Air Force

Military PCS …Renting a home and how to start my search?

homeflagYour orders are in hand and you are deciding do I live on Base/Post or the economy?  Where do I start my search ? There is  also a valuable  resources for renting at a new duty station by using Military by Owner.   These homes are listed by current home owners and some Property Managers in Duty Station Areas. Also check out the AF Housing page for your specific area.  Remember to check on your new BAH rates for 2014 for many have changed.

Many of us are used to looking up homes to rent on ARHN which was sponsored by DOD. Effective 1 January 2014, the Department of Defense sponsorship of AHRN will expire.

The website will remain active as a commercial site. The housing offices continue to provide support services to members and their families; military housing encourages service members to visit the AF housing public website at www.housing.af.mil.

Look the properties   over carefully and be sure to ask questions about any apartment or house you are   considering renting. Consider the following:
Some quick questions to consider when living off base or post:

Does the rent cover all   utilities, or will you be responsible for paying for them yourself? If you will   be paying for heat, water, or other utilities ask whether the landlord can   provide an estimated monthly or annual cost for the rental   property.

What kind of security does the building have? Are the doors,   windows and entrances secured? Are the stairs safe and well lighted? Are the   fire escapes easily accessible?

What sort of commute will you have to   school or work and what is nearby in terms of restaurants, shopping,   entertainment and other places you frequently visit? Also, what are the   neighbors like (students, families, retirees) and is this the right setting for   you?

Who is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of common areas   (stairwells, hallways, etc.) and appliances, furnace filters and other items   within the property which may need to be serviced?

Is the landlord or   property management readily available during nights and weekends and what are   the procedures for emergency services, repairs or lock-outs?

What kind   of parking is available? Is there an extra charge for a parking   spot?

Are storms windows, screens and shades   provided?

Active Duty Military in Hampton Roads, and Want to Play the Housing Game and Win!

By: Williamsburg Military Insider

Today’s military consumers face a real estate market that’s drastically different from the housing boom of just a few years ago.

But while the go-go days of soaring prices, bidding wars and fast transactions may be over, that doesn’t mean there aren’t good options for buyers and sellers. If you are planning to buy or sell a house soon, you still can develop a winning strategy and master the housing game.
If You’re Selling

Avoid sentimentality. You need to emotionally detach from your home when you begin contemplating selling. You don’t want to be thinking about all that went on in the home over the years. Today’s consumer needs to be logical about what they are doing so they can part with the home more easily.

Be realistic about pricing. Find a Military friendly agent and do evaluations of comparable properties that have sold nearby. Your Realtor can make recommendations for pricing your home.  You want to be careful and not overprice. There are a lot of choices out there, and you don’t want buyers to cast your home aside right away because of the price.

Think like a salesperson. Market where the people are: real estate and social networking websites. Be aware that potential buyers are judging your home from the street or from photos on the Web long before they get a closer look. You want to have good curb appeal and no clutter.  You want to make your home look inviting. Compare it to the competition — the other homes for sale in your area — and do what you can to make it better than the other homes the buyers are seeing.

Be flexible. Be willing to offer incentives, such as paying for closing costs, moving expenses, new appliances or upgrades. You don’t necessarily want to deeply discount your home. But  you do want to  keep in mind that you want to sell. Some things are worth holding out on, but don’t stand so firm on everything that you lose the deal.

I am a REALTOR with Liz Moore & Associates Also; I am part of the Liz Moore & Associates’ Military Team which specializes in homes for sale in James City County, Newport News, Hampton, York County, Poquoson, and Williamsburg, VA as well as surrounding markets. I offer Active Duty friendly support to families relocating to Langley Air Force Base, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, and Cheatam Annex. When you PCS to Hampton Roads, VA you will find that I understand that when a family member joins the military, the entire family belongs…thank you for serving our Country, and I look forward to serving your real estate needs!

When you are transferring to Langley AFB, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station or Cheatam Annex, if you’re interested in buying a home for sale call 757-651-3763  e-mail me at jenniferhernandez@lizmoore.com

2012 (BAH) Basic Allowance for Housing Rates Will Rise in Hampton Roads, VA.

By:  Williamsburg Military Insider

2012 Basic Allowance for Housing rates will rise an average 2 percent next year, here in Hampton Roads, to include, Langley Air Force Base, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, and Cheatam Annex.

See the rates

When rates go up, all service members in a given location get the increase. But when rates dip, the military’s “individual rate protection” policy ensures that troops already settled in a location will not see their BAH decrease for as long as they remain in that location, assuming no change in dependency status or a reduction in pay grade.

