s why I try to help in my own small way by making the transition into a new home as easy as possible.
So you’ve received a new posting in or around Halifax and have been given the seemingly impossible task of finding and buying a home in only one week. (For those of you not familiar with military transfers, that’s right. One. Week.) I have worked with enough military clients to know how incredibly overwhelming that can be, but let me give you two reassurances. First, you won’t be doing this alone. When I take on a new client, especially military ones, we become a team and, as my team mate, you should know I like to win. This one will be a sprint rather than a marathon but I’ll be there every step of the way. Second, I have worked with well over 50 military clients and every single one of them has left their week-long trip as owners of a new house. I want my 100% success rate to put your mind at ease.
To ensure a similar happy ending, you need to work with a realtor who knows the ins and outs of military transfers. Since things change annually, I make sure I stay up-to-date with the current requirements, like selling price parameters, managing door-to-door moves and so much more.
The house-hunting trip will be a whirlwind, so be prepared. Here’s a look at my typical schedule for the week:
Day 1 - See all the properties we’ve pre-selected. This could be anywhere from five to 30 houses. If you’re new to the city, your list will be on the higher end of that range so I can show you different areas and neighbourhoods. Expect a crazy day and wear comfortable shoes that slip on and off easily. By the end of the day, we will have narrowed it down to a handful to shortlist.
Day 2 - Revisits to shortlisted properties. After you’ve had a chance to think about your favourites from Day 1, we’ll go back to see them a second time to take a closer look. Seeing a smaller selection today will allow you more mental room to consider your choices. We may also fit in visits to any new listings that have just come onto the market. By the end of the day, you’ll have chosen the property you want.
Day 3 - Offer day. We’ll discuss your strategy and prepare and submit your offer. The rest of the day will be dedicated to back-and-forth negotiations to close the sale.
Days 4 and 5 - Home inspection. Even though your timeline is tight, this isn’t a step to skip.
Days 6 and 7 - What’s left to do? Celebrate! We’ll cap off a successful week with a proper Maritime sociable.
So how can you prepare for your whirlwind house-hunting week? Here are a few things you can do from afar and discuss with me by email or phone:
Do your research - Look into the neighbourhoods you like. Are school districts important to you? How much of a commute do you want to work? The more you can tell me, the better I will be able to pre-select homes for you to see, and the shorter that list will be.
Compile your wishlist - Group features as must haves, nice to haves and unwanteds. Determine your price range - Be honest and upfront with yourself and me when it comes to your comfort point and your top price. That way you won’t waste time seeing houses that are outside your budget and distract you from your more realistic choices.
Select your mortgage lender - Some lenders give military rates so shop around to find the best match for your needs.
Think about your closing date - Armed with this info, we won’t spend valuable time looking at listings with long closings. Keep in mind that you’ll also need to coordinate with the closing date on your existing home in order to have the door-to-door move you want.
Find a DND-qualified lawyer and home inspector - If you need help, I have a large network of DND-qualified real estate professionals to draw from so we can be sure to find someone available.
I’m proud to work for and with members of our military as they protect us from coast to coast to coast. The bottom line is this: Transfers may be stressful, but buying your new home doesn’t have to be.