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Thread: On-base? or Off-base?

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    Help On-base? or Off-base?

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    This is a question that has got my fiance & I confused. Would we rather live on or off base? I'm looking for someone who had to do this decision or even if you chose one, how it's going. What are the benefits & cons of each one? I'm specifically talking Camp LeJeune, not that it matters much. Any advice?
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    It matters very much! Some bases I would never live on base, some bases I would never live off. At LeJeune (where my husband lived when he was in the marines), he/we preferred off base, but you have to be smart, since some areas are real shit. We really liked living on Emerald Isle, but he has friends who lived on topsail and really enjoyed it. Since everything is so cheap down there, we were actually able to pocket extra money each month and he lived in a big, beachfront house.
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    The amount of BAH your SO is receiving is really the deciding factor, IMO. If he is newly in and a lower rank, receiving less BAH, on base may be the most cost-effective. This is especially true if water/electric/gas/trash is included. Also, do you have pets? That can make it much more expensive/difficult to find decent off-base housing.

    Vino is definitely right, though, some areas have much more affordable rentals than others.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.VinoVet View Post
    It matters very much! Some bases I would never live on base, some bases I would never live off. At LeJeune (where my husband lived when he was in the marines), he/we preferred off base, but you have to be smart, since some areas are real shit. We really liked living on Emerald Isle, but he has friends who lived on topsail and really enjoyed it. Since everything is so cheap down there, we were actually able to pocket extra money each month and he lived in a big, beachfront house.
    We were thinking about staying in Jacksonville if we did off base. I just actually went to Topsail with him this past weekend for a romantic date. It was gorgeous! I know Jacksonville is such a touchy place. He won't even let me go downtown. Did you not like the idea of living on base BECAUSE it was LeJeune?
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCPlove View Post
    We were thinking about staying in Jacksonville if we did off base. I just actually went to Topsail with him this past weekend for a romantic date. It was gorgeous! I know Jacksonville is such a touchy place. He won't even let me go downtown. Did you not like the idea of living on base BECAUSE it was LeJeune?
    He didnt live off base because he could get a better house at a better price off base. We dont have kids, so we dont care about school systems yet. He hated the idea of being surrounded 100% of the time by all military, allt he time, so off base made sense. I would stay out of J-ville itself though. Its gross, and getting onto base in the morning is a nightmare from that way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by missinghim View Post
    The amount of BAH your SO is receiving is really the deciding factor, IMO. If he is newly in and a lower rank, receiving less BAH, on base may be the most cost-effective. This is especially true if water/electric/gas/trash is included. Also, do you have pets? That can make it much more expensive/difficult to find decent off-base housing.

    Vino is definitely right, though, some areas have much more affordable rentals than others.
    He is an LCpl. About to be Cpl. The ones on base I was looking at did have everything included & we do want to get a Husky. So I am kind of worried about on base breed restrictions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.VinoVet View Post
    He didnt live off base because he could get a better house at a better price off base. We dont have kids, so we dont care about school systems yet. He hated the idea of being surrounded 100% of the time by all military, allt he time, so off base made sense. I would stay out of J-ville itself though. Its gross, and getting onto base in the morning is a nightmare from that way.
    True, I mean we have only looked at a few apartments in Jacksonville. I've only been down there once and we avoided J-ville as much as possible. We are currently trying to conceive so school systems aren't important right now. But, I have to consider having my child around the military life all the time.
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    #8
    If you want to live off-base in Jacksonville be careful, there are DEFINITELY parts of town you want to avoid. Plus keep in mind he traffic! Getting on base in the AM is the worst part (I'd never seen traffic like that before). Look up reviews, ask around, see if you can find FB groups for advice, etc. If you can go anywhere near HWY 17 South (towards Wilmington) look into it. Holly Ridge and Hampstead aren't too bad especially if your SO can get onto base using the Sneads Ferry gate (then he will never have to go into Jacksonville itself). Plus Topsail is really nice.

    DB and I obviously aren't married but I spend a ton of time in J-ville seeing as he is up there. I would suggest checking how the wait lists are like right now for on-base housing if you want to consider it.

    Check out city-data.com for info on J-vegas, Holly Ridge, Swansboro, Hampstead, Wilmington, Sneads Ferry, and other nearby cities.


    When are you moving to Lejeune?
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    #9
    I would (and did/do) live off base for Lejuene. Your husband will HATE his commute if you live in Jacksonville and he has to sit in traffic on Western Blvd and hwy 24 everyday. I recommend living north of the base, to avoid the commuter traffic. Most Marines live in Jacksonville and have to sit in stop and go traffic for miles on hwy 24 north every morning.

    We lived in Swansboro, and DH never sat in traffic. He could access the back gate or the front gate, without issue. The back gate doesn't get bad traffic, and Hwy 24 south doesn't get backed up in the morning, so even the front gate isn't bad if you live north of the base. Also, you pretty much want to avoid Western Blvd, because the traffic is really bad there, too.

    You can get inexpensive housing in Hubert, which is also north of base and super close to the back gate.

    Pros for on base:
    Rent and utilities covered
    Easy access to amenities, like the gym
    Avoid gate traffic in the morning

    Cons for on base:
    Having to go through the gate check every time you come home. I don't even drive on base if I've had one drink, because I'm too nervous.
    Your DH never leaves work. The USMC is in all your business

    Pros for off base:
    FREEDOM

    Cons for off base:
    Traffic, unless you choose the right area of town!
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    You can search the forums as this has been discussed many, many times

    It depend on you and what you want from a house, what you value most, and also his rank and your family size.

    In general, the higher the rank and the smaller the family, the less good of a deal it is, because you get more house for having more kids and for less BAH the lower ranking he is.

    That said, there are so many other factors. I can't imagine DH and I would ever choose to live on base. For his next assignment, it is required for his job and we are both pretty bummed about it.

    We like being able to pick a house that suits us, style and layout-wise. We like being away from base and feeling separate from his work and from the military community. I like not having the super restrictive rules that bases tend to have about yards (though of course this will depend on HOA/apartment complex).

    It's just a much, much better deal for us o be in a house we choose, instead of one chosen for us.
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