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Old 01-16-2016, 04:11 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by RunningBum View Post
To the OP, I suggest making a spreadsheet comparing all the expenses and gains, including reasonable but conservative estimates on the appreciation of the real estate if you buy and earnings on the money you aren't tying up if you rent. Don't forget the buy/sell costs.

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Old 01-16-2016, 05:16 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by FI by 2024 View Post
if military personnel always followed the 5 year rule none of us would own a house before separation/retirement. So I was hoping for discussion that weighed the timeframe against the other aspects
During my military career, I bought three times and rented all the others. The three home purchases were when I had controlled four year assignments, so there was a decent level of predictability and stability. The first time worked out OK; I neither made nor lost any money when I sold. The second time I had my controlled tour shortened to just three years, and again I neither lost nor gained at the end of it. The third time, I was reassigned after only two years, and because of a booming market I actually made a substantial profit. But I considered that extremely lucky, not good planning.

So in my experience it all comes down to what the real estate market is like at the time of buying and selling. If I had it to do over again, I would probably opt to rent instead of buying in a three year assignment, simply to avoid the hassles and uncertainty. All of my other assignments were in cities ranging from midsize to extremely large, and my rental experiences were uniformly good.

The other factor, for me at least, is that I want to really get to know a location well before I can feel confident about just where to buy. That takes at least a year for me.

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Old 01-16-2016, 09:32 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
my rental experiences were uniformly good.

You know, if I had to list my #1 reason for not wanting to rent it would be that my rental experiences have not been uniformly good. They have varied from benign (pleasant/acceptable/as expected) to poor. I've had two landlords who did not respect my personal space or schedule, a management group that charged us unexpected charges, etc. I am more comfortable with bad things happening if they are at least my fault and/or responsibility. But a few bad experiences does not mean I won't rent again.

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Old 01-16-2016, 10:40 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by FI by 2024 View Post
You know, if I had to list my #1 reason for not wanting to rent it would be that my rental experiences have not been uniformly good.
Well, if you're looking for a uniformly bad experience then you can certainly achieve that much more quickly (and much more intensely) through buying a home while you're on active duty.

Don't buy a home on active duty - Military Guide

I know people who've made money on real estate. Some of them are lucky because they do it frequently in high-growth areas where you only have to hit it right once or twice. Others are hardwired landlords who do it as a business, and they buy homes at a substantial discount.

But I've also heard from hundreds of miserable homeowners on the Facebook group "Military Landlords". These are people who fell into the trap of "Let's buy a house!" for all of your reasons and even more. Today they're dealing with all the miseries of long-distance landlording and trying to decide whether to lose hundreds of dollars per month for years... or whether to price it to sell and take a hard hit of $25K.

The military active-duty lifestyle is hard enough without becoming a homeowner and then upgrading to long-distance landlord.


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