Don’t want to live on base?

Living on base might be cheaper, but it comes with restrictions, including rules against pets and limited space and privacy.

Moving off-base, though more troublesome, can result in a much more comfortable living situation for a military member, especially one with a family.  Here’s how to do it:

Buying vs Renting

Just like any mover, military service members need to decide whether to buy or rent their new places.  However, with regards to buying, there is an added element of risk for military personnel, who might find themselves on the move again before their investment really pays off.

Renting provides some additional flexibility for members who might be asked to move, and it often comes with military discounts. Buying might come with loans guaranteed by the Veteran’s Association; however, it still anchors a member to the property.

Searching for a Place

Finding a new home or an apartment is much the same as for your average mover.  It involves doing the necessary research, making a budget and checking places out.  However, military personnel have some additional resources at their disposal, which can make the process easier and cheaper:

  • Relocation Office – The base will probably have personnel that know all about the local  housing landscape.  Ask them where most service members live, and see if they’re aware of any complexes that offer discounted rates.
  • Rental Partnership Program – This is a military organization that specializes in helping military members find rental housing for affordable prices.
  • Military Housing Agencies – There are many businesses that specialize in locating properties and rentals near military bases.  Try Googling “off base housing” in your new location, and see what comes up.
  • Veterans Association – The Veteran’s Association can be of great help to military members.  Local factions can help members find housing, and the larger association guarantees home loans for members, making it easier to buy a home.

Signing the Lease

Military members need to remember one important thing when signing a lease: the military service clause.  This essentially states that the military member will be allowed out of the lease if the military requires them to transfer before the lease is up.  If the clause is not present in the contract, a military member might find themselves in another state (or overseas!) while still paying rent at their old rental unit.

Again, make sure you have this clause.  And don’t worry about a military clause preventing you from getting a unit.  You’re protected by the Fair Housing Act, which prevents discrimination against service members, and the Service Member’s Civil Relief Act specifically provides for it.


Learn about how to find temporary housing while you search for a permanent place.


Military Move Checklist

Military Moves

Off-Base Military Housing

What Is a DITY Move?

Government Constructive Cost