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Top five reasons you should lease your home

What you need to know about buying, then leasing your home at JBLM

Dream home or smart investment? Photo credit:

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Even before you physically arrive at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), it doesn't take long to see that this real estate market is tough. Many soldiers and their spouses struggle to find properties to rent and consider the option of buying instead. With the VA Home Loan and many lenders eager to work with servicemembers, getting the loan is the easy part. The struggle then is finding the right home, and then figuring out what to do with it when you inevitably PCS again. While the idea of renting out your home seems stressful, it may be very well worth it in the end. These top five reasons to buy then lease will have you itching to invest.

1. You will always have a renter

JBLM is the most requested duty station in the country, supporting more than 40,000 active, Guard and Reserve servicemembers, 60,000 family members, 30,000 retirees, and 15,000 civilian workers -- all living within 50 miles (according to Add the constant flow of new families with every PCS season and the stress of never having tenants for your rental property significantly decreases.

2. You're renters will (almost) always be military

Let's face it, renting to military families is absolutely ideal. They have a guaranteed paycheck, background checks, and a deep understanding of what "respect" looks like. Many of them also own rental properties, so they will be empathetic to the stress involved, and won't be looking to cause you more. There are also websites that cater to military-owned properties, with great resources and advice.

3. The VA Home Loan

The VA Home Loan is specific only to purchasing homes that you plan to reside in yourself ... initially. That doesn't mean down the road you can't rent it out. Veterans that qualify for the VA Home Loan mortgage are not required to provide a down payment. This really sets the military community apart from most people looking at purchasing homes. Not having to come up with 10 to 20 percent cash down means you can start investing in property, immediately. Bonus -- the VA home loan can be used more than once -- meaning you can own more than one property, both of which have been purchased using a VA Home Loan (not to exceed $417,000 total according to

4. Tax write-offs!

Taxes are pretty scary when it comes to rentals; you may actually benefit from hiring a personal accountant to help you out come tax season, but guess what? You can write it off. That plus pretty much any other expense that comes up while you're renting your properties (not including improvements, unfortunately). According to, you can claim your mortgage interest, property tax, operating expenses, depreciation, management fees and repairs, all of which will help offset the new extra income you are generating.

5. Investing in real estate is actually really smart

This is what it comes down to -- it's a great strategy for building wealth. Once you hit 20 years and start planning your retirement, that extra cash from your rental property will definitely help out. Or you may decide to move back in, and you will have had renters paying off your mortgage, leaving you with only a few principal payments left to make. According to David Greene, nationally renowned real estate investor and Forbes contributor, "There are many ways to build wealth in America, but real estate might be the safest, steadiest and simplest way to do so."

The competition may be fierce in the real estate market surrounding JBLM, but that's all the more reason to fight for it. With enough research into leasing agencies, DIY home improvements, and the best neighborhoods in the area, you will be well on your way to making a sound investment, and achieving your long-term wealth goals.

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