Wednesday, July 20, 2016

On Post v. Off Post Living

When it comes to being married to military one of the topics that is bound to come up is whether or not to live on post or off. You will hear some say that they prefer to live off so that they can get away from the military and feel as though they can disconnect at the end of the day.

When living on a military installation, they will take your full BAH (basic allowance for housing). Now that may seem crazy but it covers rent, utilities, lawn care, maintenance (which is 24 hours in case of emergency), and trash services.

When we first got married Kyle was already living in an apartment off post at Bragg and we decided quickly to apply for housing. Within a few months we signed for our first house and we loved it. It was an older 3 bedroom/2bathroom, we lived in this house for about 22 months until housing offered to move us to a new house.

 

We received this house next and it was amazing!! 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bathrooms, 2 living rooms, and a 1 car garage. Since it was a move mandated by housing, the Army moved us. I definitely wasn't hating that haha. We lived in this house until we PCS'd in 2012.

 

This was our home in on post at Fort Huachuca for 7 months. It was OLD haha, but it had it's own charms. No carpet and a swamp cooler. I mean it we couldn't live in it for 7 months then that is just sad. This house is now demolished as is the rest of the houses and that makes me a little sad. We really enjoyed it.

 

When we moved to Fort Bliss we decided to do something we had never done before and that was buy a house. It was terrifying and amazing all at the same time. We purchased a new construction and it was our dream home. All tile downstairs, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, ornate wrought iron railings, 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms and a ginormous backyard that we had landscaped with artificial grass. It was perfect.

Now here is the downside, we were given orders 22 months after buying this home and we panicked. We had no idea we would be moving so quickly and we opted to sell instead of renting it out. The thought of renting it out gave me anxiety especially since I would be the one dealing with it. We were lucky and sold it 30 days before we were to leave Texas, we were not so lucky because we had to live in a hotel for those 30 days, and shell out a ton of money to sell it.

 

We knew immediately when we got orders to our current home that we would be living on post again. We received a home the day we arrived and feel at ease gain.



We have decided that as long as we can we will continue to live on post. The thought of renting off or buying stresses me out. Being able to have relatively door to door moves is appealing. We have never once felt that Kyle can't leave work at work. We have never had neighbors that talk about work on the weekends, and to be honest if our AC breaks in the middle of the night I like that I can call maintenance to fix it and I don't have to pay for it.

Living on post isn't for everyone and that's okay but it has worked for us and I definitely wouldn't change it.


29 comments:

  1. We are definitely off post living kind of people, but I think that also depends on the duty station. In five moves we only lived on post for a short time while we were in Alaska, and it was nice and convenient, but with my huge crazy family we need wide open spaces! LOL!!

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  2. Love this. I hear this debate all the time. Josh and I have applied for post housing for this first move because I feel like it would be less stressful. I am not high maintenance and don't need a lot, so I'm not too picky with housing - I'm sure post housing will be just fine for us :)

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  3. We've only lived off post as a couple (Tyler lived off post after he got married the first time around as well- they actually bought a house at Campbell and sold it when he got out). I can definitely see the upside in living on post! We rent below our BAH so always pocket at least some money. I've heard of some couples using all of their BAH for rent/mortgage because they want an awesome home, but dipping into their regular pay to compensate for that! I don't understand people, lol.

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  4. We tried to live on post back in 2009, as soon as we got to Alaska. It was a 6 month wait, so we rented off post and liked it. We continued that pattern for 2 more houses until we were ready to buy/settle a bit.
    I think the first experience turned us off to it.
    I certainly see the advantages!

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  5. The dream house is awesome but still it's just a house. You have plenty of time when he decides to get out to find a dream house. I would live on post too. I hate moving my own stuff!

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  6. Andy and I are living on post because his BAH isn't enough to pay for a 3 bedroom house like we are getting on post (THANK YOU for Knox housing being practically empty and bumping us into a nicer house!!!) but we are open to the idea of living off post in the future. We both want a little house in the country, but we also want to be close to post so he can come home for breakfast and lunch.

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  7. I wouldn't mind trying out living on base. But Cass is reluctant. He's heard too many horror stories from his friends. I still think it's worth a shot, maybe it'll suit us. He's warming up to the idea. Maybe I can get him to try it out at our next duty station.

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  8. Replies
    1. :) I wish I enjoyed living off base. I think it just stressed me out more.

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  9. Our friends in the AF have actually never lived on post, but not because they didn't want to. Before they got married they lived off base, and then the last two places that they've been stationed there hasn't been enough housing for everybody so they've had to live off base. I think that they both would rather live on base for all of the reasons that you just stated, 24 hour maintenance and the fact that you're so close to everybody!

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  10. My son and his wife lived off-site. I thought it would be easier for them to live on base, but to each his own, right? :)

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  11. In nearly 14 years of Army life we have lived in just about every type of place: apartments, houses, condos, as renters and owners, off base and on.... Mostly we have been off base, but the two times we have lived ON base, we have loved it. First when we moved across country and were expecting our first baby. Now in Alaska we live ON base and it is amazing! I have the best neighbors and friends! I can honestly say I would not be nearly as connected or have as many great friends if I lived off base up here (granted, Alaska is a bit of a different beast).

