The days of military housing being managed by the governmentÂ are long gone. Now, it's being managed by private contractors. The Department of Defense has made it mandatory that, all military housing will be privatized. Most are already privatized, so If you areÂ joining the military, or alreadyÂ an enlisted soldier, and isÂ torn between livingÂ in military housingÂ or off base housing, you are not alone. This is a decision that could affect your finances and your family's lifestyle. So, whether you are considering moving out of Â army, navyÂ or air force living quarters or is just coming in;Â youÂ should keep a few things in mind before taking the plunge. Here are some pros and cons of both on post and off post living.
Pros: On Base
- Utilities Covered. Soldiers with a family are usually given basic allowance for housing (BAH). This extra money will cover rent and utilities such as electricity, water and heat.
- Family size. The size of your home as far as bed rooms go, will depend on the size of your family. Kids usually get their own rooms. If they can't give each child a room, you can get on the waiting list until aÂ larger house is available.
- Credit check. Soldiers aren't requiredÂ to submit aÂ credit check.
- No security deposit. If you choose to live on base, you don't need to put a security deposit of first month and last month's rent if you agree to pay by allotment through electronic fund transfer (EFT).
- Property maintenance. Most military housing are operated by private contractors or real estateÂ companies.Â Most, if not all, maintain the properties and provide lawn care, pest control, trash pick up and more.
- Pets allowed. This has to be one of theÂ top reasons why most families choose to live on base. Your pets, such as cats, dogs, and small domesticated animalsÂ areÂ usually allowed to live onÂ base.Â Keep in mind you might have to pay a pet deposit. Depending on the property manager, it may be refundable at the end of the lease.
- Short commute. Living on base, you will have short commutes to work and surrounding amenities. Which will save you money on gasÂ and time.
- Renters Insurance. Most private contractors also offer renters insurance.
Cons: On Base
- BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing). Because housing on base is privatized, all your allowance goes to the contractor or Realtor managing the property. It doesn't matter your rank or the size of your house. All your BAH goes to the company.
- Duplexes. All most all the houses are duplexes. So if you are the type of person who don't like your neighbors too close, then maybe you should consider off base housing. There is no question that privacy will be compromised.
Pros: Off Base
- Housing allowance. Your housing allowance, if you plan wisely, can be more than enough to pay for off base rent and utilities, with a little left over for dinner and a movie.Â This will depend on the cost of living where you are stationed.
- Privacy. Again, depending on the cost of living where your military installation is, you may be able to rent anÂ affordable single family home which will give you more privacy than the duplexes on base.
Â Cons: Off Base
- Credit check. Most, if not all outside apartmentÂ rental managers will check your credit and everyone else in your family that's over 18. So if you're credit is challenged, you may have a hard time renting.
- Security deposit. If you choose to live off base, 99 percent of the time you will be required to put a security deposit down. Sometimes there are incentives if you have excellent credit.
- Pets. Most apartment complexes or Realtors do not allow pets. There are a few who do, but often takes a lot of research to find them.
- Lawn maintenance. Most property managers require you to take care of your own lawn.
- Utilities not covered. You are more than likely have to pay for your own utilities. This includes water, heat and power bill.
- Commute. Traveling back and forth to work on base, can be costly as far as gas is concerned and time consuming also when fighting the morning and evening rush of traffic.
- Renters insurance. Usually outside rental properties do not offer renters insurance.
Hopefully from the information provided here, you are able to make the best decision for you and your family. HappyÂ on baseÂ or off baseÂ hunting!