As if PCSing wasn’t stressful enough. This year we add in the craziest rental market yet. The increased demand for housing off-base, has driven the demand for on base housing, which then creates a cycle of increased demand all around. Many families PCSing this summer are feeling the pinch and worry of looking for a home. Some are offering hundreds over the already elevated listed rental price just to secure a home. How does one navigate this crazy market?
- Enlist your friends into looking. Maybe you have friends at the base where you will be moving to? Ask them to keep an eye out for listings in the area or on their local base pages.
- Engage in social media groups. Find housing groups and start stalking, er, looking for new postings. Look for groups for your specific area, and search for rentals within it.
- Schedule time to look. When you are online looking, make sure you stick to a time limit so it doesn’t become a time and mood suck.
- Use all the resources: Craigslist, AHRN, Military By Owner, Zillow are all great resources to look for homes. Some may be less traditional, but some owners are used to one listing source so you have to go with what you know!
- Consider a real estate agent. A real estate agent isn’t just for buying a home. Consider reaching out to a realtor in the area for tips on the area, and using them to find a rental. As real estate agents, they are also aware of what is coming onto the market as rentals.
- Have your must-haves and want-to-haves list figured out. Between you and your partner, or whoever you are renting with, figure out what you need to have and want to have. Use the need to-haves to find homes. This way the other can feel free to inquire about homes the moment they see them. It helps to make contact ASAP in this market.
- Be ready to rent sight unseen. This may be new for some families – you like to know the area, drive around it, be familiar with what is on offer. But with how quickly rentals (and homes to buy!) are going in this market, you need to be ready to sign a lease without knowing the area or the home. If you are able to, ask for a virtual walk-through, but some places are only responding to applications and not questions so you may have to go off what the pictures are. If this does not give you the warm fuzzies, try to find a home that is okay with a walk-through.
- Be patient. This one is hard when you are feeling pressed for time and finding a home. It can feel like you have to give in, offer hundreds over asking price. If it is within you budget to do that and you want to – go for it. Otherwise, be patient and keep looking.
- Commiserate. You are not the only military family moving this PCS season. You are not the only who is looking for a rental home. Find others that are going through the same process to talk with. Beyond being a safe, understanding space to vent they may have tips on where to look or share homes if they meet your needs versus theirs.
Now – go forth! And may the odds be ever in your favor!