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Military Housing | Pros and Cons of Living on Base

Should you live on base or off base? Now everyone's situation is different. But let's talk about some pros and cons of both, starting right now.




Hi, everyone. Welcome back to my channel. My name is Jodie Cordell, and I'm a realtor with Spence Properties here in Crestview, Florida.


Today I want to talk about some pros and cons of living on base versus living off base.


Let's get started. Let's start with the pros of living on base. Number one, BAH covers all of your housing costs. It covers your housing, your utilities, the maintenance and anything else that might come up. And it doesn't cost you anything to get it all set up to start living on base.


The housing is usually pretty decent too. We've had some of the best experiences, I think, living on base before and after it became privatized.


Number two. Most of your basic needs are met right there living on base. You've got your commissary, which is your grocery store. You've got the BX, which is like your department store. There's childcare centers, schools, gyms. And at Eglin, we even have a full service hospital. There's also fast food restaurants. There's a Starbucks, and there's actually a club for special events and complete with a sports bar.


Number three. No commute. Everything is close by. They usually put the commissary and the BX close to the residential part of the base so it's actually close enough to walk to if necessary. But for the active duty member, your commute, even at Eglin Air Force Base, the largest Air Force Base in the world, your commute is still going to be less than 10 minutes.


Number four. That sense of community. You really just can't beat that sense of community that comes with living in a military base neighborhood. I know I've made some amazing friends and had a lot of fun along the way during our time living on base.


Now let's check out some of the cons. Number one, you're segregated by your rank. You don't get to choose which neighborhood, or even really which house, you want to live in outside of the selection that's designated just for your rank.


Number two. You don't ever get that BAH. Your BAH goes directly to the housing manager. Basically, you get to see it come into your bank account and then go right back out again the same day.


Number five. You're constantly submerged in the military when you live on base. You can never really leave work. I know that when my husband was still active duty, it was like he was on call all the time because we lived right near the clinic where he worked.


So that's some of the major pros and cons of living on base. Let's explore the opportunities for living off base. Let's talk about the pros. Number one. You get to choose where you want to live. You can choose your neighborhood. What you want to live near, if it's shopping or restaurants or the beach. You can choose your house, and it doesn't matter who lives next door.


Number two. Your BAH should still completely cover your rent or your mortgage, whichever way you choose to go.


Number three. If you do choose to buy a house, you can definitely use your BAH as an investment. Couple this with using your VA home loan benefit, and you could easily start building equity that you'll be able to grow and keep long after you are out of the military.


Cons. Number one. Initial costs, whether you rent or buy, especially if you decide to buy a home. That's definitely something that you'll want to consider. If you're thinking of buying a home, you'll most likely need up to about 3% to 5% of the purchase price of the home.


Number two. If you get PCS orders, you may have to consider renting out your house or selling it.


Number three. Depending on your family situation, you may need to consider if the schools outside of the base are the best option for your children. And that's just another thing that you're going to have to think about.


So there you have it. Those are some of the main pros and cons to living on and off base.


But did you know that if you decide to purchase a home off base, you could qualify to use your VA home loan entitlement? Be sure to grab your free VA buyer's guide in the description below this video. It covers all the things that you need to know about using your VA loan entitlement, how to qualify, what you'll need for your down payment, where your credit score needs to be, how long it takes and other important things to know. Just click the link below, and you'll be able to grab that now.


Thank you so much for watching. If you liked this video, do me a favor and give me a big thumbs up. And if you have any questions about moving to the Emerald Coast or PCSing to Eglin Air Force Base, please be sure to drop those in the comments below as well.


I love answering your questions about moving to the Emerald Coast. If this is your first time here to my channel, please be sure to consider subscribing and don't forget to click the bell so that you get notifications every time I come out with a new video. I post videos here every Wednesday about all things real estate on the Emerald Coast.


Thanks again for watching. Again, my name is Jodie Cordell with Spence Properties here in Crestview, Florida. And I'll see you on the next video.