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Strategies for A Successful PCS Move

Active duty service members move every 3 years on average. For military families, frequent relocation can create added stress, as you have to find new housing, coordinate the logistics of a move, and establish new roots in an unfamiliar place.

At Benchmark, we want to help alleviate some of that stress, and help ensure a smooth transition during your Permanent Change of Station (PCS). Below are some strategies to make your PCS experience easier.

Know Which Resources and Benefits are Available to You

The military offers many resources and entitlements to help you navigate your PCS move. A great place to start is your installation’s housing office, which can provide you an overview of the housing options available to you at your new installation. You may be granted up to 10 days of leave to travel to your new location to explore housing. If you are thinking about buying a home in your new location, this a great opportunity to go house hunting and check out properties for sale in-person.

To coordinate moving logistics, get in touch with your local installation’s personal property office. They can provide you all of the options to coordinate your move with one of their transportation providers. Alternatively, you may opt to handle the move on your own with a Personally Procured Move (PPM), which allows you to be reimbursed to move your own belongings. Make sure you ask about additional entitlements and expense reimbursements that might be available to you during your move. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible to receive reimbursements for Temporary Lodging Expenses (TLE), a Dislocation Allowance, per diem travel allowances, non-temporary storage, and more.

Get an Experienced Home-Buying Team by Your Side

Finding a lender that has experience with military buyers can make a huge difference when navigating the home loan process during a PCS move. At Benchmark, we are committed to providing an outstanding home buying experience for our military clients. We understand the unique challenges you face as an active duty service member looking to buy a home in a new community.

Once you have your PCS orders and decide buying a home is the right choice for you and your family, get in touch with a Benchmark Loan Officer to get pre-approved for a home loan. A pre-approval lets you know your price-range when searching for homes and puts you in the strongest possible position to make an offer. We can also connect you with a Veteran-friendly real estate agent who specializes in assisting relocating military personnel. Choosing the right realtor who has experience working with buyers during the PCS process will make a big difference towards securing the perfect home with ease.

Take Advantage of Technology

Taking advantage of technology can help guarantee a thorough home search process alongside your realtor while limiting the amount of time you need to spend on the ground in your new location. Your realtor can provide you with an online search tool to check out homes within your price-range and specifications. Many listings today offer virtual tours to help you envision what the space feels like beyond traditional photos.

Once you have narrowed down your options online, your realtor can arrange a virtual video tour using a video-chatting app to lead you through the property and answer any questions you may have as they move through each room. Throughout the virtual ‘walk-through’ of the home, you can ask questions like, “can you show me how big the closets are” or “how high are the ceilings in the living room?,” so you get a better feel for the functionality of the home. If you do have the opportunity to personally tour homes in advance of your PCS, you can focus on your top contenders without having to waste time on properties that are not a good fit.

Close on Your New Home

At Benchmark, we have created an “easy button” to ensure a smooth home buying process for our military clients. Our team will take care of you on your journey to your new home, and ensure you have a first-class experience. If you have any questions about the PCS process, get in touch with one of our local experts or join one of our PCS Facebook communities.

 

The Benchmark PCS Promise

Moving is common with the Military. Whether you’re relocating to another state or country we want to give you the peace of mind you deserve. When purchasing a home you need speed and certainty. We can provide you and your family the certainty you deserve by fully underwriting your file prior to making your offer. That will put you in the best position to win in a competitive market. You’ve made a commitment to us. Now it’s our turn.

 

If you are ready to talk to a professional, contact your local Benchmark branch today.call me or contact me today.contact us today, and let our team take care of you.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Define COVID-19 Forbearance Repayment Options 

We previously talked about Forbearance as an option for anyone negatively impacted because of COVID-19. Forbearance is one of the most common options for those who cannot make their mortgage payments on time. Typically, once a loan is out of the agreed timeframe of forbearance, the borrower is expected to pay a “balloon payment,” or the total of all the payments missed plus the current payment. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have released their payment deferral plans to assist homeowners in forbearance.

Who is Eligible for Forbearance?

