One of the amazing benefits of military life is the number of housing options available for servicemembers and their families. Each has its list of pros and cons, but they are possibilities nonetheless. Consider each of your choices carefully as you determine the next house for you and your family.

In most cases, military housing is provided for servicemembers, either on base or off. There are some exceptions to this rule so make sure you know your options before you move.

Here are 5 military housing options for you to consider:

1. Government-Owned Housing

The Department of Defense owns and maintains military installation housing that they can offer to servicemembers and their families. These can be on base or off and are known as government-owned housing. They can be apartments, duplexes, or even single-family homes, depending on the location. Some are brand-new properties while others are much older.

Though some servicemembers are given a housing allowance to cover the cost of rent and utilities, servicemembers who accept government-owned housing are offered the home instead of the allowance. One of the main benefits of this type of housing is affordability, but keep in mind the property may be poorly maintained. You don’t always know what you’re getting.

2. Privatized Military Installation Housing

The Department of Defense offers privatized military installation housing, and it has for a few decades. This program allows military servicemembers and their families to live in homes that private-sector companies have built and maintained.

With privatized military installation housing, you are allowed to utilize your basic allowance to cover the cost of rent and utilities. Depending on the house you choose, you may be able to cover the full cost of rent and utilities, but you also may not. It all depends on the property. If your home exceeds your housing allowance, then you’ll be covering the extra cost yourself. You may also need to purchase renters insurance, which can get pricey.

A huge benefit of this type of housing is flexibility in choosing your home, but a big con is that it can end up being far more expensive.

3. Home Purchase

Even as a military servicemember, you can always opt to purchase your own home. This is a great way to invest in property, and you can easily customize and decorate the space to fit your preferences. However, you do want to consider the downsides.

For one, you may have an unexpected move, so you want to consider how easy it would be to sell your home or find quality renters when necessary. Handling military mortgages can get complicated and overwhelming as well, but there are many services available for servicemembers to help you navigate the home-buying process.

4. Home Renting

When looking for homes as a military servicemember, you also have the option to rent one on your own. Review the rental agreement carefully before signing to ensure you understand the lease. See if there is a military clause that will allow you to break the lease should you be assigned to a new location or deployed. You don’t want to end up locked in a lease despite a move.

5. Unaccompanied Military Installation Housing

Often referred to as “the barracks” or “bachelor quarters,” this is a great housing option for single or unaccompanied military personnel. They tend to be dormitories and are not always private. You may end up sharing a room or bathroom with other servicemembers and they are not available for families. On the plus side, it’s a free housing option so you don’t need to worry about spending money on rent and utilities.

Other Military Housing Issues to Consider

Tackling the Stress of Moving

Moving can be incredibly exciting, but it’s no secret that it can get overwhelming… and expensive. When you don’t know the area where you’re moving to, you don’t know the best place to live. You also may not know how to best plan for the move. Not to mention, there are a lot of financial burdens involved in moving.

Thankfully, there are plenty of services and organizations available to military members and their families to help make the process of moving easier. Managing military mortgages, financial advice, and even help in moving are all available to you as a military member and spouse. Don’t hesitate to take full advantage of these.

Embrace the Diversity

When it comes to military housing options, there is so much diversity. Availability and desirability are what set the options apart from each other. Consider your family housing needs and investigate all of the various options in your new location since what worked for you before may not be best moving forward. Make sure to choose housing that suits your family’s needs. Consider availability, personal finances, and your preferences as you explore the possibilities.

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