Maybe it’s time for a change of station, or maybe your family has outgrown its current home: Whatever the reason, some service members and veterans may be looking to sell, and may have a geographic advantage.

If you’re located in a seller’s market (stationed in Seattle, for instance), you could see some serious dollar signs dancing in your head: One survey late last year had the average sale price in the Seattle area at nearly $5,500 higher than the asking price.

But that doesn’t give you a license to overprice your property, said Travis Winfield, a retired Navy command senior chief and a Realtor in San Diego, where he’s not a stranger to seller’s markets.

“I always tell sellers to not ’test the market‘ by listing too high,” said Winfield. “Even in a seller’s market, buyers are not normally going to pay too much more than appraised value.”

Sellers also can’t cut corners when it comes to presentation, said Army veteran Juanita Charles, a Realtor based out of Clarksville, Tennessee, near Fort Campbell.

“Just because there are people in the market, they still don't want a house that is not clean or staged properly,” Charles said. “And it's still more difficult to sell a home with awful pictures.”

Speaking of pictures, Charles stressed the importance of your home’s online photo gallery, regardless of market conditions: More and more buyers begin their searches with these galleries, she said, and if the photos aren’t up to par, “it's hard to get them in the door to see it.”

But when you do open the door in a seller’s market, keep it open at least a week, advises Lauren Taylor, a San Diego-based agent who began her real-estate career while her sailor-husband was deployed.

Seattle (and surrounding communities) ranks high among seller's markets, which can be good news for service members hoping to sell before a change of station. (MC2 Jacob G. Sisco/Navy)
Seattle (and surrounding communities) ranks high among seller's markets, which can be good news for service members hoping to sell before a change of station. (MC2 Jacob G. Sisco/Navy)

“Commit to showing the home for at least seven days to collect offers from all interested parties and weigh their strengths against each other,” said Taylor. “Remember, the highest offer isn't always the strongest offer; consult with your agent how you can get the highest offer to match the strongest terms of other buyers to mitigate your risk.“

On the buying end of things? Check out our VA Loan Center.