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Joe Gladden
Veteran Realty Serving America's Military, Inc. (VR SAM)
Spotsylvania, VA 22551

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Buyer's Checklist


By Joe Gladden, Captain, USN, retired

Veteran Realtors Serving America’s Military, Inc. (VR SAM®)

Published in


No two military moves are exactly alike.   However, there are common concerns that factor in just about every military PCS move, such as;  housing affordability and resale value, schools for your children, spousal employment, and the “commute,” which may range from a non-issue in some areas to a critical issue in areas such as the metro DC region. 

Although much of your planning, and many of your actions hinge on written orders, you cannot start planning the move too early.   All too frequently, PCS orders and move planning occur when the military member is deployed, leaving the spouse with the challenge of planning the move while attending to that “small matter” of managing the household.  Since our military training drilled us in organizational skills and methodical problem solving, and since many military specialties live and die by the “checklist,”  we offer the following “checklist” as a point of departure for the “ideal military move.”   It is worth stating again that you cannot start planning your move too early, and we recommend a house hunting trip (if feasible) of no later than 60 days prior to your desired move in date when feasible.   By the way, this checklist is easily adaptable for our civilian clients.



  1. Verbal or written orders to arrive at your new duty station:  

No earlier than___________    No later than___________

2. If applicable, contact your local Realtor (to sell your home) no later than 90 days before your ideal “move out” date from your present home.    __________

3. Contact your Realtor at your new duty station as soon as you have verbal or written orders.  

Contact date:  ________       Name / company: _________

Cell Phone:  _________      Email:  _________________  Web Site: __________


  1. Contact at least two REPUTABLE  lending institutions (see note 1) and request pre-qualification / approval to determine the MAXIMUM amount they will lend, and the MAXIMUM monthly payment for which you qualify.  Discuss the market interest rates and various loan products (fixed, VA, FHA, etc.) with your loan officers. Ask the loan officer about any special loan products for deployed military members, or for Reservists / Guardsmen recalled to active duty.  Note that pre-qualification or approval DOES NOT commit you to any specific lender and you should not be reluctant to compete lenders for your business.  (VA maximum loan amounts vary with location and may be as high as $800,000)


                                                           Company 1                                             Company 2



Loan Officer

Phone number


Fax number

Loan Product

Interest Rate

% Down Payment

Org / Discount Points

Terms (years)

Est Lenders Fees

Est Settlement Fees

Lock In Requirements

EstMoPayments (PITI)

Maximum Loan Amount

Pre-Approval Letter

Does loan officer attend settlement?       

  1. Review your personal budget to determine the MAXIMUM monthly payment with which you are comfortable.  Use the lesser of your comfort maximum and qualification maximum for your planning purposes.  


·         Click here for up to date military pay scales including BAH rates.

Click here for a mortgage calculator.


              Maximum Comfortable Monthly Payment (PITI)                    ________

·         (PITI = Principal + Interest + Taxes + Insurance)

·         Add home owners association (HOA) dues where applicable

  1. Review your accounts and assets to determine the source for down payments, earnest money, and settlement costs.  Available funds                ________


  1. With the information above, determine the price range that you will consider. 


                                                          Home Price Range for Search       _________


  1. Determine your ideal “Move In” date


·         Required Check in date                                                          ________


·         School Considerations                                                           ________


·         PCS shipment considerations                                                 ________


·         Spouse Employment Considerations                                     ________


·         Other Considerations                                                              ________


                 Ideal Move In Date                                                               _________

  1. Determine your family’s home requirements (bedrooms / bathrooms, etc.)  


  1. Provide your Realtor with the information in checklist items above.  Your Realtor’s web site should have a tab to search the local Multiple Listing System, and may have the capability to send you automatic email updates of new listings that meet your requirements.  This capability is a major help in understanding the local market in you new duty station, which may be dramatically different than at your current duty station.


  1. Determine the date of your house hunting trip and give your realtor as much advance notice as possible to schedule adequate time, plan, and provide logistical assistance for you.  Generally, it is better to schedule too much time (four or five days minimum not including travel) than too little time. ·        
  1. Once you have found your new home and are under contract, your realtor should employ a detailed checklist for timely and accurate contract execution to your move-in.  The “big pieces” of this check list are: 


·         Contract ratification

·         Coordinate settlement date / time

·          Contingency follow up and completion:

  1. final loan approval
  2. appraisal
  3. home inspection scheduled / completed
  4. termite inspection scheduled / completed
  5. Other contingencies

·         Home Owner’s Insurance Binder

·         Home Owners Association Documents accepted / delivered

·         Power of Attorney executed if necessary

·         Final Walk Through scheduled / completed

·         Settlement

·         Client follow up and assistance tailored to needs

VR SAM® hopes this is helpful and invites your comments and / or questions!

Note 1:  The importance of carefully choosing your lender cannot be overstated.  There have been too many unhappy instances of unscrupulous people taking advantage of unsuspecting home buyers.  Many of these have occurred from internet advertisements and applications.  We strongly recommend using lenders based on company reputation, referral from friends and real estate agents, and then ONLY after a lengthy interview with the broker / lender, in person when possible. An excellent indication of the broke/lender’s reputable and commitment, is whether they accompany the home buyer to settlement! 


(Copyright protected:  Republished with the permission of, Inc. )





Joe Gladden | 703-754-3036 | Contact Us
11204 Bluffs VW - Spotsylvania  Courthouse, VA 22551
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Veteran Realty Serving America’s Military, Inc. (dba VR SAM®) is a licensed brokerage in the Commonwealth of Virginia.   Firm license:  0226027302

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