Transitioning Out into the SF Bay Area?
If you are transitioning out of the military you’re most likely focusing all of your efforts on either sprucing up your LinkedIn profile or studying to take the GMAT. More often though, service members fail to realize the complexities involved with securing proper housing. In the military, the government takes care of us when we PCS. When you leave the military, you are entitled to a final PCS move where the government will take care of moving your household goods. It’s extremely important to begin your home search as soon as possible, even before you begin thinking about out-processing. Finding the right home can take months. In this market, there is so much competition. Understanding how to use your VA loan and navigating through this market to still have a competitive edge is one of my specialities. I’ve been there and done that and will take care of you.
Differences between “Agents” and “Realtors”
As you surf the Internet looking for homes available for purchase (over 90% of buyers look online first) before you relocate to Travis AFB, you will come across some professional real estate agencies who employ individuals who are listed as “agents” while others are listed “Realtor®”. There is a big difference. While both of these people will have a license to sell real estate, only a Realtor® is a member of that National Association of Realtor®. This is a professional organization that adheres to a very specific professional code of ethics. Only approximately 50% of all real estate agents can actually call themselves a professional Realtor®. Take this into account when deciding which professional to choose before moving to Fairfield or anywhere else in the East Bay. I am an MRP (Military Relocation Professional) certified Realtor®.
How much home can I afford?
It’s fun to lie in bed browsing on Redfin, Zillow, Realtor, etc. and dreaming about your next home, but then that fear begins creeping in and you ask yourself, what should my budget be? Most people fall into the trap by using what they are paying in rent as a measure of what they can afford. The truth is that comparing rent vs mortgage payments is like comparing apples to oranges. Understanding the tax benefits to owning will show you that you can afford more than what you originally thought. Speaking to a Lender or Mortgage Specialist will help answer those burning questions. Not all lenders are the same and the worst thing you can do is walk into your bank and ask for help. That would be akin to walking into a car dealership and paying the sticker price! Similar to interviewing your Realtor®, it’s just as important to interview your Lender to ensure that you are comfortable asking your questions so that you can be confident in your home search. I have preferred lenders whom I work with and trust. Contact me today and let’s begin your home search process the right way.
Referrals are a Great Resource
One of the tremendous advantages of relocating to the SF Bay Area is that you probably have an abundance of military friends and colleagues who will be more than happy to act as a referral for a reputable and professional Realtor®. Many of your friends and associates are also taking part in the VA Loan Program and will be very knowledgeable about the sometimes confusing wording on some of the documents. Because it is standard practice in military life to periodically relocate to other bases in other areas of the country, you will find a great many people are more than willing to help you to select a reliable Realtor®. They can guide you to one who knows the “ins and outs” of VA Loan Eligibility as well as the many different neighborhoods and their corresponding fluctuations in real estate pricing. As an Army veteran and MRP certified Realtor®, I am well versed in the rules regarding VA Loan Eligibility and know all the subdivisions in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.
Interview each Realtor® Individually
Even though you may be halfway across the country, moving to SF Bay Area due to a military transfer or new promotion, it is important to conduct a lengthy and detailed phone interview with each individual candidate who wants to become your professional Realtor®. If at all possible, conduct a face-to-face interview. This will allow you to read their body language and to get a better feel for their knowledge, expertise, and commitment. Many real estate agents tell you what you want to hear but fail to deliver when the going gets tough. As a West Point grad and former Army Officer, I understand what it means to operate with high integrity. I value all of my clients and treat their time with great respect. Call me up and let’s grab some coffee, I’d love to better understand your home buying goals.
Call me today at (925) 325-5488.