What to Look for in Off-Base Housing for Military
posted Aug 25, 2011
If you are looking for off-base housing for military families, you will have much the same considerations as a civilian family. The main difference is that you will need to decide how close you want to be to the base. This will help you narrow down your housing options, as certain areas may simply give you too long a commute. In most cases, the further you are willing to live from the base, the more choices you have.
When you live on base, you have a wide range of support functions, such as a child care center, youth center and commissary. Often there is a school right on base, either a Department of Defense operated school or one that is part of the local school district. Choosing not to live on base means doing plenty of research into the local community, checking out what support and social opportunities are available. A good school is a priority for military members with children, who want a reputable, positive environment to help their kids settle into their new neighborhood as quickly as possible.
Living among civilians is quite different to living on base where all your neighbors are military members. Look for areas that are likely to provide you and your family with what you need to make friends and feel part of your new community. If you have any particular hobbies or interests, find out if there are the facilities to support these in the area. Making friends and building relationships is the key to feeling settled in a new town.
Whether you are looking to rent or buy off-base housing, make sure the property is large enough to meet the needs of your family. Other relevant considerations are nearby transport links and the local job market, which are both important if your spouse is going to be looking for work in the area. Above all, make sure the property is affordable. Work out your budget — taking into account your Basic Allowance for Housing and any other benefits or financial support — and look at homes that will not put you under too much financial pressure.