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To Live On Base or Off -- Things to Consider

In any military relocation, one of your first decisions is whether to live on base or off base in a home you rent or purchase. There are advantages – and disadvantages – to either choice.

Some of the advantages of living on base include:

  • Living costs are covered, including utilities.
  • You save time and transportation costs because you are close to work.
  • Your family has easy access to post facilities such as the Commissary, BX or PX, MWR centers, and more.
  • Military Police and on post security offers peace of mind for personal and family safety.
  • You’ll have built-in camaraderie and support from neighbors in base housing who understand your lifestyle.

On the other hand, there can be downsides to living on base. When your military relocation order comes through, base housing may not be available where you are going. There may even be a waiting list, so even if you want to live on base, you may have to find temporary housing elsewhere until something on base becomes available.

As you think about settling inside the gates, be aware of the following:

  • Housing on base may not be as new or have the amenities as off-base housing. While some military bases have modern housing, many do not. Base housing may be outdated.
  • Base housing is assigned based on family size and other parameters. This means that some assigned housing may be cramped and inadequate for family needs.
  • Privacy can be an issue. While your military housing neighbors may provide a support network, sometimes it may feel like “I never get to go home.”
  • Living on base tends to isolate you from community involvement that can lead to contacts for present or future jobs, friendships, and community resources.
  • From a financial point of view, living on base offers no opportunity to build equity and take advantage of the benefits of homeownership.