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Thread: living on base vs off.

  1. Old Newbie
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    #1

    living on base vs off.

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    What is the wait list time for Navy bases? Do you have to be a certain rank in order to live on base?

    My husband is going to boot camp in a month and we are planning to live off base wherever we move, but binge-watching Army Wives makes me wonder if it would be better to live on base, if possible.

    Which do you think is better?
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    #2
    Wait time depends on rank, base, many factors. All ranks can live on base. Depending on where you get stationed will depend on so many factors of what you can afford to what is the best option to what you want to do. Some locations you won't be able to due to what the BAH is and the cost of living don't really match that you can't afford everything to live off base.

    We are waiting to get into housing right now at our current duty station and I think we are waiting up to 8 months right now. But other ranks there is no waiting time.
    Last edited by Margot31; 04-18-2017 at 04:49 PM.
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    #3
    At our base, the wait list is currently 2 months - 1 year. It depends on how many dependents you have, time of the year (high PCS season), etc. Navy housing isn't always actually on base either. Here in Hawaii it surrounds base and there are multiple communities all over the island, but only very high ranking Navy housing is actually located on the base itself.
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    #4
    It depends on when you get there, how many dependents you have, your rank, the location you're in... a whole host of things. I've hated living on base. For one, as a childless couple, on post communities are very 'kid friendly'. Which means they let them roam and pretty much do whatever they want, and I hate it. It's also very tight-knit, and gossipy. Plus, you don't really get to experience the area that you're in.

    We lived on post here out of necessity and I will never live on post again if I can help it.


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    #5
    The less money you make as a family unit the more living on base typically makes sense. In general (there are always exceptions) living on base provides rent, trash service, water, electric and basic landscaping services in exchange for either full BAH (basic allowance for housing) or a significant chunk of it. Living on vs. off is very dependent on where you are stationed. In some areas living off base may not be an option because the cost of living is too high. In others it's easy to 'make money' by living off base in a smaller house/older house/etc.

    At our current base we live in base housing and like it. There are downsides, of course, but DH has never felt like he 'doesn't leave his job' which is often the number one reason for living off base. In my opinion, unless you plan on buying, there isn't much of a downside for trying out base housing for a year. If you decide it isn't for you after your lease is up you can move off base and have a better idea of the city and therefore a better idea of good vs. bad areas.
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    #6
    Wait times have so many variables there is no telling. Even for the same location one person can wait x amount of time and another person wait a totally different amount of time. It depends on rank, number of bedrooms needed, if you have pets, what's available, and which housing you choose (there are various communities per duty station...sometimes you only qualify for one and other times you qualify for more). Housing is also not always on base. Some are but not all.

    This is the second time in just shy of 16 years we've lived in housing and the first that has been on base. The first time was off. See and we got right in. At that time we didn't have pets and only needed 2 bedrooms. Now, we have pets and need 4 bedrooms. It took about 6/7 months to get a single family house but we could have gotten right into a townhouse (back to that whole sometimes you qualify for more than one community). However, we were told to expect an 18 month wait.

    As for living in housing being better or not, that depends. It depends on how much income y'all have, other bills, what you need as far as bedrooms, if you have pets, if you want to not really get to pick your house and it's floor plan, if you don't care to live where he works and with others in the military (some that may even be in his command)....sometimes they like to have that divide between work and home. You'll have to look at rentals when you find out his duty station and his paycheck to see if renting in town would be doable money wise and if it is, if that is what y'all would want otherwise as well. Make sure to factor in gas money. Not always but sometimes housing can be farther from his work than living out of housing. Even though we live on base now my husband doesn't work on this base. He had to drive to another base and has to go through and area that can be a pita to drive through at times.
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    #7
    There are a lot of threads on this if you do a search. Reading those might give you a lot of good info.

    Wait list varies by specific base. Some have openings almost all the time, or within a few weeks. Others can have waits literally years long. This depends on base, rank, family size, time of year, and more. Most bases have housing for all ranks, but it can be in different locations, like San Diego that has probably 10 different military housing neighborhoods (most of which are actually not on base, but they are free military housing), and each has a different range of ranks.

    We live on base now, and only because it is 100% required. It has never been the right choice for us, and probably never will be, but that depends so much on what you value most, as well as rank and family size. (Generally, the more kids you have and the lower the rank, the better deal military housing is financially.)
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    #8
    Echoing what everyone else said, but it's also annoying to live on base sometimes. I liked being really close to the commissary and hospital but I hated having to wait in line and get my ID checked just to go home. Also the gate by my house closed at like 9pm so if I was ever coming home after that I had to remember to completely reroute and that was also annoying. In Louisiana we would've been living in a trailer and making our dogs sleep outside so on post was the only option, but if it's affordable I'd venture to say off post is better the majority of the time.
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    #9
    I'm not super sure about the wait times or the costs either because I never had to handle that part of it. But my father is retired Navy and I actually liked living on base versus off of one. I liked being able to walk where I needed to go. Being close to the exchange and commissary is really wonderful, but it may have also helped that we just weren't super social with the other families so we didn't have many problems with other people.

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