This post is sponsored by PCSCashback.com. All opinions and work are my own.
It’s hard to believe that John and I have been homeowners for nearly three years. Those three years have given us insight and perspective. How should we have done this? Or that? What seemed like a good idea then wasn’t the best choice after all.
You live and you learn.
But there’s one thing we’ve never questioned: having a buyer’s agent. Even now, we find ourselves talking about how important it was for us to find a buyer’s agent. And how lucky we were. Because we were first-time homebuyers, we kind of just stumbled into the concept of a buyer’s agent– we didn’t know that we would need one.
And to be honest, it sounded too good to be true. But it was good… and true, too!
Many military families find themselves during peak PCS season trying to purchase a home from hundreds–and sometimes thousands– of miles away. Add the craziness of the PCS cycle, school, work, and military stuff (because you know the military doesn’t stop just because you’re moving!), and buying a home might feel intimidating and overwhelming to the most seasoned military family.
It’s a big purchase. It’s a big decision.
And that’s where a buyer’s agent comes in.
A buyer’s agent is a real estate agent who represents the buyer (that’s you!) and their interests when it comes to real estate transactions. They’re legally licensed and they have your best interests at heart. (On the other hand, a seller’s agent–who is also a real estate professional and legally licensed–has the seller’s best interests at heart.) Here’s why military families can benefit from using a buyer’s agent during their PCS move:
1. It’s free!
Yep, you heard right. John and I paid $0 for our buyer’s agent services. (In fact, we got paid to use a buyer’s agent… but more on that later.) There might be a few very, very specific cases when a buyer’s agent costs the buyer money, but ask about that up-front and before you sign the contract with the agent.
2. They know the market
Chances are, you’re moving to a completely new area. You don’t know the schools, the town, or the kinds of properties that are available. Enter: the buyer’s agent. Your agent knows your new community and the market like the back of their hand. They not only have an eye on listings, they’ve most likely been to many of the homes and seen the physical properties. They know the peculiarities of the area you’re moving to– from the speed at which contracts are closed to what types of homes are often available. And they know how to help you avoid major pitfalls and mistakes that homebuyers often stumble into.
3. They’re experienced
Because buyer’s agents are professional, they know the red (and green!) flags of a property. They know the things to look for and what you want to steer clear of… and they’ll know information about the area that impacts your house that you might not be aware of. Is the home in a flood plain? Is a basement a must-have because of severe weather? Is the house under a flight path? (That might not bother some military families!)
4. They know where the cash is
A buyer’s agent can also help you figure out financing options are best for your family’s circumstances. That includes the VA Loan, which has some hoops that buyers and sellers need to jump through in order to access it. You’ll want to ensure that you’re using a buyer’s agent who knows the military and VA Loan intricacies, though. Some buyer’s agents may not be familiar, which is why using PCSCashback.com’s vetted and military-knowledgable buyer’s agents could be perfect for you.
5. They can take some tasks off your plate
If you’re feeling the PCS crunch (and let’s be real, if you’re moving this year, you probably are), it seems like there’s not enough time in the day to get it all done. Enter: your buyer’s agent. Buyer’s agents can coordinate and schedule house showings for potential properties. If you’re not able to be there in person, it’s possible that your agent might be able to Facetime you during the showings and do a walk-through with you virtually.
They also know their way around real estate contracts and can take a first-look at it for you, guiding you through, and answering questions you may have. This is super helpful, especially when you’re overwhelmed– it’s another adult (and a professional at that) making sure that you are protected and your best interests are put first.
7. They know people…
8. They’ll keep the trains on time
Because they’re working in your best interests, buyer’s agents will work to keep delays in the process minimal so that you’re spending the least number of nights in a hotel as possible. Of course, there might be delays that are inescapable and unforseeable, but a buyer’s agent will do all they can to make sure the process is efficient and organized. (Which is a breath of fresh air when you’re dealing with the hurry-up-and-wait of military life.)
9. You can literally get paid to use a buyer’s agent
When John and I bought our house, we used USAA’s buyer’s agent referral program. We used one of their suggested buyer’s agents, bought our home with them, and received a chunk of cash when we closed on our house. It was great– that little extra chunk of cash helped us make a few improvements to our new home! And we had peace of mind knowing there was a professional who had our back through the whole (very) new and (very) intimidating process.
USAA does not have this program anymore… but a new organization, called PCSCashback.com picked up where USAA left off. PCSCashback.com is run by a team of licensed real estate professionals who understand the military community. When you work with PCSCashback.com (which is free for you to use, by the way), they will work on your behalf to find you a legitimate, local real estate agent in your area. They vet every single agent and look to match you based on your needs and circumstances, with an eye and understanding toward what military families experience during PCSing and the buying and selling process. There’s no obligation for you to use the real estate agents that PCSCashback.com recommends for you. However, if you do and you purchase or sell a house with them, you’ll get a cash rebate based on the price of the home.
A buyer’s agent who gets military life, a cash rebate, and peace of mind during a PCS. That’s a pretty awesome.