Whether you stayed in the barracks for the duration of your contract or had the opportunity to stay outside the gates, there are sure to be a few differences between what you’ve previously experienced and renting in the civilian world. Here are some tips to help make this part of your transition easier.
1. You actually have to apply
Yes, that’s right. Gone are the days where everyone in a 45-mile radius of base automatically knew your occupation and the guaranteed monthly BAH check that came with it. You will now have to submit an application and consent to a full background and employment check. Oh, and nine times out of 10, you have to pay for this to be done.
2. Utilities – Included vs. Not
In places like New York, state law requires landlords to supply running water and sewer for their renters. However, Pennsylvania does not require the same thing. Because these laws vary state to state, what you didn’t have to pay for at your last duty station could be different now. Make sure it is clearly outlined in your lease what utilities you’re responsible for and, if possible, ask the landlord for an estimated cost for each of them. A $600 lease could quickly become a $1,000 monthly payment with all things considered.
3. Moving Costs
If this is your first move after getting out, chances are the military is paying to have it done. Because all moving costs will be covered, your biggest hurdle will be getting reimbursed for anything lost or damaged. Keep all paperwork. Remember the black hole your records always seemed to disappear into while you were in? Well, it’s twice as big now that you’re out.
If this is not your first move out of the military or if you chose to do a DITY move there’s a few things you’ll need to consider. The advertised price of a moving truck will never be the end amount you have to pay. Twenty bucks a day sounds great until you have to pay for every mile driven and to refill the tank. Also, take into consideration helping hands on the other end. You’re no longer going to have a unit of buddies to bribe with pizza and beer to help unload.
4. Renter’s Insurance
Especially if you lived on base previously, renter’s insurance is probably something you never thought much about. For less than $20 a month you can insure everything you own, including electronics and high-value jewelry. Start by checking with your current car insurance company because, in most cases, when bundling another insurance policy with a current one the discount offsets the cost, making it almost free!