7 Tips for Renting Your Home to a Military Family
Changing duty stations is a fact of life for military families – statistics show that military kids will move six to nine times during their school career, a number three times higher than civilian children. Once PCS orders are received, the race is on to find an acceptable rental property in the new city, once that will not only feel like “home” but make for an easy transition and move.
If you are a landlord in a city containing a military installment, you might be considering how to market your rental property for military families. Because of military policies, active duty members are guaranteed a consistent housing allowance that might give you peace of mind. Military mentality often extends to the family, and military families tend to be tidy and efficient, comfortable with expectations and outlined rules. All of these qualities make military tenants potentially great renters.
While you cannot specifically advertise in ways that explicitly excludes any certain group of potential renters, there are several ways you can make your rental property extremely attractive to military families. Below are 7 tips for renting your home to a military family.
- Leverage your location. Military families are interested in homes that are near their base, or have a short or easy commute. In your listings, be sure to call out the distance to the base, or promote distance or length of commute. If there are other military-related locations nearby, or family friendly spots like libraries, parks, or recreational activities, these can also increase the appeal of your property.
- Make it move-in ready. Many military families move often and look for simplicity and ease in a move. If your property is partially or fully furnished, it may be even more attractive to military families who don’t want to move their our furniture sets and couches. Another tip that works for any rental listing is to “neutralize” your home by painting and/or furnishing in neutral colors that appeal to a broad market and work with your renters’ own furnishings and personal items.
- Keep it inspection-ready. Many military commands conduct regular military home inspections, and military families tend to keep their home neat and tidy. This makes for great renters, but also adds to the appeal for properties that are already in good condition. Fresh paint and clean floors and carpets make your property more appealing, and offering pest control or lawn services can really sell your spot quickly. Additionally, just like before renting to any tenant, you should make sure all safety issues are addressed and repairs made to keep your home safe.
- Focus on the family-friendly. Since service members are more likely to get married at a younger age and have young children at home compared to civilian counterparts, it’s beneficial to include kid-friendly information when listing your property. Include information on local schools and parks, and do your best to optimize your yard for family and kid activities.
- Price it right. When it comes to setting a rental price for military families, a landlord has the unique advantage of leveraging your local base’s Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), which are set based on your city’s zip code and other cost-of-living factors for a military family. Using the BAH for your target renter group – along with other considerations like comparable properties within your area, the amount you need to cover any mortgage, and any additional services you are offering like lawn/pool care, property management, or pest control – will help you set an attractive and also financially acceptable rental rate.
- Get the word out. Pictures are invaluable when marketing your rental property, so be sure to take plenty of pictures that accurately represent your property and highlight its best features. Leverage your free online and print resources for listing your ad, and utilize social media to help spread that word. You can also often find free or very affordable websites that focus primarily on a military audience seeking rental options.
- Consider the exceptions. Military tenants can be great renters, and while their monthly BAH is guaranteed, they do receive that money themselves and must pay you out of their own bank account separately (you do not receive the money directly from the military). Therefore, your renters must still manage their own budgets to make their monthly payments. However, you can often request additional information on your rental application that includes his or her commander’s name as an additional reference or point of contact in case you run into trouble with late payments. Additionally, landlords should remember that members of the military are often allowed to dissolve rental leases if they are deployed overseas.