January 16, 2019

Should Your Military Family Live On-base or Off-base?

If you or your spouse is stationed at a military base such as Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC, you’ll have to choose whether you want to live on-base or off-base. If you or your spouse’s Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders mean you’re faced with that decision in the near future, here are some things you should consider.

If you live on-base, you must pay your entire Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to a privatized housing company in exchange for a house based on your family composition and military rank. The BAH also covers rental insurance and all utilities except for television and internet. You still receive the same BAH if you live off-base, so you can save money by finding cheaper housing and pocketing the difference. But, you might find that living on-base can save you money in other ways.

For example, the base provides services like a fitness facility and a commissary at which you can find affordable groceries. You’ll be more likely to use these amenities rather than buying a gym membership and pricey food if you live on-base.

You should also factor in the gas money you’ll save if you live on-base and don’t have to commute.

Quality: comfort and appearance

The quality of on-base housing varies depending on the location. If you live off-base, you have more control over the quality of the neighborhood and house in which you choose to live. If you’re very particular about the amenities, appliances, room configuration, or other aspects of your house, living off-base gives you the freedom and flexibility to find exactly what you want.

You’ll also have more freedom to alter your house and yard if you live off-base. Most military bases have strict rules governing everything from mowing the grass to items used to dress up your yard, including temporary holiday decorations. So if you enjoy expressing your personality and taste through landscaping and exterior décor, you’ll likely be frustrated with the necessity of conforming to all the on-base standards.

Social Life

On-base housing comes with a built-in community of military spouses and families with whom you will become very familiar; you’ll shop at the same on-base stores, you’ll work out at the same fitness center, and your children will go to the same school. You’ll probably be able to make friends much more quickly under these circumstances and develop a support system on which you can lean when your spouse is deployed. Not only are these people located close by, but they can understand what you are going through.

But not everyone wants to be constantly immersed in this military social sphere. Some people prefer friend groups outside the military community. It takes a little more effort to make friends off-base, but it’s easier when you live in a close-knit community like The Preserve at Tidewater. Out centrally-located amenities, like our pool and outdoor kitchen, facilitate meeting your neighbors, with whom you can organize wine nights or playdates with your kids. And our neighborhood is close enough to Camp Lejeune that we have many military families mixed in among our civilian residents, so you’ll still have that empathetic support nearby when you need it.

If a relocation to Camp Lejeune is in your future, consider The Preserve at Tidewater for your off-base housing. We have dozens of floorplans for every lifestyle, so contact us today!