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City versus country living

22 DECEMBER 2016 – With more than 200 military bases in the United States, every PCS destination presents a world of possibilities – and decisions. Here, we address an important quality of life issue when it comes to the future roof over your family’s  head for the next three or so years: should you live in a more rural setting, or instead lean toward an urban environment? Many Army posts, Navy, Air Force and Marine bases, for example, will be in proximity to suburbia, cities, and in some cases even more rural spots.

While of course your Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) will determine your ability to accommodate certain costs of living, there are other factors that go into whether or not your family would prefer the city or the country. When it comes to housing, there is never a right or wrong decision uniform to every family – not even for military families. There are pros and cons to houses in any type of area.

For the purpose of this blog, we’ll just discuss single family homes. While quite common in cities, condo and townhouse living add complexities to this decision-making process. There are ways around these challenges if your heart is set on sharing walls with your neighbors, but, a single family home will usually be the most marketable type of home to pursue. (For more details on the intricacies of the pros and cons of townhomes and condominium units, read the full press release here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/12/prweb13913057.htm.)

Moving to a Metropolis: Magic and Mayhem

We’ll start with the pros of having a home in a city. The nature of an urban area is that there will be plenty of homes to choose from, and definitely to use as comparables for appraisal purposes and resale value. As a result, you can be confident that the city home you pay for will be at a fair and accurate price at the time you purchase the home. Aside from value accuracy, living in a city has unparalleled cultural and social advantages for all members of a family. Access to more schools for both you and your kids is an undeniable bonus. And, forget big-chain restaurants and coffee chains. Presumably, you could grab a different cup of coffee at a new café every single day.

There are, of course, both literal and figurative prices that come with the cultural and social advantages of making a city your home base. Houses in urban areas tend to be more expensive. They will also lack yards and be limited in private surrounding space. Also, note that bigger cities trend toward higher crime rates than suburban areas.

One of the biggest cons to city living is the underwriting requirement termed ‘investor concentration.’ If your condo development has too high an investor concentration it may be taken off the approved financing list. Since investor vs. primary residence owners change constantly, it is important to speak with a mortgage professional that knows the requirements.

Country Charm, and Alarm

Location, location, location. You’ve heard these words before, and that’s why country life is so affordable. Some of the pros of country living include affordability, better financing options, and the ability to get to know your neighbors.

 For example, buying a home without a down payment is a huge advantage. And, in these cases, lenders can more often offer 100% financing at more competitive rates in suburban or more rural areas. In addition to lower mortgage payments, Homeowners Association (HOA) fees also tend to be more affordable than those of homes in urban communities.

Of course suburban life can seem idyllic, but those wide open spaces also mean that there will be a shortage of comparable homes. As a result, property pricing fluctuates with the smaller amount of similar houses in your prospective neighborhood. This may affect your ability to receive an appraisal, and therefore your ability to receive financing.

We only mentioned a few benefits and drawbacks in both city and country situations. But, after all, home really is where the heart is, right?  

Before you PCS, make sure you adequately research the urban, suburban and rural options for your next home. Everyone will reach a different conclusion on how to achieve the best quality of life possible for their family. Know what your negotiables are, and what you absolutely cannot do without in your next zip code.

Call any of AAFMAA Mortgage’s state-licensed loan officers before you begin looking for a Realtor. We are here to serve you. Let AAFMAA Mortgage open doors for your next home purchase or refinance by sharing our knowledge with you. Email mortgage@aafmaa.com or call 844-422-3622.

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