If you’re a first-time homeowner in the military, knowing what to do with your property during a lengthy deployment can be stressful. In honor of Veteran’s Day, Homes.com asked veterans for their hard-earned homeowner advice so you can have peace of mind while away from home.
Prepare Your Home for Deployment
Without anyone living in your home for several months, it’s crucial to minimize any potential issues before you leave. Retired Navy Commander Roland Roeder gives a quick and easy checklist for home preparations:
- Dispose of perishable food items
- Turn off water utilities
- Unplug all unnecessary appliances
- Turn off air conditioning/heating
“I had deployments when I had to leave the home alone, but I also had a couple with family in the home,” says Roeder. “For those, I made sure to tackle as many small repairs as I could before leaving. I fixed weather stripping, replaced screens that had holes in them, and made sure everything was in proper working order to give my family as much peace of mind as possible.”
Leave Your Home and Property in Trusted Hands
If there’s no one else living in your home, find a trusted friend or neighbor who’s willing to keep tabs on your home while you’re away. This could mean everything from grabbing your mail to tending to your yard and making sure the home remains secure.
Veteran Navy Petty Officer Second Class, Chris Stitt, advises taking it a step further:
“Give someone you trust power of attorney while you’re gone. While I was deployed over in Europe, one of my automatic payments for utilities didn’t go through. The company then required payment in person, but that was obviously a problem. I eventually got it worked out, but it would have been much easier if I’d had a person with power of attorney to do it for me.”
This is especially useful if you leave your car with a friend or family member. If they happen to get pulled over while driving your car, having a power of attorney can mean the difference between them getting a ticket and being charged with car theft.
Save or Make Money with Your Home While Deployed
Often referred to as “house hacking,” you can rent your home out to tenants while you’re gone as another form of income.
Services like Airbnb are a great option for short-term renting if you can’t find tenants for the entire length of your deployment. “If you do manage to get tenants, I recommend using a management company to take care of any potential issues they may have with the home while you’re away,” says Stitt.
If renting out your home isn’t an option, think of any home utilities and services you won’t need to use or pay for while deployed. “Suspend your phone and cable services, utilities, and look into what you can do regarding your auto insurance or lease payments,” says Navy Petty Officer First Class, Ryan Cushing. “But, always keep in mind some companies may require proof of deployment.”
Familiarize yourself with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which says you can terminate your telecom service contracts “if you relocate for at least 90 days to a location that doesn’t have coverage under your current provider.”
Thank You for Your Service!
If you’re a veteran or currently serving in the armed services, Homes.com thanks you for your service. Do you have deployment advice for military homeowners? Let us know in the comments below!