ON or OFF Base Guam Housing?

Alex & Leah Del Mundo
Published on August 12, 2015

ON or OFF Base Guam Housing?

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Navy Housing

You’ve received your orders for the beautiful tropical Pacific island of Guam.  Naturally, one of the big questions you’ll have is whether or not to use base housing. For starters, there are a few things to consider when trying to decide to live ON or OFF base on Guam.

Some families  may not have a choice due to assigned base housing of some duty positions.  But if your family has the option, it would be good for you to discuss amongst yourselves the pros and cons of each choice. One or two of the considerations below typically make or break the decision to join other PCSd families on Guam living ON base.

1. Neighbors

    Pros

  • In most cases, neighbors are one of the top reasons to live on base. Families bond quickly, especially if a large unit is deployed and live close to each other.
  • Kids play with anyone around and they grow up together experiencing fun things like walking to the commissary for ice cream.
  • It’s good to bounce off discussions about quality of life issues with people close by who understand exactly what you mean.

    Cons

  • Nosiness, whether intentional or unintentional, is an unavoidable issue with ON base neighbors. Homes ON base are so close to each other that everyone’s daily routines become public knowledge.
  • Parking and lack of parking spaces can be an issue, especially when visitors arrive or a large event is planned.
  • Expect communal mail boxes, playgrounds that may be run down, and families who let their children have more freedom than you provide your own kids.

2.  Finances

     Pro

  • ON base housing offers many versions of savings. Gas, groceries, and utilities are cheaper.

     Con

  • When comparing with your OFF base friends, it’s hard not to feel like your OHA would buy more house in a traditional neighborhood.
  • Utilities may not be necessary more expensive OFF base since your family is also entitled to utilities allowance. Usage is really different from house to house and family to family.  If you re mindful, you can save a lot on utility cost.

3.  Security

     Pros

  • Military neighborhoods are pretty much gated communities, and most people who aren’t supposed to be there will not have access.
  • Your neighbors will notice and report anything that looks odd or different. Again, everyone knows everyone else’s routine.

     Cons

  • The overall secure feeling of living ON base has some families allowing their children to roam inappropriately.
  • It’s difficult for legitimate service providers (rug cleaners, veterinarians) to have access to the neighborhood without proper identification and car checks. The same holds true for friends and family hoping to visit. 

4.  Amenities

       Pros

  • It’s very convenient when it’s a quick walk to the Shoppette for milk or being able to get cheap lunch at the NEX just to get the kids out of the house for a bit.
  • Churches, libraries, community pools, and bowling alleys are so easy to use and do not have travel time or traffic.
  • Base events are always occurring. Concerts, lectures, clubs, festivals, and loads of kids’ events keep everyone entertained.

      Cons

  • Private housing neighborhood clubhouses are misused and sometimes abused by children without supervision.
  • Military sponsored events are open to all ID holders, but those living off base tend not to make the effort to come back to use the facilities.

5.  Schools

      Pro

  • Many school-aged children are able to walk to school.

     Con

  • The kids in your neighborhood will likely be the ones your kids are in school with and that could be problematic if there are any issues.

 6. Immersion

      Pro

  • If you have always lived ON base in all your assignments, then there won’t be a lot of surprises when moving to ON base housing on Guam.  You will be around the people who are in the same boat as you and the amenities and facilities  are pretty much what you have already seen at most bases.

     Con

  • You’re limited and don’t get to open your world to what the locals on Guam are enjoying/experiencing.  Guam is generally a safe place with very friendly and hospitable people.  You really won’t get to know and meet the locals in their element if you live ON base.

There really isn’t a clear cut answer whether to live ON or OFF base. Finding which living arrangement gives your family the most quality of life will be the best decision.

If you are considering to live OFF base, it’s best to contact us at LivingOnGuam.com as soon as possible so we can look at your housing options either before you arrive or as soon as you get here.

We look forward to welcoming you!

 

 

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