That policy assures that troops who have signed long-term leases are not penalized if housing costs in their area fall.

BAH rates remain high by historical standards. Until 2005, troops were expected to cover some of their housing costs out of their own pockets. But Congress changed the law, and now the Pentagon gives troops 100 percent of estimated housing costs for their area.

Median rental costs are only one factor in the complex formula officials use to determine BAH rates. It also includes the average utilities costs and renter’s insurance rates. The Pentagon analyzes that data annually for 365 U.S. housing markets, including Alaska and Hawaii.

The Defense Department will pay out a total of about $20 billion in BAH, a slight uptick from last year’s total of about $19 billion. More than 1 million troops receive BAH to cover housing off post or rent in privatized housing complexes on military installations.

I am a REALTOR with Liz Moore & Associates Also; I am part of the Liz Moore & Associates’ Military Team which specializes in homes for sale in James City County, Newport News, Hampton, York County, Poquoson, and Williamsburg, VA as well as surrounding markets. I offer Active Duty friendly support to families relocating to Langley Air Force Base, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, and Cheatam Annex. When you PCS to Hampton Roads, VA you will find that I understand that when a family member joins the military, the entire family belongs…thank you for serving our Country, and I look forward to serving your real estate needs!

When you are transferring to Langley AFB, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station or Cheatam Annex, if you’re interested in buying a home for sale call 757-651-3763   or e-mail me at jenniferhernandez@lizmoore.com

Curious How Local Lenders Verify Employment for Active Duty Service Members in Willilamsburg?

By:  Williamsburg Military Insider

After just personally going through a refinance of our home with a VA Loan, I was reminded of how lenders verify employment for Active Duty Service Members. Verifying a prospective homebuyer’s employment is one of the key steps of the loan process.

VA lenders need to ensure a borrower has a steady, reliable income stream that’s likely to continue and that covers their future housing needs. For veterans, military spouses and others, lenders will send a Verification of Employment (VOE), an official VA document, to past and current employers.

But the process is a bit different for prospective homebuyers still actively serving in the military.

Different Paperwork
Lenders will require a Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) instead of a VOE for active service members. It contains the same basic financial information. Active duty members can acquire their LES online by using the MyPay portal at https://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.aspx.

Base pay counts as stable and reliable as long as the service member isn’t within a year of release from active duty. Lenders can also include as effective income a service member’s Basic Allowance for Housing and occasionally other military allowances — clothing, flight pay, combat pay and others — provided they’re verified and expected to continue.

Service members within a year of their release from active duty or the conclusion of their contract term can present a unique challenge.

Nearing Discharge
If their discharge date falls within 12 months of the anticipated date of their loan closing, the lender has to take a few extra steps to satisfy the VA. It makes sense, considering there may be uncertainty regarding the type of job and income that awaits the recently discharged veteran.

Given those potential question marks, lenders typically have to document at least one of the following four elements, if not more:

• That the service member has already re-upped or otherwise extended active duty service beyond that 12-month window, or
• The service member has a legitimate job offer in the civilian world (information about earnings and other standard data has to be included), or
• Significant underwriting factors that compensate for uncertainty, such as a down payment of at least 10 percent or noteworthy cash reserves, or
• A written statement from the service member declaring his or her intent to reenlist or extend service, along with
• A written statement from a commanding officer confirming the member’s eligibility to reenlist or extend service and that it’s likely to go through.

I am a REALTOR with Liz Moore & Associates Also; I am part of the Liz Moore & Associates’ Military Team which specializes in homes for sale in James City County, Newport News, Hampton, York County, Poquoson, and Williamsburg, VA as well as surrounding markets. I offer Active Duty friendly support to families relocating to Langley Air Force Base, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, and Cheatam Annex. When you PCS to Hampton Roads, VA you will find that I understand that when a family member joins the military, the entire family belongs…thank you for serving our Country, and I look forward to serving your real estate needs!

When you are transferring to Langley AFB, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station or Cheatam Annex, if you’re interested in buying a home for sale call 757-651-3763   or e-mail me at jenniferhernandez@lizmoore.com

Military 24/7 for iPhone or iPad…Great way to stay connected!

