Monday, January 24, 2011

Military Housing

Military Mondays Family and Spouse Carnival at Army Wives' Lives

Besides a few apartments when housing wasn't available yet, we have always lived in housing.

I like that I don't have a lease, that I can leave when I want, and that there is always someone to call if something goes wrong.  I like that there is always a fenced in backyard.  It's awfully convenient to have someone come unlock your door when you manage to lock yourself out, with no fees.

Housing will mow my yard when Gunner is gone.  They will come pick up a dead animal in my yard if I call them.

We have lived in stairwell housing in Germany, "townhomes" at Fort Lewis & Fort Hood, a duplex at Fort Hood, a duplex at the Academy, and now we are in a townhome type situation once again.

I currently LOVE our house.  It's not big, but there's room.  I like having a garage.  There are enough bathrooms for us, especially since Junior doesn't use one.

I like being close to a shoppette, the commissary, the px, and hourly daycare.

Some of the drawbacks are that you are very close to your neighbors.  Last week I had the crap scared out of me because someone rang my doorbell at 11 pm.  I answer the door and it's the MP's asking about a domestic disturbance.  I explained that I had three sleeping children, a barking dog, and a deployed husband. They were looking for my neighbor.

At Hood, our neighbor (in our duplex) tried to kill his wife.  He went to jail for about a month till he was bailed out, and he came back and within minutes we were surrounded by MP's.  Housing moved her out the next day to an undisclosed location.

Gunner once found our neighbor's kid in a diaper, down the street, in freezing weather, playing near a storm drain.

So anyway, all this leads up to me being addicted to House Hunters.  Maybe it is the fact that we have never owned a house and I dream of one day (not anytime soon) buying our first house.  Maybe it is because I like to see how other people live.  (Surely I'm not the only one who is out walking the dog and will glance over if a window is open to see what it's like.  Really, I'm not a peeping ABW!)

What I have a hard time with is people that turn their nose up at the houses they are shown!  I know people want their "dream house" with the big master bathroom, walk in closets, an island in the kitchen, and all the things that they have dreamed of.  Maybe it is so many years of just taking what is offered, that I can't imagine being THAT picky?  We do have a master bathroom and a walk in closet in this house, but many haven't had those features.

I sometimes think if Gunner and I went on that show, they would show us the first house, and we would sign for it.  Having alternatives?  Unheard of!  A garden tub?  Never had one, but was at my mom's house and discovered that it is hard to bathe a child in one.  A gigantic kitchen?  I'd probably just fill it with appliances instead of having the bare minimum.

We have never looked at a house and said "the rooms are too small" but instead say "we'll give Junior the smallest room since he is the youngest" or "Em can have the small room this time because it has a door to the bathroom".  We don't look at a kitchen and think about all the baking we are going to do and the lack of counter space, we are just relieved if there is a pantry to put food in!

What's the best housing you have ever lived in?  (Ours is here at Carson)

Have you ever bought a house at a duty station, and was it worth the trouble when you moved?

Have you ever had crazy neighbors like mine?

How has living in military housing changed the way you view your future home?


Kasey said...

We always live in post housing as well. I love the convenience and I love that my husband can come home during the day to spend time with me and the kids. Besides the house we lived in we were first moved to Bragg, all the others have been very nice.

Now neighbors, haha, we always seem to get the horrible ones. Ones that stalk us, ones that throw parties all hours of the day and night, and ones that are just plain trashy.

Even though I like living on post, I CAN'T WAIT to own my own house!! I love to look through magazines to get ideas of how I love to decorate or dream about the screened in porch I will one day have. Someday..

And in regards to House Hunters, I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN!! I watch that show and tell my husband, "That is what they are complaining about?! That is why they didn't pick that house?!" It makes me annoyed that these people act like that, lol.

Missy said...

I also LOVE house hunters / property virgins!

When we were in England we lived off base in an apartment which was a great experience. I only had one or two American friends the rest were all British. However, the last month we lived there we had new neighbors who ALWAYS put their screaming/crying children outside on the porch when they were misbehaving (maybe it was their time out area?). This wouldn't have been so bad except that our porches were attached and our apartment was only 5 feet away from theirs. Very loud. Also, one of the kids (4 year old) threw a rock through one of our windows. We were not amused.

Now we are living in base housing. It is very nice because it is brand new and we are the first people living here.

