Finding a new place to live can be stressful. This is especially true for members of the Armed Forces, who not only have to cope with looking a new house or apartment but also with the facts of military deployment. Fortunately, there are many great tools that can help active service members locate off-base military housing.
Typically, when moving to a new area, there are housing offices in place to help ease the transition. These provide an avenue between you and civilian real estate agents. Services such as this can make the housing search less stressful, since it can be a big undertaking on your own.
The Automated Housing Referral Network is the next step after dealing with housing offices. AHRN organizes all house and apartment listings in one place. It provides simple, step-by-step searches sponsored by the Department of Defense and all service branches. There are many different types of housing located within the AHRN, from off-base military housing rentals to government-controlled properties and military shared rentals.
In addition to the AHRN, there may also be a rental partnership program where you are stationed. In some cases, the military installation makes arrangements with local property managers to keep a set number of units available, specifically for service members. Asking if there are any rental partnerships near your base may be a fast and affordable way of renting a home.
There may also be privatized housing available, where you can rent and still receive your Basic Allowance for Housing, or BAH. Civilian property managers own and maintain a building, and they act as your landlord, with minimal involvement from the military.
When looking for a new home, you will be faced with the decision of whether or not to rent or buy. This is a very important decision, since you might be transferred on short notice. Depending on how secure you feel in your current situation, you might want to wait to buy. If buying is an option, don’t rush the process. Make sure your entire family is involved. When renting is the way to go, create an agreement with your landlord to terminate the lease in case you are reassigned.
Moving can be difficult. The best way to go about it is to use the services available to you, and make smart financial choices.