As a military family, you’re familiar with the challenges of transitioning to a new base every few years. If your next stop is Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM), you may need to decide between off-post or on-post housing. This is an important decision that affects everything from your budget to your everyday life. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together this guide about everything you need to know before you decide between off-post and on-post housing at JBLM.
The Housing Options Available on JBLM
One of the advantages of living on post is that the military offers home models with ready-made leases. Unfortunately, this comes with some downsides, like availability. On-post housing often runs out of space, especially during peak seasons, leaving military personnel waiting months for a living space. This delay may be frustrating for some. Off-post housing, on the other hand, allows you to choose from a wider variety of properties. Working with an experienced realtor can help you narrow down your options to meet your family’s lifestyle and budgetary needs.
The Cost of Living on JBLM
When deciding between off-post and on-post housing at JBLM, you need to consider the cost of living. On-post housing is typically more expensive, usually costing near 100% of your Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rate. Off-post housing, on the other hand, allows you to pocket the difference between your BAH and rent, which can add up to significant savings over time. Living off-post also allows you to shop around for better deals on utilities, groceries, and other necessities.
The Commute Time to JBLM
When living off-post, you must consider the commute time to JBLM, which can affect your quality of life and overall job performance. The traffic in the area can be heavy during rush hour, so you need to factor this into your decision, along with the distance between your home and the base. Living on-post allows you to avoid this issue altogether, but you’ll need to consider your access to services outside of the base. Living off-post is also ideal for families who want to explore the surrounding areas and amenities.
The Pet-Friendly Policies at JBLM Housing
If you’re a pet owner, you need to consider the pet-friendly policies at JBLM housing. On-post policies can be strict, often limiting the size and breed of pets allowed. Renting off-post allows you more flexibility with regard to pet ownership. Many off-post homes are pet-friendly, and property owners are often more inclined to allow pets since the properties are their investment. Off-post living can often be a better option for those with pets.
On-post housing options available can be very limited, and you may not have the option to move into a home that meets all your requirements. Owning a home off-post comes with the opportunity to build equity. Using VA benefits, veterans can buy a new home with little to no down payment. This allows them to build ownership over time and generate profits through ownership.
The Amenities and Services Available on JBLM and Off-Post
Finally, you need to consider the amenities and services available on JBLM and off-post. The on-post housing community is designed to cater to military families with services like community centers, playgrounds, and sports fields. Living off-post allows you to explore the wider community, including schools, churches, hospitals, and parks. Off-post housing also allows you more flexibility in choosing the amenities you need, especially for families with specific interests or needs.
Choosing between off-post and on-post housing at JBLM is a big decision that requires careful consideration. By considering the housing options available, the cost of living, the commute to JBLM, pet-friendly policies, and amenities and services, you can make an informed decision that meets your family’s needs. If you want to find the perfect home for your family, consider working with an experienced realtor like me. Contact me today to learn more or get assistance in getting you home.Read more: Off-Post vs On-Post Housing at Joint Base Lewis McChord – What You Need to Know Before You Decide!
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