 
If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, you might want to listen up. Our friends at DVIDS have launched a new app, which delivers up-to-date news, photos and videos directly from deployed service members. And best of all, it’s priced right: Free! Click below to find out more. You will believe this is a great way to stay in touch!
 

itunes.apple.com

Download Military 24/7 for iPhone and enjoy it on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

I am a REALTOR with Liz Moore & Associates Also; I am part of the Liz Moore & Associates’ Military Team which specializes in homes for sale in James City County, Newport News, Hampton, York County, Poquoson, and Williamsburg, VA as well as surrounding markets. I offer Active Duty friendly support to families relocating to Langley Air Force Base, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, and Cheatam Annex. When you PCS to Hampton Roads, VA you will find that I understand that when a family member joins the military, the entire family belongs…thank you for serving our Country, and I look forward to serving your real estate needs!

When you are transferring to Langley AFB, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station or Cheatam Annex, if you’re interested in buying a home for sale call 757-651-3763 or e-mail me at jenniferhernandez@lizmoore.com

Active Duty Military Life is Like a Box of Chocolates…

By: Williamsburg Military Insider

We’ve all been there in the back to school open houses, standing in a group of civilians talking about their families, they ask what you do and you smile, “We’re military”. You see the look, you know what I’m talking about, yes, that look. They respond, “Oh I just don’t think I could do it.” This always cracks me up one side and down the other. What do they think? You are a glutton for punishment? They act like it’s a physical choice of yours to be a part of this lifestyle. Any military spouse knows, it’s not that you like to move around twenty billion times in your life, that you enjoy having the movers trash your new girls brand new Ping Pong Table, or even that you enjoy living most of your life as a geographical bachelor/bachelorette, better known as a single, married person. Or maybe you enjoy the single parenting life of a married person? You don’t choose it, sometimes it chose you, and sometimes it just is. It’s what you do. So here are some tips to help you do it with grace, do it with style, and  in the end you might end up actually liking it after all (well except for that being alone and the Ping Pong trashing action).

Seek out friends & support

  • Join OSC/ESC
  • Volunteer
  • Attend neighborhood functions
  • Participate in your Squadron’s groups & events

Remember, some of your best friends and contacts you will make in the most unlikely places. Never stop growing, and never stop seeking new contacts.

Don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it

  • Chaplains, Military Life Counselors, even Financial Counselors
  • Friends & neighbors

Look, everyone has issues, and if they say they don’t, then that is an issue in and of itself. Do not be afraid to seek help and talk to someone about your life. Even the happiest person or couple has things that they need to talk about once and awhile.

Be positive

  • No negative attitudes allowed (exception: longer than 24 hours – hey, we all have our days)
  • Make yourself the “glass half full” kind of person

Remaining positive about your lifestyle choice is almost always a sanity-saving endeavor. At least it has been for me. Sure there are times when life throws you curveballs (more so than normal in a military career because SURPRISE! you’re not in control).

Focus on what you want and go for it

  • It’s your life too
  • Empower yourself

Just because you are a military spouse doesn’t mean you can’t have your own life and career outside of being married to the military. Choose work or a volunteer position outside of the home if that is what makes you feel “complete”.

Communicate & Share

  • Share everything with your spouse (that includes your feelings, but also, parenting, the wash, paying the bills, and feeding the dog)
  • Develop a loving relationship full of touch and expression ( Honestly the best perk J )

This is the key to a successful marriage in the military. There will be times when you will be on your own without your spouse. That doesn’t mean that you will be doing it all alone, unless you make it that way. Make a conscience effort, in presence or not, to communicate openly with your spouse about everything. Parent together, do finances together, be a “team”.

Forest Gump says it best, “Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get”. And yes, my friend, that statement rings even more true for military life.

I am a REALTOR with Liz Moore & Associates Also; I am part of the Liz Moore & Associates’ Military Team which specializes in homes for sale in James City County, Newport News, Hampton, York County, Poquoson, and Williamsburg, VA as well as surrounding markets. I offer Active Duty friendly support to families relocating to Langley Air Force Base, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, and Cheatam Annex. When you PCS to Hampton Roads, VA you will find that I understand that when a family member joins the military, the entire family belongs…thank you for serving our Country, and I look forward to serving your real estate needs!

When you are transferring to Langley AFB, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station or Cheatam Annex, if you’re interested in buying a home for sale call 757-651-3763 or e-mail me at jenniferhernandez@lizmoore.com

Active Duty Military Spouses Are You…Geo Graphically Separated or Deployed? Facetime with the iPad2 is My New Favorite.

