With 15 military bases in Texas – a large chunk of which are right here in San Antonio – it’s no surprise that housing in the Lone Star state is in high demand.

Though most locations do offer on-base housing options, many military members (and their families) feel living off-site is a more suitable choice instead.

For one, it allows for a better separation between work and home life – something many servicemen and women crave. It also affords families more independence to come and go as they please, as well as have guests and visitors without hassle.

But deciding to whether to live on- or off-base is only the first of many decisions a military family must make. Once they’ve decided to take the plunge and find off-site housing, there’s yet another big choice to be made …

Should you rent or should you buy?

The truth is either is a good option. But the absolute best choice really depends on your needs, financial situation and circumstances.

Are you unsure if you should rent or buy your off-base housing? Here’s what you’ll want to consider:

  • How long will you be living there? Are you going to get transferred to one of the other military bases in Texas in a year’s time, or will you likely be at the same station for years or even decades to come? If you’re in it for the long haul, purchasing a house is a better option and can be a very wise investment. If you think you may be picking up and moving just a short time down the road, renting may be the best choice for the time being.
  • How much do you want to personalize your home? Are you big on interior design? Can’t wait to paint the walls, hang family pictures and add some slatted blinds? If you’re renting, you’ll have to hold your horses. Most landlords won’t allow a lot of personalization on their properties. After all, what are the chances the next renter will have the same taste as you? The landlord will likely have to undo all your work before putting it on the market – something they definitely won’t take kindly to. If you’re looking for a home you can really customize and make your own, buying is the way to go – hands down.
  • What are you willing to spend? Figure out what you can afford to spend each month on a mortgage or rent. Typically, a mortgage is going to run you a little bit less a month than rent, but you’ll also need to put up a down payment, too. You can use savings to cover these costs, but just make sure to keep a little bit stowed away in case of emergency. You never know when that rainy day fund might come in handy.
  • How much maintenance can you commit to? When you rent a property, the landlord typically handles all necessary maintenance and repairs. That means mowing the lawn, fixing the dishwasher, keeping the landscaping intact or replacing the broken water heater. With a purchased home, these maintenance needs (as well as the labor and money they require) fall on you. Make sure you – or someone in your household – is willing to commit to maintaining and caring for your property before making a purchase.
  • What is your family situation like? Do you have little kids? A dog or other pets? What does your family unit look like? This should play a big role in your decision to rent or buy. If you have little kids, a dog, or a busy, large family, renting might not be the best choice. For one, you want a property that your family can grow into, personalize and truly make their own. You can’t do that with a rental. Secondly, little ones and pets can get you in trouble. If the dog digs up the yard, the little ones color on the walls, or a sibling fight leaves the house in upheaval, your landlord won’t be a happy camper. You could end up footing the bill or, what’s worse, even get evicted.

The decision to rent or buy your off-base home is a big one, but whatever you do choose, The Claus Team is here to help. We’ll match you with the perfect properties for your family’s needs, preferences and budget, and we’ll guide you through the homebuying process every step of the way. Call us today to get started.

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