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Moving to Off-Base Fort Sam, Randolph or Lackland AFB Housing: Q&A Session


posted Jul 17, 2013

Are you and your family getting ready to PCS to off-base Fort Sam, Randolph or Lackland AFB housing? We know this can be a confusing and hectic time, but Housing 1 Source is here to help. We’ve pulled together some of the most common questions regarding military moves and answered them below. We hope this helps you and your family better prepare for your upcoming move!

What’s the difference between on- and off-base housing?

If a military service member has dependents—a spouse or children—he or she is eligible to choose either on-base or off-base housing as living arrangements. If he or she chooses off-base, the family will receive a monthly housing allowance to pay the mortgage or rent. 

At some bases, or depending on the military member’s rank, the family may be required to live on base. For all others, this is purely optional. 

How do you know which is right for you?

The military member in your household should first check with their new base assignment, as well as their commander, to find out if on-base living is mandatory. In some cases, if the military member is required to live on base, they may still be given a housing allowance for their family to live off base if they desire. 

If you have the option to choose between on- and off-base housing, there are a number of factors to consider. First, on-base housing is limited. It is unlikely you will have any choice in the home or apartment you are assigned, and it is even more unlikely that the residence is new. Most on-base housing has been in use for many years; it will likely include older units with a little more wear and tear. 

You’ll also want to look at the base’s distance from your children’s schools or your place of employment. If the base is not within close driving distance, it may be better to live off base and let the military member in your household commute to the base when necessary. 

When should I begin preparing for my move?

Many times, PCS orders only give you a few weeks’ notice, so time is of the essence. You should begin preparing as soon as possible—packing, contacting your children’s new schools and making travel plans. If you’re considering off-base Fort Sam, Randolph, or Lackland AFB housing for your living arrangements, you should also allot some time for house hunting.Sign up for our online Property Organizer; you can specify what type of home you’re looking for, the price range you need, specific amenities, and more. Every time a new listing is added that fits your description, you’ll be notified. You can also read information about various neighborhoods.

Military members are allowed a temporary duty leave for up to 10 days if they’ve been issued PCS orders. This leave does not include transportation or per diem expenses, though, so if your new base is far away, it can get expensive quickly. In this case, it may be best to arrive at your new station 10 days early to allow for house hunting. If you choose to do this, you’re allowed temporary lodging and meal expenses for up to $180 a day.

Are there any resources to help my family?

Here at Housing 1 Source, we want you to be as prepared as possible for your upcoming military move. That’s why we’ve put together moving checklists, helpful tips for moving with kids and other handy guides to make the process easier and more hassle-free for your family. Simply browse our blog or contact one of our Personal Relocation Specialists for help. Try our handy Rent vs. Buy calculator or speak with one of our PR specialists; they can help you consider all the factors to make the right decision for your family.

We can also help you locate the perfect place of residence if you’re considering living off-base. Whether you need nearby Fort Sam, Randolph or Lackland AFB housing, we can help. We’ll even assist you in getting settled in your new place: setting up utilities, connecting you with insurance providers, helping you obtain vehicles and furniture, and assisting you or your spouse in finding employment. Try out our easy-to-use online property search or contact one of our relocation specialists at 1-877-832-8518 today.