So you've decided that on-base housing is right for you. Get ready to live in a neighborhood with many of the perks of a gated community or a fantastic subdivision, including security guards, playgrounds, community centers, pools and maybe even a neighborhood Starbucks.
But there are a few things you should remember to do before you schedule your household goods delivery.
Get on the housing wait list. While some military bases have plenty of vacancies, others have long waiting lists. Don't assume you've got a home waiting for you on base. Play it safe and give the housing management office a phone call and make sure you're on the list for the correct neighborhood and home size. Many bases still organize their communities by rank, in part because the higher your rank, the more housing allowance you pay and the bigger the house you get in return. If you're going to fork over all of your monthly allowance, you'll want to be sure you're getting the most housing bang for your buck.
Know what's included — and what isn't. While one of the perks of on-base living is that your utilities are largely included in the cost of your housing, not all of your expenses are rolled in. Most on-base housing doesn't include the cost of cable or internet. And since 2015, on-base housing has not come with renter's insurance. You'll want to factor the cost of both of those things into your budget.
Know the base access rules. Enjoy having non-military friends and family visit? They may need to get visitor passes to get on base and to your home. No matter how they access the base, your guests will need to show a valid ID and be free of most felony convictions or any outstanding warrants. And if your visitors have an ID card that is not compliant with the Real ID Act, they may need to bring additional identification to access the base, such as a passport. The best thing to do before inviting visitors is to check with your base visitor center for that location's specific access rules.
Know the base pet rules. Like many rental homes, most military bases have strict rules about what kind of pets can live on base and how many pets each household may have. While those rules are generally more lenient on base than through your traditional off-base rental or apartment, they might be strictly enforced. Make sure you know whether all of your pets can live with you in your new on-base quarters.
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