Military families can be found in postal codes across the country, and A military source, an online support portal for these families, reports that nearly half a million people move each year.
“The transient nature of the military lifestyle and the additional stressors that come with frequent travel and deployments put a strain on military families. It is never easier to uproot your life and start over somewhere else, ”said Kelcey Liverpool, Executive Director of Classification of children, a non-profit organization serving military youth. “That’s why finding a home and neighborhood that suits you is essential to making a new place feel like home. ”
With these families beginning the search for their next duty station, here’s how home builders can reach and attract military buyers.
Fast and Smooth: Move with Confidence
Active duty members typically receive their Permanent Station Change Orders (PCS) three to six months in advance and often research, buy, and move into their new home very quickly. While the PCS peak season is May through September each year, orders can arrive unexpectedly and a move can occur “out of season”.
Builders can streamline the home buying process by providing potential military buyers with information up front and before the buyer’s first virtual or in-person tour. The sales team should encourage prospects to research the product online, schedule a virtual meeting, and then, if possible, schedule an in-person visit and a pricing meeting.
In our experience, military families are very process-oriented and used to frequent moves, so they are prepared with their questions, wishlist and budget ready to discuss from the get-go. They also tend to be good at making quick decisions, being flexible, and answering questions like “What are the five must-haves for your dream home?” Which is useful for sales agents as it allows them to quickly narrow down the floor plan designs that would best suit the family.
Another way to speed up the home buying process is to encourage potential buyers to pre-qualify for a mortgage. Not only will prequalification help them budget, but it can also contribute to a shorter mortgage approval period and demonstrate that they are a serious buyer, which can be an advantage in a mortgage war. auction for resale.
Personalization is the key for military homebuyers
Military homebuyers prefer new homes because of the customization options. Families often move across the country to a completely new state, city, and school district, so creating a home comfort is essential. New construction allows buyers to customize design and layout options, from color, cabinetry and flooring choices, to the addition of an office, downstairs bedroom or an attic.
New home owners can also enjoy peace of mind without worrying about unforeseen maintenance issues associated with resale homes. With new appliances, light fixtures, and a strong residential warranty, family members can rest easy, which is especially important when service members are deployed.
Military homebuyers prefer new homes because of the customization options. Families often move across the country to a completely new state, city, and school district, so creating a home comfort is essential.
We are also seeing that more and more home builders are offering technology packages. For example, Drees Homes in Kentucky includes energy efficiency and smart home systems as part of its DreeSmart innovations package, which represents a great added value for potential buyers. Features like state-of-the-art wiring to eliminate Wi-Fi dead zones or smartphone apps to control lights, doors, and temperature make homes even more attractive to potential buyers. Energy packages are another bonus, offering reduced monthly utility expenses.
Military buyers are often looking for more living space, especially families making the transition from basic housing, which is often smaller and outdated. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average home size in the United States is about 2,500 square feet so there is plenty of room for families.
And while the square footage is important, the layout of the home is also a key factor. While some families want extra closet space or open floor plans, others care more about having an extra bedroom or updated appliances. Regardless of the preference, new construction is often the best option for ticking most of the boxes on a military buyer’s wish list.
Of course, it’s not just about the inside. Outdoor space can also play an important role in a military buyer’s decision. In our experience, most buyers benefit from a decent sized backyard. Families with children and / or dogs generally prefer a larger backyard with plenty of space to play outside.
Creating a sense of community for military families
Military families have a unique set of needs and experiences. PCS requires multiple transitions to change schools, jobs, providers, etc. Military families often gravitate to tight-knit communities where they can build supportive networks of friends and neighbors.
Planned communities are a great option for military families. While it can be difficult to transition to a new location, choosing to call a primary planned community your home port has many additional benefits. With many amenities such as swimming pools and pavilions, trails, parks and gardens, and numerous community events, planned communities offer a range of opportunities for making friendships with neighborhood residents.
Various parts of the country, such as Northern Virginia, are home to several military stations, thousands of government jobs, and a variety of off-base communities that provide opportunities to connect and interact with other military families.
Moulin d’Embrey, in Stafford, Va., is a prime example. The community offers amenities for the whole family and some residents call it the “Disney World of Neighborhoods”. Community features include two swimming pools, an on-site restaurant, two dog parks, over 15 parks and playgrounds, a community garden and 10 miles of trails. It also offers the convenience of shopping and dining nearby. Publix, a Florida-based grocery chain, is located on the outskirts of the community in a retail place.
“With space for kids to run around freely, neighbors who want to socialize on weekends, and community events year-round, a planned community offers a family away from family,” says Fred Garnes, Director of Marketing, Embrey Mill. A primary planned community is also known to add value to a home’s resale value due to the stability that the community adds, which is ideal when PCS families elsewhere.
Giving back to those who serve
Homebuilders would be remiss not to offer incentives to military service members, active and retired. Builders can give discounts on closing costs, extend additional design credits, or offer incentives. Bonuses go a long way with prospects and show commitment to helping those who serve.
Most builders work with preferred lenders whom they trust to provide excellent service to potential buyers. It goes without saying, but lenders should be reputable, trustworthy, and informative. Loans from the Veterans Administration can be difficult to obtain and vary from state to state. So builders need to partner with lenders who understand the nuances and can apply the Basic Housing Allowance to a mortgage sought by a military family.
Brian McGinniss is the Sales Director of Drees Houses“Washington, DC, division.
Andrea Hidalgo is Vice President of Sales-Mid-Atlantic for Richmond American Homes.