Freddie Mac states,

COVID-19 Payment Deferral will be available to homeowners with Freddie Mac loans starting July 1, 2020, at which time your servicer will begin evaluating your eligibility. Your servicer will contact you about 30 days before the initial forbearance plan is scheduled to end to determine which Freddie Mac assistance program is best or if additional forbearance is needed.
http://www.freddiemac.com/blog/homeownership/20200514_understanding_payment_deferral.page

Fannie Mae offers three different options for borrowers who have entered forbearance:

  1. Homeowners who are experiencing a financial hardship caused by COVID-19 may request a forbearance plan through their mortgage servicer (the company listed on their mortgage statement). Homeowners must contact their mortgage company to request assistance. Under a forbearance plan, a homeowner may be able to temporarily reduce or suspend their mortgage payment while they regain their financial footing. Forbearance does not mean a homeowner’s payments are forgiven. Homeowners are still required to eventually fully repay their forbearance, but they won’t have to repay it all at once — unless they choose to do so.
  2. Homeowners have several options to pay back unpaid amounts accrued during their forbearance period. Mortgage servicers will attempt to contact homeowners 30 days before their forbearance plan is scheduled to end to determine which assistance program is best for them at that time.
    • Full repayment: Homeowners have the option of immediately reinstating their loan, which means catching up on all the missed payments in a single payment if they can afford it. If a homeowner chooses to reinstate their loan, they can continue to pay their mortgage under the terms originally agreed to before they received forbearance.
    • Short-term repayment plans: Homeowners can gradually catch-up on the past-due amount over an agreed-upon time frame (for example, 3, 6, 9, 12 months). A portion of the past due amounts must be paid in addition to their existing monthly mortgage payments. Upon completion of their repayment plan, they can continue paying their mortgage under the terms originally agreed to before they received forbearance.
    • COVID-19 payment deferral: Homeowners can resume their regular monthly payments and the amount of their missed payments moves to the end of the loan term. Note: Mortgage servicers will begin offering the payment deferral repayment option starting July 1, 2020.
    • Loan modification: The original terms of the loan are changed in order to make the borrower’s monthly payments more manageable and address their ongoing hardship.

https://www.fanniemae.com/portal/media/corporate-news/2020/covid-payment-deferral-7018.html

Now that there is more explanation regarding ways to enter and come out of forbearance, we still want to caution borrowers to only enter in forbearance if a true economical hardship due to COVID-19 has occurred and you can no longer make your mortgage payments. Mortgage forbearance will go on your credit history, and it is still unclear if a mortgage forbearance will impact a person’s credit score, or by how much if it does.

If you or someone you know would like to discuss your options, contact your local Benchmark branch today.call me or contact me today.contact us today, and let our team take care of you.

Benchmark Interview Series: Real Estate during COVID-19 pandemic

The current market is not the same one that existed only three months ago. Open houses are not as “open” as they were, and COVID 19 has impacted every aspect of the real estate market. We got with JD Tomlin, a realtor with the JD Tomlin Team (est. 2010) in the DFW area, to discuss some of the hottest issues that have come up with the changing industry.

Enjoy the series. 

Benchmark Interview Series: Real Estate during COVID-19 pandemic, Part 1

May 14, 2020

The team you work with matters! The industry has changed a lot, and working with an expert who can navigate the changing guidelines is more important than ever. Lenders today are dealing with constraints that have taxed the entire industry with challenges, including long wait times on appraisals. In some cases, some lenders are just not sending funds to close their loans. Ultimately, how long is the home buying process taking? Overall, transaction times haven’t changed very much. Benchmark has a team dedicated to making sure loans close quickly, efficiently, and on time. Read more

Benchmark Interview Series: Real Estate during COVID-19 pandemic, Part 2

May 14, 2020

Home inventory helps predict whether it’s a “Seller’s Market” or a “Buyer’s Market.” When there are too many houses for sale, the buyer has the advantage. When there are not enough houses, sellers have the advantage. Home inventory changes based on location, so good advice in one city, may be harmful in another. No matter what inventory level your area is seeing, the important thing to note is that houses are still selling, people are still moving, and you can too! Ask your local Benchmark Loan Officer to connect you with one of their trusted realtor partners to get started today! Read more

