Drive a Little, Save a Lot

“Where are we going to live?” As a newly stationed military member or someone who’s been living on base for a while, it’s a question that has likely come up a time or two. While on active duty, there are several housing options available to you. Typically these included government-owned and privately-owned on-base housing and various off-base housing options.

At Soundbuilt, we know that deciding whether to live on or off base is a big decision; join us as we explore the top 4 perks of off base living and discover if off base living may be the best fit for you and your family.

1. More Variety and Housing Options

Since base housing options are determined by your rank and the size of your family along with current availability, there are often waiting lists to join before you can receive housing. On the flip side, it also means that you may be asked to move more often than expected to accommodate others on the waitlist. According to The Military Wallet, “That can add up to a lot of extra moves paid out of pocket! If you live off base, there is no need to move until you get PCS orders.

Choosing to venture off base means giving yourself complete autonomy over your housing selection, ensuring you find a place that best suits your family, lifestyle, and budget. This includes upgrades and amenities like making sure you have enough space for that home office, studio, or playroom you’ve been dreaming of. It also gives you the option of purchasing a new construction home. Buying a new construction home means that you’ll get to work with the design team to create the aesthetic and functionality you want to a tee.

Soundbuilt Community’s off-base housing options include generous homesites with fenced-in yards, 2-3 car garages, community parks, and, most importantly, an easy commute to JBLM. With our Soundbuilt communities Pacific Ridge, Nisqually Place, and The Landing at Spanaway locations close to the base, you can create the home of your dreams at a price point you’ll love.

2. Work-Life Balance

Having a healthy work-life balance is essential to reducing stress and helps prevent burnout in the workplace and at home. Living off base puts more miles between you and the military and creates some much-needed separation between your neighbors and your co-workers.

Proud military wife and blogger Sybil Jones shares, “The best part of living off base for me is escaping that fishbowl, and my husband having the separation of work and home. I also loved seeing the new sights and meeting the locals.” about living off base.
Living in the local civilian neighborhood allows you and your family to immerse yourselves in a community of new people with various backgrounds and occupations. Sybil shares that getting to know your civilian neighbors is a great way to learn about the area and find all the cool local spots.

Finding a place off base might just mean a shorter commute for your civilian spouse and open the door to more local job opportunities. If you have children, it also means having the freedom to choose a home based on the school district and available extracurricular programs.

3. Potent to Save Money and Build Equity

Off base housing means applying your BAH to your future home, while living on base requires using all of your Basic Allowance Housing, regardless of your rank. Kristi Adams of explains that “Perhaps the biggest benefit in living off base is the option to purchase your own home. You have complete freedom to find a home that fits within your budget and BAH range...” according to, nearly 40% of service members do just that. Finding a home within or below your housing allowance may help you save money and allocate the rest of your BAH to other means. Moreover, purchasing property will enable you to build equity. If you move again down the road, you may profit from selling your home or maintaining it as a rental property to earn passive income.

4. More Freedom

Living on-base means increased rules and regulations. You and your visitors will frequently have to pass through security checkpoints to enter the base. While these measures are there for the safety of the base, your family, and your neighbors, it’s an additional factor to consider when choosing where to live. Independence from the military community also means that you do not have to comply with the base's rules and regulations, such as curfews, home inspections, or home and lawn care limitations. It also means a little more freedom regarding the amount and type of pets you’d like to have in your home.

Live Off Base with Soundbuilt!

There are so many deciding factors to consider when moving to a new area, from the community you live in to whether you rent or buy, and deciding what best meets your family’s needs is essential. If you’re looking to put a little separation between your work and personal lives with a variety of housing opinions and the potential to build long-term equity, then buying off base may be the right option for you. Contact our concierge team today to learn more about making your off-base housing dreams a reality.


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