PCS Guide: Buy or Rent?

In the military, we are faced with the same dilemma every few years: should I buy or rent a home in my new location? While I can not make that decision for you, I have put together a few questions to ask yourself to help you decide.

  1. What are your future financial plans? Have you considered using real estate to build wealth?
  2. Is this a place you would like to come back to after you retire?
  3. How is the housing market in your new location? What kind of house can you afford with your budget?

What if, at your new location….

houses and coins


  • Rent for off-post housing is very high: In some areas, living on post is a much better option than to buy or rent off post/base. You might just want to wait until you have to move again to consider buying a house. In the meantime, you can save up more money, pay down debt, improve your credit score, and work on other financial goals.
  • Rent is very high, but a mortgage payment is doable and reasonable: Are you staying  at your current duty station for at least 3 years? Are you able to get a great deal on a house that can cash flow very nicely as a future rental? Is the housing market good in case you need to sell later? Then I would Go For It! Buy a house!
  • You can rent off-post for less than living on post: If you are not sure that you are staying for more than 2 years, then rent a home for less than your BAH and set aside the extra housing allowance for a down payment on a house during your next assignment.

It all comes down to cash flow! Utilize your BAH to your benefit. I highly encourage you to find housing less than your allowance and then set aside extra funds to invest in a home purchase that can lead to rental property. This creates a second stream of income that is passive.

Sometimes it is wise to rent for awhile to set yourself up for the best possible financial scenario for a home purchase. Use wisdom and don’t hesitate to consult with a local Realtor® to help you make smart choices.

Are you moving to the Colorado Springs area? I am part of a military family and understand the particular nuances of PCSing. I would be honored to help you and your family make your transition to our area. Contact me at agentsusanna@gmail.com.

Interested in having my complete PCS Guide? Pop me an email and I will be happy to send you my free guide!

Leave a Reply