    I recommend every Military Spouse try living on base at least once in their career. AND please meet your neighbors...don't stay holed up inside, never even introducing yourself. Say "Hello", take new neighbors cookies, meet for coffee, etc...they could end up being your best friends!

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    1. I absolutely agree with this!!!! :)

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  12. That's great you have always been able to get housing. We lived on in Monterey (loved it) and were on the waitlist for 7 months and never offered a house in DC. I didn't want to move twice with the kids so we just bought instead. For Tampa the waitlist was over 18 months but we are just renting here.

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  13. Living on base seems convenient, so why not?! But I guess to each their own... B lived off base - I was on base once when I visited him very briefly so I didn't really get a chance to poke around! I think he normally chose to live off base at his other duty stations..

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  14. We lived on post at Fort Knox in OLD housing, it was nice to be close to work but the house was not worth the BAH. In Hawaii, we lived on base because rentals there don't care for pets. Our house was brand new (both, bc we lived in 2) and was great. Now we're at Carson and decided to try our hand at buying but that's mostly because we need more house than post has to offer. I grew up living in on post housing and really enjoyed it. All the kids had military parents too so we had something built-in in common. We may go back to living on post, who knows? I do love it for the convenience factor.

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  15. We lived off base in England after we were married. Very hard to get base housing there. But it was fun to live in a house downstairs and our land lady lived upstairs. Two "flats" (apt) in one house. She called us her colonials!! Second base we moved on base 5 months after we got there. I was good even though next door neigbors liked their music and loud. But it was fixed. I'd do it again as well if I had to live it again. Base is good.

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  16. YES. All of this. My husband has thrown around the idea of buying a house are next base and I'm like, nope nope nope. I just learned how to change the air filters two days ago. I'm clearly not ready to be a homeowner and I need my base maintenance team to come help me out when I have a crisis!

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  17. I lived on base in Corpus Christi, and I liked it for the most part. We only had one car at the time so it was nice that I could walk to the playground and to the commissary. I wasn't impressed with how the private company ran the housing, but it worked for 6 months. We own here in Florida. We know we have at least 4 more years here so I am glad we bought a house. When we move we will definitely rent, but the base will determine if it is on or off base.

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  18. We are trying yet another option here at Fort Stewart and Love It! We are in new apartments that are open to active, retirees and DOD and they take a set rate out of the BAH ($950) which covers the usual on base amenities. Rent, Utilities, Water, Trash, Maintenance, Pool, Exercise Room even Cable! It is great being back on post.

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    1. That's awesome! :) You just can't beat the amenities.

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  19. It is such a hard thing for us to decide to live on post. we have never been offered anything worth taking on post. We have PSCed mostly middle of winter and what is available both on an off post was not comparable. We aren't opposed to living on post its just needs to be worth it to us for the size home we are shelling out cash for. Even with the nightmare of moves out in town at Polk we still feel we enjoy living off post at this point in time. Who knows what the next location will bring.

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  20. You will LOVE Leavenworth! Living on Post here is the best regardless of which house you end up in!

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  21. We've only ever lived off post. My husband was a huge advocate for not wanting to live near his superiors. Haha. And so far we've never had a problem with it. I wish that we would get to experience living on post but I really don't see that happening! Haha.

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  22. This is so interesting! I truly am so fascinated by military life! <3

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  23. This is something I know nothing about so I learned a lot reading your post! It sounds like you've figured out what works for you, and that's the main thing. We rent our house so I can identify with the points you make about less stress and the maintenance being done for you - such a plus point!

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  24. John is so mad that we live on post in Hawaii. He always complains about the money we could be saving by living off post. Except here, I really don't think we'd be saving much. We are definitely buying people, but we've been lucky with a fantastic property manager. I can't imagine having to manage it all myself.

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  25. It's crazy what different locations, ranks, etc. will get you! So far (only two bases) we have chosen to live off base both times but for different reasons! In Ohio, the base housing A) wasn't even on base, and you didn't even need to go through a gate to get into it... so that perk was gone, and B) they were small, conjoined townhomes, and we knew we could get more bang for our buck off base. It worked out well for us because we were able to separate our lives from the Air Force a little bit (we lived about 20 minutes away) and make lots of connections at our church there instead, which was so nice. When he got orders for pilot training, we knew we wanted to live on base because he has 12 hour days 5 days a week, so he wanted a super quick commute. The houses are SUPER nice here (much newer, single family homes), BUT the catch is that they only allow two pets (and would NOT budge after calling and asking multiple times), so we took our two cats and a dog and bought a house five minutes from base instead. Again, it has worked out really nicely for us, but it would be nice to be a part of the community since this is such an intense program. There are a few other couples living off base, though, so we're not alone! :)

    (yikes - sorry for that novel!!)

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