A Military Relocation Guide to the Sault Ste. Marie Housing Market

Has your family just received PCS orders to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan? Or do you live here already, and are struggling to find a place to live? Perhaps you have a home and are looking to sell it before you PCS. Regardless of your situation, a growing home shortage has made it increasingly difficult to navigate the housing market in Sault Ste. Marie. This article highlights key aspects of the housing market to help you identify your options to rent, buy, or sell your home.

CG Housing

A family’s housing eligibility is determined by several factors, according to the CG Housing Manual. They include number of dependents, their gender, and age. For more information, email CS1 Rice at Ronald.D.Rice@uscg.mil or contact CG Housing directly at 906-635-3206. Securing a home in CG housing can be difficult if you arrive when few units are readily available. Even if units are available, a majority of the homes are small, which can be especially challenging for larger families who need more space. One alternative is the rental market, which in Sault Ste. Marie, is extremely scarce, in both quality and number. Therefore, I highly recommend using a professional to guide you through the process of finding a reliable home. To see what is currently available, email or call Woodside Rentals at 906-495-5166, 2woodsiderenatals@gmail.com for further guidance. Another option is to purchase a home, but that takes thoughtful consideration of the current housing market, especially because it’s likely you will resell it in 3-4 years’ time. Understanding how the local market works can increase that chances that you will profit from the sale.

Your Home as an Investment

Like rentals, housing inventory for home sales is also low, but buyers are aplenty. This and other factors have driven up the cost of housing, albeit the average price of a home is still affordable, around $117,000. Although a majority of homes sold in 2019 ranged between $120,000-140,000, a growing percentage of homes are being purchased at the $90,000-100,000 mark. Why does that matter? Knowing what a majority of buyers can afford may determine how quickly your home sells, and when you’re preparing to uproot your family yet again, it’s a huge relief to know that the only mortgage you have to worry about is the one you’ll acquire at your next station. Later, I’ll talk about what you can do if you choose to rent out your home instead of sell it. Although the housing market is scarce, it can still become diluted if the supply of homes at one price point goes up considerably, which tends to occur in the warmer months. This is also the time when Coast Guard families are transferring to new stations, so ensuring that your home is competitive as well as affordable can impact how quickly it sells. One way to do this is to make cost-effective upgrades to areas of the home that matter most to buyers, such as the kitchen and bathroom. Not only will they attract more buyers, but making upgrades can potentially raise the value of the property. To increase your chances of making a profit, purchase a home between $90,000-140,000, the lower you buy on that spectrum the better. Then make key upgrades to the areas mentioned previously, and force some appreciation to the home’s value. Annual appreciation will only take you so far because you won’t be here long enough to reap the benefits, and in the Sault, that rate is about 1-2%, but those percentages go up considerably through forced appreciation.

Renting out Your Home

Perhaps you have every intention of renting out your home once you leave Sault Ste. Marie. If so, there is no shortage of tenants – from LSSU students to military families to temporary workers, many will be seeking rental homes. And that demographic is speculated to expand as labor opportunities are scheduled to get underway for the Soo Locks Project. When or if that occurs, an influx of workers could cause an even greater demand for rental properties. That being said, housing tenants can be a costly venture to up-keep. I highly recommend utilizing a property manager, especially if you can’t physically be here to care for the property yourself. Depending on the state, property managers usually charge a fee that is around 10% of the rent. Again, reach out to Woodside Rentals for more information: 906-495-5166 or 2woodsiderenatals@gmail.com.

Choose a Trusted Realtor

Whatever decision you make, I highly suggest choosing a property manager or Realtor
who acts on your behalf to accomplish your goals. Wanting the best for my family pushed me to study and understand real estate at a deep level. I realized the right strategies gave us more than a safe and secure home… it gave us an asset with a solid plan for our future. I want other Coast Guard families to benefit from my unique perspective as well. That is why I always provide clients with a look at the big picture. That way, you can identify all your options and together, we create a plan that works for you. For more information, please visit my group Your Home Is Here! on Facebook or contact me by email or phone, laurela@remax.net

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