I look forward to one day buying a house so I can tear down walls and do some simple upgrades that I won't have to rip out when we move.

Sespi said...

We've never lived in military housing, but we sure do have crazy neighbors - like the retired Army guy down the street who came down to scream in my face that he was going to shoot and kill my dog if she ever barked at his kid again... while my husband was deployed!

We own our home right now, and are currently trying to figure out what we're going to do with it when we OCS. I think we're going to end up renting it if we can, but I'd be just as happy selling it and never looking back.

As for looking at houses... I think the pickiness has to do with the fact that you're going to sink SO MUCH MONEY into it over the years. If you're going to spend all that money, why not make it on a house that you love? If someone were going to give me a house for nothing, I wouldn't quibble... but if I'm paying for it, you'd better believe it's going to be exactly what I want! Or at least that I'll be able to make the changes I want for a reasonable price :)

Anonymous said...

We lived on post after we first got married. It wasnt bad and we actually lived in a part they were phasing people out so they could tear down so we didnt have any neighbors there. I liked being close to everything on post and having someone fix things for me.

We then moved to stairwell living in Germany and I HATED it.

We rented off post in VA and were close to post so it was nice.

Now we bought a house in OK.
Its better for us to be off post because we have two German Shepards that love room to run around outside. Plus I am just not big on being close to neighbors. (we live in the country right now) I havent yet moved from the house we bought but we are talking about renting it out and that way we have a house to come back to because more than likely we will be back at this station again.

I love having our own house that we can paint and not redo and we also put new flooring in. What sucks about having our own house is we have to fix things but so far it hasnt been to big of a deal just something to get use to.

Uncle Dan said...

Ladies, remember that you are watching a "Scripted TV SHOW" and not actual fact. If you look closely, you may see that some of the houses in the shows are recycled from previous shows.

Birdie said...

@Uncle Dan, the show is not scripted lol! I actually know someone that was featured on House Hunters and it was very real!

I haven't ever lived on post, my husband used to live at Ft Knox in a townhouse. I think the small town atmosphere at Know was wonderful and I'd like to live there. I agree that most of the time those buyers are the nit-pickiest bunch lol! I happened to stumble onto a steal of a buy, so I bought my house when I was 21. It needed (and still needs) a lot of cosmetic stuff, but I can't ever imagine being that picky. I'd like to have a nice big house someday but I def dont have a wacky 3 page list of "needs" lol

McMGrad89 said...

When it comes time to spend your actual money on something that is going to be yours "forever" and is going to have to gain value over time, you will be looking at every detail. In the end you take the lesser of the evils and pick the one that will cost you the least to get started in (down payment, repairs, etc.)

When we moved around, we rented. Even when we first moved back to Ft Hood, we rented. When we finally bought a house, I realized, renting wasn't all that bad and home ownership is not all its cracked up to be. I also found out that my DH is not a handy man and when we move out of this house in June, I will be paying someone to come fix all the things we neglected to do when we lived here. I think we will rent again when we move to Missouri.

Jessa said...

I'm in my first military anything, so obviously I have little experience. When we first saw our house from the outside we were disappointed. It looked teeny tiny, it's old (like 40-50 years) and it's ugly. And then we got to do our walk through and honestly, I love it. We have a bonus room off our living room that we use as our dogs "bedroom". We have a full kitchen (even if it is a little weird), we have a large dining room with big windows looking out into our fenced in backyard and patio. We have a garage and driveway, 3 good sized bedrooms, 1.5 bath... What's there not to like? It's about 1700 sq. ft. which is plenty of space for me. I honestly have no interest in ever living off post. While the thought of just being assigned a place vs. picking one is a little weird, I have a roof over my head.

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

I (mostly) love housing for all the reasons you mentioned. We had a GINORMOUS brand new house at Fort Bragg that I mourn leaving every day. We live in a craptastic "5-bedroom" on Fort Polk that leaks, has bugs, and has been a nightmare since moving in. I can't wait to move - we're going to San Antonio!

I have never owned my own home, but we did live off-post once, and it was a friggin' nightmare. I love the security I feel having the housing office there and accountable, landlords suck when you rent! We will not be ready to buy until we are much closer to his retirement (he has 14 years in).

BTW, wonderful to "meet" you through the Military Family Blogger Carnival!

Jenna said...

We are at our first duty station in Okinawa, Japan. When we moved over here, we were required to live on base, so we really didn't have a choice. We live in a "tower" apartment, which we really like being in close proximity with lots of neighbors, but I can see it being not-so-fun with kids.

