Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Should You Live On Base?

It's one of the most frustrating questions a military family faces. Should we live on base? 

One of my old high school friends, (and a new mil spouse) recently asked me this same question. And I wish I could give her a straight answer. But I can't. I can only give my solid opinion about Joint Base Charleston.

Andrew and I have had the good fortune to be stationed only at Joint Base Charleston so far. We've lived in two very different houses here, one in "old housing," and one in "new housing." 

Our first two years were spent in old housing. As a young married couple fresh from our college apartment, we were just excited to have parking spots we didn't have to pay for. And washer/dryer hookups. And a dishwasher. And more than one room. However, two years of small windows, mold problems, and a paint color that can only be described as "snot," were more than enough. So we moved to the "new" housing when Andrew received another two years here.

New housing has been great. Yes, they take all our housing allowance, but in return we don't pay for any upkeep, we don't mow lawn or pay for utilities, and we are so close to the commissary and the Navy Exchange that we can walk there. Most of my military friends have lived on base, and it is easy to meet up for walks or playdates and meet other milspouses when they are right around the corner. 

So, to answer the question, "should you live on Joint Base Charleston?," I would have to say yes. We find it well worth our money, especially in new housing. 

To answer the general question, "Should We Live On Base?," you have to consider a lot of different variables.

  • How much space do you need?
  • How far is the commute to base?
  • How long is the wait to get base housing?
  • How new are the houses?
  • Pet policy?
  • What amenities do they have on base?
  • How long might you be stationed there? 
It would also be a good idea to stalk some of the Facebook Groups and get their opinions. Yes, people love to talk trash and will be arguing, but at least if seven people tell you the base smells like a rotting pig carcass, you can take that as a good indicator that there may be some truth to it. It's good to do your research. And not just on the base website, as those lovely images are probably pictures of the best the base has to offer. Just Remember: 

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