Post from MilitaryByOwner
Each time we make a move with the military, we have one huge decision to make: Do we live off base, or do we live on base?
In my experience, there are 7 things to consider before living in military housing—both pros and cons.
1) You may give up some privacy. We can be a nosy community. Combine that with living a few feet from each other, and you soon have a community that knows everything about you, right down to your daily routine. But don’t be fooled; you’ll soon know just as much about your neighbors, potentially more than you ever wanted!
You can laugh and let the lack of privacy bring you closer to your neighbors and community or let it frustrate you and turn into resentment. How you handle your privacy now is a good indicator of whether or not base living is a good idea for you.
2) You will never live in a stronger community. We bond quickly, because we understand each other’s trials and triumphs and we share in sadness and celebration. There is something truly special about discussing quality of life topics and knowing that the person sitting across from you gets it. While your civilian family and friends want to fully understand or think they do, there is nothing quite like talking to another military member or spouse. Immersing yourself in this greater military family can help you feel supported, encouraged, and also be a constant reminder that you are never alone.
3) You’ll find that everything is convenient. Maybe even too convenient. You won't have to leave base for much. With the commissary, exchange, and gym right there, you’ll find fewer reasons to leave. While this makes it incredibly convenient if you forgot a few groceries, you’ll need to be careful that it doesn't narrow the world you live in.
On another note, you’ll also find your bills considerably more convenient, because you won't have to set up utilities and rent separately. Your BAH (Base Housing Allowance) is simply deducted from the military member’s paycheck each month.
4) You may start to feel disconnected from your civilian life. Everyone you speak to on base has a basic understanding of your lifestyle, and you may find that you forget how to relate to civilians on the other side of the gate. Maintaining relationships off base is certainly not impossible, but it will require more work than before.
5) The military member may find it difficult to separate work from home. One of the reasons many of us choose to live in the community is to create some distance from the service member’s job. While you’re never really “off the clock,” the further you live from base, the greater the illusion. You also won’t have a commute to unwind and decompress after a long work day.
6) Your kids will never be bored. Military installations make a strong effort to provide events and activities for our children to get involved in, not to mention the great neighborhood community they will grow up in!
7) Your pets may not be allowed. Base housing is often stricter about pets allowed in homes than your typical civilian landlord. It’s obvious and understandable that some exotic animals are not permitted, but you may also need to check numbers as most military installations only permit a certain number of dogs and cats. These stipulations vary from base to base. To get an accurate list of rules and regulations on household pets, contact your local base house office.
You may find that living on base is everything you've been looking for, or you might discover that living in the community works best for you and your family. Whatever you decide, happy house hunting!
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