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If you are military, chances are you are trying to decide between on post and off post housing. Maybe you’ve had on post housing experience before. How will Fort Hood compare? Is it worth going off post?
Here’s a quick guide to how to consider your options.
Advantages of On-Post Housing
- Shorter Commute
- Convenient to Amenities
- Best for VIPs
If there is room available, on-post housing is the path of least resistance. Like a good soldier, just salute and go where you’re told!
Are you a late sleeper? 6:15 AM isn’t late for most folks, but if you hope to sleep in until then and still make the PT formation, living on-post can make the difference.
Convenient to Amenities
A benefit of living on-post is the services like the tax-free commissary, free gyms and pools, and legendary nightlife at the officer club.
Best for VIPs
Are you a Very-Important-Person? Flag officers, their “G-suite”, and all the way down to battalion commanders are often strongly encouraged to live on-post, close to the action, ready to jump into action for a 3 AM SIR.
Living on-post is like living in a giant, gated, HOA community with the US Army for your security team. Folks don’t generally get onto post without a good reason for being there.
Advantages of Off-Post Housing
- More Choices
- Better Choices
- Can Buy a Home
- Get Away from the Army
- Use Your BAH
- Not Limited by Rank
There tens of thousands more homes in the Killeen, Harker Heights and Copperas Cove area than there are on Fort Hood, and homes of all shapes, sizes, and quality. And if you are looking for something special, like a pool, some acreage, or a particular school, then the world is your oyster.
Probably like other posts, Fort Hood housing can be hit or miss. When buying or renting off-market, you have control over what home you are getting.
Can Buy a Home
You cannot buy a home on-post (Uncle Sam isn’t selling at the moment). Buying brings its own rewards. Buy intelligently each time you PCS and you can build a small portfolio of investment properties, giving you something on top of your VA retirement benefits after leaving. Or if you are coming to the Killeen are to retire, as many do, then getting your forever home may be ideal.
You also can’t be kicked out of a home you own, like some tenants are when their owners are PCSing back to Hood for a second time.
Get Away from the Army
The military is not a job. It’s a way of life. In a profession defined by uniformity, complete immersion, and sacrifice for the greater good, living off-post gives some folks a degree of needed separation from the Army.
Use Your BAH
You don’t get BAH when you live on-post. You do get BAH off-post, no matter what you actually spend on your housing. Instead of going back to the Army, that money stays with you in the form of home equity. Or, go all in and turn it into an investment with roommates, a multi-family to rent, or a budget-conscious home and keep the change!
I mentioned living on-post is like living in an HOA. A really, really nosy HOA with a lot of rules. Off-post has HOA options and most neighborhoods have deed restrictions, too. But especially when buying, you make your own rules. Get pets. Paint a bedroom. Build a pool. Have fun!
Not Limited by Rank
You’re a single E7? You aren’t going to be offered the same accommodations that an E5 with four kids is going to get. The Army decides what it thinks you need based on your rank and family situation. Off-post, the world is your oyster, and you can find something that meets your needs and hobbies.
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