A great benefit of moving with the military is that you and your family will likely have a number of housing options once you reach your new location. But that also means that it’s not a straightforward decision. There are pros and cons to all options so we’ve set out some of the choices you might be facing to help you make your decision.
Government-owned military installation housing
This is housing that is owned and maintained by the Department of Defense. It saves you from paying rent and most utilities. With this option, you give up your basic allowance for housing.
Privatized military installation housing
This allows military members and their families to live in a home built and maintained by a private-sector company. The Department of Defense has invested in privatized military installation housing in the last couple of decades. You can live in this housing and use your basic allowance for housing to pay for your rent. You will often be expected to pay for your own utilities. In some cases, you may be expected to buy renters insurance.
Single or unaccompanied military installation housing
This is often referred to as “the barracks” or “bachelor quarters.” These dormitories are not always private. Some service members share a room or a bathroom. The upside: this housing option comes rent free. My guess is that unless there are
Rent a home off the military installation
If you’re renting, make sure your rental contract includes an SCRA clause. This clause allows you to break a lease because of a PCS or deployment longer than a certain amount of time (this will vary depending on the contract). Most contracts must contain an SCRA clause but some, especially corporate rental properties try to get out of it, which will put you in a tough financial spot when you inevitably PCS mid-contract.
Buying a home
This is a big investment. If you choose to buy a home, then you need to be prepared to sell it or to find someone who is willing to rent it relatively quickly. Using a realtor (hem, hem, like ones in the MilHousing Network) can help answer common questions military families have when it comes to buying and selling a home.
Before making a decision, first look into any requirements set by your military installation. Some installations (especially overseas) require you to live on base under a certain rank), some don’t allow X number of pets in military housing, or won’t be able to accommodate your family for an extended period of time. These will all affect your decision when looking for housing at your new duty station. But, now that you have seen your options set out, you might be able to more clearly see what is the best option for your family.