I can't wait to have a house that is ours that I can customize, invest time and energy in, and really make HOME. We've done what we can with paint and accessories here, but it only goes so far (especially with institutional-like tile floors and tile ceilings!).

Abbey said...

We have lived on and off base, multiple times, and have owned 2 homes. I don't think that I will ever have my name on another home.. I like to change too much and I don't think that we could stay settled to ONE home for "FOREVER".

I have a love/hate relationship currently with Ft Hood housing, as you know. I love, love, love the layout and space of our home. It's a great fit for us. HOWEVER... the outside needs to be painted badly, and the contractors that come to "fix" things have been less than desirable in my opinion.

Currently, I'm happy here. Ask me again in another year though!!

PS... I'm sure that House Hunters would love to follow a returning serviceman, who is getting out of the Army soon, back to Central Texas to find a home to scrutinize. **Cough,cough**

Candace @ArmyWives'Lives said...

We lived off-post, two apartments (Sill, Hood) and a house (Hood).

Primarily, my DH wanted to get away from work when he was off work.

Although I was definitely picky when we bought our home in NY after leaving active, mainly because you pay SOOO much for SOOO little here, I agree that I sometimes wonder about the complaints I hear.

My first ever "adult" home with my DH was a one-bedroom in Manhattan and it was TINY--little kitchenette that was part of the living room, no counter space, etc. When he went to Basic and OCS, I moved to a studio apartment in the suburbs with even less space to save money.

We were mid-20s professionals with graduate degrees and he had a law degree. We felt lucky just to find something we could afford!

So, I have to wonder when I hear 19-20 year olds with high school degrees complaining about how awful it is that they don't have a giant, single-family, 4 bedroom house...

Not that our military families don't deserve the best--but when so many are losing their houses in today's economy, I would think more people would be happy to have a clean, comfortable home!

Tonya said...

We've never lived on base. I always liked living off. We bought our first home and it was great having the freedom to decorate as we wished. When it was time to move, we rented it out. Since then, we have rented homes and it has been a great experience for us. We just make sure that we always have a military clause in there so that when it's time to move because of orders, we won't have a problem.

Stephanie said...

Best and only housing we've lived in was at Vandenberg AFB in California. We had a really lovely 2 bedroom, two bath house with a huge backyard and tons of windows. It was a really nice experience for us, but we've always wanted more privacy and more responsibility and more "normal life" when we moved to Alaska we bought a house. It was a fantastic experience. We made a boatload of money both while we lived there (due to a very high housing allowance and a low mortgage) and when we moved and sold it.

Also, I felt like more than a "dependent" and that alone was priceless. Living around people who were not military and getting to know and live like the locals was a fantastic experience.

We bought here at our current duty station and love it! We bought our "dream home"'s so much more than we ever thought we'd have at this point. We are so happy we got this assignment all because of our home. It's got land and everything we ever dreamed of.

I honestly can't see us ever living happily on base again. We might do it if we have to leave here and decide to rent our house instead of selling. But we wouldn't enjoy it. For us the privacy and responsibility of owning our own home is something we are really proud of. Plus, home improvement projects have given my husband alot of new hobbies and I've discovered I love to garden.

Living in housing has made me appreciate what a priviledge it is to own something myself. Pride of ownership is a big deal to my husband and I. We love our home and work really hard to maintain and improve it. Living in housing made us lazy- but now weekends will find us working really hard around the house. We like that.

Anonymous said...

We had a brand new gorgeous 4-bedroom single family home at Fort Riley. It was amazing with a two car garage, pantry, separate living, dining and tv rooms, and a big front porch. I loved it!

Now we are in Korea in a teeny, tiny 3 bedroom house on post (with 4 kids - they didn't have any 4 bedrooms available for 7 months and it was a take what we are offering now - or live off post situation) with one combined TV, living room, dining room and bunkbeds in both the very small bedrooms. (we have 3 boys and a girl so there was not an easy "who has to bunk with your sister" choice either).

Sure we could have lived off post, but like you - I love the conveience of living on post. Especially here in Korea where you are only allowed one car and having the post shuttle stop outside your housing is a major plus.

We are leaving here in July to go to Fort Drum and from what I hear - they have amazing housing. I'm looking forward to having a house with a garage again. Anything in addition to that will be a huge bonus!!