By: Williamsburg Military Insider

Today was the first day of the next 365 days my husband will be away from us.  Early this morning, my iPad2 started buzzing, I was not sure what was going on with it, I kept hitting it thinking it was an alarm clock.  Much to my surprise it was my first Facetime chat with my husband.  What an awesome avenue if your husband is deployed or geographically separated.   The best part of having the iPad 2 was I could walk into my daughter’s room, and my husband could wake up our daughter.   As she opened her eyes this morning, she saw her daddy smiling at her.  He was able to see her.  It was the perfect way to start the day under the circumstances.  It makes the separation a little easier, since you still get a visual picture with voice.

Now my daughter is 9 and understands when Daddy is away. The first time he was deployed we chatted with Skype over a video camera on the computer. For the longest time she thought Daddy lived in the Monitor.  Facetime gives you a real life look at what is going on in the home.  I can sit and talk with him, and see his face and he can see the girls.  I know it does not replace him being home with us, but makes it a little easier.

I am a REALTOR with Liz Moore & Associates Also; I am part of the Liz Moore & Associates’ Military Team which specializes in homes for sale in James City County, Newport News, Hampton, York County, Poquoson, and Williamsburg, VA as well as surrounding markets. I offer Active Duty friendly support to families relocating to Langley Air Force Base, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, and Cheatam Annex. When you PCS to Hampton Roads, VA you will find that I understand that when a family member joins the military, the entire family belongs…thank you for serving our Country, and I look forward to serving your real estate needs!

When you are transferring to Langley AFB, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station or Cheatam Annex, if you’re interested in buying a home for sale call 757-651-3763    or e-mail me at jenniferhernandez@lizmoore.com

TRICARE Makes Moving Easy: From Beginning to End

By: Williamsburg Military Insider

We all remember the days of the three-part form to dis enroll and enroll  in TRICARE when we would PCS from one duty station to another, especially if they were in different regions.  I was excited when I read about how easy it to transfer coverage. You can make one phone call and transfer coverage.  I found this exciting, instead of the hunt for the TRICARE office Ft Eustis or Langley AFB.

Military families are accustomed to change. But one thing stays constant – their TRICARE coverage. TRICARE reminds all beneficiaries, no matter what TRICARE program they’re enrolled in, their benefit is portable, making it easy to transfer coverage. 

            Active duty service members (ADSMs) and active duty family members (ADFMs) who are moving to a new location can now transfer their TRICARE Prime enrollment with a simple phone call.  This new telephone option adds convenience for ADSMs and their families.  

            Moving ADSMs simply call their current regional health care contractor to transfer their family’s enrollment, and include a cell number and email address. The new regional contractor will contact them within five business days after the relocation date to finalize their TRICARE transfer. 

            The enrollment transfer includes a new primary care manager (PCM) best suited to the location of the ADSM’s work, home and anticipated medical needs.  If moving within the current region, this process can be used to help them transfer to a new PCM.

            ADSMs and their families will not have to worry about coverage during this transfer process because they are continuously covered under TRICARE. Once settled, they can confirm coverage on the Beneficiary Web Enrollment (BWE) website.  This link and more information can be found at www.tricare.mil/moving.  

            If an ADSM or ADFM forget to notify his or her current regional contractor of their upcoming move, they still have the option to contact the new regional contractor to transfer enrollment via phone.

            This new phone option adds to the number of choices ADSMs and ADFMs already have in transferring enrollment when moving. Other options include transferring thru military base in-processing, online through BWE and by downloading and completing an enrollment application (DD Form 2876) to mail. To download this form, visit www.tricare.mil/forms. ADSMs and their families can also visit a local TRICARE Service Center. 

            TRICARE believes this ‘before and after’ customer service approach will create a smooth enrollment transfer for ADSMs and their families. For more information on transferring Prime enrollment, go to: www.tricare.mil/moving.

Home is where you make your life…

By : Williamsburg Military Insider

My nine year old asked me to today where am I from?  In her short life she has lived in six states.  It made me realize that home and where you are from is the life and traditions you make with your family. Home is where the military sends you!

Our Military family, home is what you make of it.  You learn quickly how important it is to create a support network at your new duty station.  Often times your friends soon become family.  Over the years and my sixteen military moves “home” is where you make your life, with your family and your own traditions. Once you marry the military, the place you were born and raised in will be in the rearview mirror for a very long time.

Over our years of moving, we have met some wonderful military families who have touched our lives.  It has always amazed me how strong these families are because not only do they move, often times away from friends and family but they are also dealing with the possible deployment of their loved one.  This is an additional stress to their family but most of the trailing spouses I know handle this with such strength and grace.  They have my utmost respect for all of them.

As you embark on your upcoming PCS move this season always remember you set the tone for your next assignment.  Make it your home.