With the recent stop movement order issued by the Department of Defense due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many military families are living in limbo. Defense secretary Mark Esper approved an extension to travel restrictions through June. The unknowns regarding the upcoming PCS season are creating questions about when service members will be able to execute moves, what will happen to household goods, and more.
“We are highly encouraging military buyers and sellers to get an early start on the process. Start looking at neighborhoods 120 days before needing to be in the home and lock a rate 90 days prior to closing. It may seem extreme, but all parties involved in the home buying process aren’t operating at full capacity and things are taking longer,” Lindsey Litton, co-founder of the MilHousing Network and Air Force spouse, said.
She explained it is important that those who are scheduled to PCS work with a realtor who specializes in serving military families. Although buying and selling during the pandemic will come with challenges, it won’t be impossible.
The order officially extended the stop move order until at least June 30, at the time of this reporting. However, there is support in place for those who have found themselves on the cusp of leaving for their new duty station. The DOD directed service members to work with their command, then contact the personal property office for answers on what the new process looks like.
Some military families who already purchased a new home with orders in mind may be facing financial hardship over balancing two mortgages. Others are working to sell a home at one duty station, while buying another at the next location. Organizations that support the service branches are offering specific services for those who fall under these categories, including financial counseling and monetary assistance. Approval is on a case-by-case basis.
If you find yourself financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, a tool that is available to those impacted is called forbearance. Servicers are providing 90-day forbearance options for people that have been financially impacted by the virus. Based on personal situations, could be extended by your servicer. The first step would be to call your mortgage lender and discuss options that may include deferments, mortgage modifications or special repayment plans. Most lenders have advised families not to just stop paying your mortgage, making it critical that you establish a plan with your lender. If your lender hasn’t yet planned for the pandemic, they are most likely working on their response.
Caliber Home Loans has released a pledge of support to their customers regarding the pandemic and the financial impact on their loans. The organization is dedicated to serving their customers and will continue to assist new military families with their mortgage needs. The MilHousing Network is also available to assist families with prescreened military real estate experts from all over the country. Visit https://www.milhousingnetwork.com to learn more.