By Rebecca Alwine, Army Spouse

Bridging the military and civilian divide is always a popular topic. While there are some things about the military lifestyle that those not involved will never truly understand, communication and understanding can go a long way.

What a Military Family Wants Their Realtor to Know

When it comes to moving and hiring a Realtor, there are so many differences between a military family and a civilian family. We polled military spouses who have bought a house with their service member while on active duty and asked them several questions regarding their experiences.

Where did you find your Realtor?

• Word of mouth/referral
• Other home buying program

So, the bottom line is that military spouses have a vast network of friends and acquaintances and when they really like something, they share it. So by serving one military family well, Realtors can pretty much seal the deal on receiving additional inquiries from military families moving to that area.

How much did your Realtor understand about a military PCS?

Whoa, these responses were all over the place. The common thread, however, is that those Realtors who had a military background were preferred to those who didn’t.

Not having a military background doesn’t mean military families aren’t going to choose you as their Realtor, but the more you can understand about what they are going through and what they are looking for, the better chance you have. There are similarities between military and civilian life, but there are also huge differences. Military families look for a Realtor that understands those differences.

That being said, if a Realtor is a military spouse, veteran, or prior service, they should share that with potential military clients! Just as military spouses tend to look within their own community for their needs, they are going to do the same when looking for a Realtor.

What do you wish your Realtor knew before you purchased your home?

Hands down, the number one thing military spouses want their Realtor to understand is: We have no control over anything with a military PCS. No control over dates, or the timeline, or how long we’re going to be there. None whatsoever. And we’re not ok with it, so we need our Realtor to be.

Here are some other things we want Realtors to know:

  • Resale value is important, and we mean reselling in 2-3 years not 10+ years.
  • We rely on our Realtor to be our eyes and ears. We can’t be there for everything, we need to trust our Realtor.
  • This isn’t a forever home: Location, schools, commute times are really important. “Extras” are not as important.
  • We don’t have a lot of time to find a home with a military PCS. Or to close on it. Or to do the walk-through. We need our Realtor to do this for us.
  • This may become a rental property for us, so we need to know how the market trends, what hidden costs there may be, etc.
  • If a Realtor is helping us sell our house, we can’t leave it staged forever. The packing process is crazy and we have to go when we have to go.
  • Communication is key throughout the whole process. Mil-families have a lot going on when they move; they need to be able to communicate despite time zone differences and work schedules.
  • We may buy sight unseen. We need the truth, up front, all of it.

If a Realtor has more questions about what military spouse are looking for in a Realtor (and we hope you do!) please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask us. We’d love to share with you more experiences and help bridge this gap for the benefit of all.

Check here to see what other military and veteran families have to say about Realtors in your local area. is a community of military and veteran families helping each other with our biggest relocation needs through trusted reviews. Help us help each other and submit your reviews today.  Together, we can truly make a difference!

AuthorRebecca Alwine is an Army spouse, freelance writer and mother of three. She’s a regular contributor to ARMY Magazine, Homefront United Network, PCSgrades, ESME, and has also been published in Ms. Magazine and The Atlantic. You can read her blog at

Rebecca Alwine

Army Spouse