Many military families are moved around quite frequently, landing in different areas in and out of the country every few years. For many of these families, life on a military base can just get old. These same families often consider the possibility of purchasing their own home, in their own space, off of a military installment. When you’re overseas, is this possible, and is it a good idea?

A Big Thing to Consider: the VA Loan

Perhaps the biggest barrier you’ll find when you consider purchasing a home in a foreign country is a lack of funding to do so. VA Loans are a benefit (given you’re actually eligible) that provide you the funding through whatever lender you choose in order to purchase a home. Two important things to note about the VA loan? The home must be purchased so that you or a spouse or dependent may occupy it immediately, and they only apply in the United States. In other words, there’s literally no way to secure a VA loan to buy a home if you’re overseas. This may make the entire process much more difficult.

Other Things to Consider

Don’t need a VA loan? Then you can move on to consider a few other relevant items: first of all, where are you wanting to buy? What are property values there? Are there property laws or regulations to consider? All of this will vary by country.

Why are you wanting to buy? Is it so that you can sell it and get more for it when you leave? If this is the case, bear in mind that America is really one of the only places that this happens. Shows on HGTV have us all fixing up our houses and looking into properties as investments, but overseas – they’re just properties, not investments. There’s a great chance that you’ll actually lose money on the purchase, not even break even.

The Buying Process

If it’s not about an investment, and you’re confident that buying is the best thing for you – go for it. A few tips to keep in mind, though: you’ll need to find a lender and secure an exact amount before making a purchase. Once you determine how much financing you have, go through the process to secure Overseas Housing Allowance, which will go directly to your mortgage payments. Bear in mind that down payments directly influence interest rates overseas – the more you can pay up front,  the better your interest rate will be! You’ll want to find a realtor you can trust to deal appropriately with properties, insurance, taxes and local authorities; don’t hesitate to shop around and ask for reviews. One last tip? Never, ever sign a contract in another language, without being shown a legal identical copy in English.

If all of this falls in line with you – you don’t need a VA loan, you’re not looking for an investment opportunity, you genuinely just want your own space off base, and you have the know how and access to resources to navigate buying a house overseas, go for it! It may be a great choice for you and your family.