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SPAWNmaster

Sanity check - Should we buy our dream home?

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Traditional guard guy currently on full-time orders. Expect to be away from home of record for another 1.5yrs. We do not currently own property and have have been thinking about buying a house very seriously over the past two ish years. We've spent this time researching what we want and we already have lived in the area we are looking (we know we like it there). Come to find our dreamhome listed a few days ago, seems to be the right place for our kids, the price is right and all the features we wanted. We don't want to lose our chance at getting this place especially since we haven't seen anything of note pop up in-market as we have looked the past few years. Is it crazy to buy a home knowing we wouldn't be living in it for at least another year (if not longer)?

Edited by SPAWNmaster

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Can you afford to not occupy it, have it sit there empty and require cleanup/home care while you're still gone?

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16 minutes ago, 17D_guy said:

Can you afford to not occupy it, have it sit there empty and require cleanup/home care while you're still gone?

Financially yes. It wouldn't be a burden but obviously we won't be saving as much as we would (however we are saving mainly for this purpose anyways)

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So, I'll just say that if it's as lined up as you say and not a burden I'd probably pull the trigger myself.  I'm older now, and the idea of finding a home I actually like, where I want to live is becoming my #1 priority.

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Are you familiar with the area? Have you lived there? Are you going to rent it out for 1.5 years before you move in? Is there someone there who can maintain it while your gone?

A lot can change I 1.5 years but if it's a good deal and someone can maintain it for you, go for it.

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We are familiar with the area and have lived there before. Originally we said we’d come back when we retire but why wait? Finding out life is short with all these friends of mine going in so may just end up pulling the trigger if we can make it work. Question now is if VA loan permits us to be away or if we have to move in immediately. 

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27 minutes ago, SPAWNmaster said:

We are familiar with the area and have lived there before. Originally we said we’d come back when we retire but why wait? Finding out life is short with all these friends of mine going in so may just end up pulling the trigger if we can make it work. Question now is if VA loan permits us to be away or if we have to move in immediately. 

This might be a good opportunity to not tell the VA your plans wrt not living there.  None of their business and if you don't offer it up, doubt they'll ask.

I'd probably pull the trigger as well, assuming you know what you're getting in to.  It's only money after all! haha.  Honestly, you'll be paying the principle down for an extra year or more and also gain the interest deduction (not sure how that changes with the new Trump plan).

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1 hour ago, Bergman said:

This might be a good opportunity to not tell the VA your plans wrt not living there.  None of their business and if you don't offer it up, doubt they'll ask.

I'd probably pull the trigger as well, assuming you know what you're getting in to.  It's only money after all! haha.  Honestly, you'll be paying the principle down for an extra year or more and also gain the interest deduction (not sure how that changes with the new Trump plan).

That’s kind of what the wife and I were thinking. Biggest threat may be economic downturn or bad timing on rates etc. 

 

Thanks all for sounding board!

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From what I recall, the VA loan requirements for living in the home only apply when trying to get a second (or later) loan, in that you have to have lived in the previous one for X years as a primary residence in order to get another loan. I could be way off on that but that’s what I remember.

 

Edit: Disregard, saw the other thread, and apparently my memory is as terrible as I remembered.

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21 hours ago, SPAWNmaster said:

Financially yes. It wouldn't be a burden but obviously we won't be saving as much as we would (however we are saving mainly for this purpose anyways)

Sounds like your answer.  If it is your "dream home," then why wouldn't you buy it?

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If I’ve learned anything, there is no such thing as a forever home or a dream home.  

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I agree with matmacwc's sentiment above.  However, we did buy our "dream home" in the city we want to retire (while on AD) almost a decade ago and it turned out to be one of the best financial decisions we've made.  It's brought in a stead rental income with good tenants and has almost doubled in value.  It would be difficult for us to afford a house in the same neighborhood now.  YMMV.  

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It's just an investment vehicle you'll be plugging money into, whether you live there or not. If it's a good price, buy it. If not, then you're buying based on it being you're "dream house". If you can't see yourself selling it a few years after you move in and getting you're money back, or being ok with the loss, it's probably not the right decision.

 

 

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If you don't plan on living in it, can you get homeowner's insurance on it? If not, what's the plan when the neighbor kids break in and start trashing using the place for weekend house parties?

As for whether you're crazy, it depends on how common something that meets your criteria for "dream home" is. If this house is really one-of-a-kind, on a unique piece of land, or substantially below market value (and not for a bad reason!), then no, you're not crazy. If your dream home looks a lot like the other forty houses on the cul-de-sac, and builders in the area are laying out three new identical neighborhoods in the surrounding area... then I'd say wait, because like others have said, there's a lot that can change in 18 months.

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Memory is fuzzy, but I seem to remember filling out an 'intent to occupy as primary residence' last time I qualified for a VA loan.  

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Are you really sure this is the place you'll want to go post-AD? I considered buying a place in CO about 2.5 years before I left AD, there was "0% chance" we would go anywhere other than back to CO when I punched. I now live 2000 miles away and am incredibly glad I didn't buy the CO place. A lot can change in a couple years - I personally would not buy unless you are OK with the chance of not going there and either having to sell the house or keeping it as an investment property.

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I owned four properties during my career, and am still living in the last one I bought. 

As long as you realize a "dream home" is usually a 90-95% match of what you are looking for, and buy smartly, it can be an excellent investment.  I did well on all of my properties!

Cheers!  M2

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I've purchased 4 homes.  After the debacle that was buying a house in Clovis, NM, my #1 rule is 'only buy a home in a place you'd like to stay.'

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