Are You Considering Living 'Off Base' For Your Next PCS?

Are You Considering Living ‘Off Base’ For Your Next PCS?

Are you up for a PCS move in 2022? If so, you are faced with the question of where to live. Your Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) can be applied to your rent, mortgage payments, and utility bills. Of course, you need to weigh the options and decide what is best for you and your family. In this article we are going to focus on the advantages to living ‘off base’. These options include renting and purchasing a home in one of the communities surrounding your duty station. 

Disadvantages of Living on Base:

  • When living on base, your BAH is taken to cover rent and average electrical use. It is paid directly to property management, and you won’t see any of it, even if your service member gets promoted.
  • Many housing options on base are old, small, and do not include many modern amenities. You are assigned a home based on your service member’s rank and number of dependents. You can turn down a house, but only once or twice.
  • Many bases have long waiting lists for on base housing. Often waits are 6 months to over a year. 
  • The military’s RECP energy billing program uses ‘neighborhood averages’ to compute your electric bill. So, you may be losing more money than you think.
  • Base housing is a small community where everyone knows each other’s business. Having your neighbors know that your spouse is deployed may be reassuring to you, but the trade off is a definite lack of privacy. 
  • Your service member lives and works in the same place and never really gets away from work. For some people, this makes it difficult to feel relaxed on base.
  • When living on base, you may feel detached from the larger community around you. 

Perks Of Living Off Base:

  • Living off base creates some distance from the military community. You can participate in activities on base AND also create relationships with folks that do not share an affiliation with the military. It creates a more well-rounded lifestyle.
  • Potential to save money. Factor in utilities when creating your monthly housing budget, and you may come out ahead each month, spending less than you receive in BAH. 
  • Potential to make money. If you purchase a home, you can strive for a monthly mortgage payment less than your BAH, and build equity and personal wealth.
  • Off base housing affords a broader selection of neighborhoods, lifestyles, and housing types. Do you want condominium living, single-family with a large yard, a pool, a gourmet kitchen, downtown living, beach community…?

So, you have a lot to think about as you receive your PCS orders. If you have any questions, we invite you to contact one of our Military Relocation Specialists. When you are moving to or from the Hampton Roads, Southeastern Virginia, or Northeastern North Carolina region, we can connect you with a real estate professional who has military move expertise.

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