Posted 5 years ago
The decision to live on or off a military base can be a confusing and frustrating one. While there are perks of living on base, there are also many reasons to consider searching for housing off base. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference and situation; following are some tips and things to consider when making your decision.
Pros of living on base
•Convenience: By living on base, you can get to and from work quickly and easily, without having to worry about traffic and/or getting through the gates.
•Amenities: There are often many perks associated with on base housing, such as playgrounds, pools, fitness facilities, dental offices, and shopping centers, among others.
•Security: On base housing can be located within the gates of the base, in a separate gated community, or in a community patrolled by military police.
•Utilities: With most on base housing, all utilities are taken care of. Anything you would have to pay for utilities out of pocket would be miniscule compared to off base housing.
•Military Community: On base housing inherently offers a military community that is supportive and helpful whether you are single or have a family.
Cons of living on base
•Proximity: Both in homes and in the barracks, you will be living very close to others, which limits your privacy.
•Roommate: If you are single, you will likely have a roommate living in the barracks, with shared communal areas. Depending on your personality and disposition, this could potentially be a pro as well, but either way, it does limit your privacy.
•Dated Housing: Depending on the base, some on base housing may be old, outdated, and rundown.
Pros of living off base
•Choice: Especially if you have a family, living off base provides you with a lot more choice for your home. This allows you much more freedom in your housing options; for example off base, you are more likely to find a detached single family home, more privacy, school district choice, and many other options.
•BAH (Basic Allowance Housing): While living on base, you are using all of your BAH, regardless of your rank. If you live off base, you may be able to find suitable housing that costs less than your BAH.
Cons of living off base
•Utilities: While utilities are generally taken care of on base, you will have to use your BAH and potentially additional money to pay utilities off base.
•Contracts: An off base rental contract may not have a clause to allow you to get out of the contract in the event of a PCS or deployment.
•Location: Depending on the location of the base, you may have a long commute to base to be able to live in your desired area.
Overall Things to Consider:
•BAH & Budget: Since your BAH varies based on rank, location, and dependents, you may have a wide variety of what you can afford off base, but on base, your BAH is the same as your rent.
•Kids: If you have kids or are planning to have kids in the future, it’s important to think about what type of housing is best for them and what type of environment you want them to grow up in.
•Location: Each base is different and offers different housing options. Compare the on base housing options with the off base options to determine what type of living situation works best for you.
•Pets: If your pets are important to you, check if pets are allowed, what type, and how many. Both on and off base, you may run into overall pet and specific breed restrictions.
Choosing where to live is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Make sure you do your own research on your specific base and surrounding area so you can make a well informed decision on what is right for you.