Benchmark Interview Series: Real Estate during COVID-19 pandemic, Part 3

May 14, 2020

If you are considering listing your house for sale, you have probably considered the fact that people will want to come tour the inside of the house. This is where the realtor you choose can make a big difference. Photographs and 3D digital tours have become popular solutions to boosting your house listing, and allow potential buyers to see enough of the house that they may make an offer, site unseen. Realtors are also seeing that every protective measure is taken to make sure they enter a house with facemasks and sanitization before, and after, viewing a house.  Read more

Benchmark Interview Series: Real Estate during COVID-19 pandemic, Part 4

May 14, 2020

It’s no secret that realtors work hard to create a great home finding process for their clients. For top notch realtors, this has not really changed. Restrictions have been put in place to ensure that visiting homes is done safely, and inline with the CDC’s recommendations. When home sellers have multiple people wanting to look at the house, Realtors will often try to access the house without their clients, providing a walk-through video, as well taking note of things the homebuyer may want to know about. This requires a lot of trust in your realtor partner, and borrowers may need to be ready to potentially purchase a house without actually stepping foot inside of it. Read more

Benchmark Interview Series: Real Estate during COVID-19 pandemic, Part 4

It’s no secret that realtors work hard to create a great home finding process for their clients. For top notch realtors, this has not really changed. Restrictions have been put in place to ensure that visiting homes is done safely, and inline with the CDC’s recommendations. When home sellers have multiple people wanting to look at the house, Realtors will often try to access the house without their clients, providing a walk-through video, as well taking note of things the homebuyer may want to know about. This requires a lot of trust in your realtor partner, and borrowers may need to be ready to potentially purchase a house without actually stepping foot inside of it.

Read more

Benchmark Interview Series: Real Estate during COVID-19 pandemic, Part 3

If you are considering listing your house for sale, you have probably considered the fact that people will want to come tour the inside of the house. This is where the realtor you choose can make a big difference. Photographs and 3D digital tours have become popular solutions to boosting your house listing, and allow potential buyers to see enough of the house that they may make an offer, site unseen. Realtors are also seeing that every protective measure is taken to make sure they enter a house with facemasks and sanitization before, and after, viewing a house. 

Read more

Benchmark Interview Series: Real Estate during COVID-19 pandemic, Part 2

Home inventory helps predict whether it’s a “Seller’s Market” or a “Buyer’s Market.” When there are too many houses for sale, the buyer has the advantage. When there are not enough houses, sellers have the advantage. Home inventory changes based on location, so good advice in one city, may be harmful in another. No matter what inventory level your area is seeing, the important thing to note is that houses are still selling, people are still moving, and you can too! Ask your local Benchmark Loan Officer to connect you with one of their trusted realtor partners to get started today!

Read more

Benchmark Interview Series: Real Estate during COVID-19 pandemic, Part 1

The team you work with matters! The industry has changed a lot, and working with an expert who can navigate the changing guidelines is more important than ever. Lenders today are dealing with constraints that have taxed the entire industry with challenges, including long wait times on appraisals. In some cases, some lenders are just not sending funds to close their loans. Ultimately, how long is the home buying process taking? Overall, transaction times haven’t changed very much. Benchmark has a team dedicated to making sure loans close quickly, efficiently, and on time.

Read more

Month of the Military Child

Our nation’s military families make a lot of sacrifices for our country. The Department of Defense designated the month of April in 1986 as ‘The Month of the Military Child’ to commend the sacrifices and devoted support of service members’ children.

There are over one million active-duty dependent children living worldwide. These military children are resilient, remaining steadfast during deployments and frequent moves across the country and the world. According to the Department of Defense Education, on average a military child may move six to nine times during their school career.

At Benchmark, we are proud to support military families. Join us in recognizing these incredible kids and their contributions to our country!


Check out some of the incredible stories of our team giving military families an amazing homebuying experience across the country!