Camp Blanding Army Base - Military BAH
Located in Clay County, Florida, Camp Blanding Army Base is a combined-use facility ideal for training the Florida National Guard and the Florida Army National Guard. The Florida Air National Guard also uses this facility for maneuvers and training which don't involve flying. Camp Blanding Army Base is a suitable readiness training facility for weather squadrons. This training camp is ideal for most Florida National Guard's military units, Special Forces, and the combat brigade.
Camp Blanding Army Base has numerous live-fire ranges for practice to cater to the numerous training requests. Soldiers can earn certification on several small arms ranges. The camp features three maneuver areas ideal for simulating different combat situations. Soldiers can also experience a small city fighting in bridges, tunnels, and other buildings.
Camp Blanding Army Base - History
Initially, Camp Blanding's designers intended to use this camp as a Naval Air Station because of its proximity to Lake Kingsley. However, the Navy was more interested in a site in Jacksonville. The Florida National Guard already had custody of this site, so the two forces engaged in talks to swap the land.
The National Guard Officers recommended that the camp be named in honor of Lt. General Albert Blanding, who commanded the 2nd Florida Brigade during the Mexican Border War. Later on, the regulars leased the camp as a training center.
Camp Blanding Army Base became a soldiers' induction and infantry replacement training center. The camp experienced tremendous growth during World War II. After the war, the camp downsized as Florida repurposed the land to a guard training site.
Camp Blanding Army Base focuses on immediate military reservations and training. In 1981, the Department of Defense designated the camp as a class A military installation. Since then, the camp has kept building and growing.
Service members who receive PCS orders to relocate to Camp Blanding Army Base often choose between staying on-base or off-base. BAH is available for any active duty military member living in privatized housing.
If you take homeownership more seriously, the VA home loan could come in handy in your quest. The VA home loan comes with multiple benefits, including the ability of military members to leverage their Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to complete their mortgage payments. So, what does this allowance entail? Read on to learn more!
Debunking the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)
Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) represents a monthly allowance eligible service members receive when they can't access government housing. This stipend helps service members keep up with housing costs when they live off-post or off-base.
The BAH calculation usually depends on your geographic location, dependency status, and geographic location. Typically, if you have a higher rank, you'll have a larger allowance for BAH. Service members with more years of service also receive larger allowances. Residing in areas with higher living costs will also make you eligible for higher BAH rates.
You could spend less on housing than your actual rate and then use the difference to cover other expenses. Conversely, if you spend more than this rate, prepare to cover the difference. The government typically sets the BAH rate charts annually.
Multiple factors influence your Camp Blanding Army Base - Military BAH rates. Your geography and pay grade are among the top factors determining how much you'll receive as BAH. DOD often considers the area's current rental and renters insurance costs before setting your allowance amount. Therefore, it is always helpful to verify your amount with DOD.
The costs of average utilities might also influence this amount. Remember that the rates depend on duty location rather than your residence location.
If you stay in more expensive parts of the country, expect higher BAH rates. With such rates, you'll easily compete in costly civilian housing markets. While rates keep fluctuating, the Defense Department has rate protection, ensuring you don't receive lower rates.
The DOD's instituted protection remains in force if you don't change duty stations or experience a pay grade reduction. Service members who change dependent status might also miss the rate protection.
If you receive PCS at a new location, your BAH rate will resonate with what is available in your new duty station. In most instances, the new rate will be lower than what you received at your previous pay grade. On the other hand, demotions will mean that the rate changes to a rate ideal for your lower pay grade.
What would happen if you received a promotion? Typically, a service duty promotion doesn't lower your BAH rate. Your rate remains constant even when a higher pay grade receives a lower BAH rate than your previous pay grade. DOD will usually offer you a higher rate.
Different Types of BAH
There are multiple BAH options designed to cater to different housing situations among active duty service members. The rules that govern different situations are usually different. Here are the different BAH options you could leverage.
BAH with or Without Dependents
Any service member on permanent duty in the US who hasn't accessed government housing is eligible for this allowance. Your dependency status at your permanent duty often determines the allowance's rate.
Depending on their dependency status, overseas service members are eligible for Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA). Are you serving on an unaccompanied overseas tour? You'll be eligible for BAH at the "with dependents" rate.
If you don't have dependents but live in government quarters, you could receive partial BAH.
BAH Reserve Component/Transit
Members in specific circumstances could receive this non-locality housing allowance. The reserve component is also ideal for members transitioning from areas with no prior BAH rates.
Unlike the regular allowance, BAH transit does not depend on a geographic location. Instead, this allowance depends on the former Basic Allowance for Quarters which depended on the national housing average.
This military allowance is suitable for members who reside in single-type quarters. Besides, you'll only be eligible for this allowance if you receive BAH due to your child support payments.
The SECDEF determines how much eligible members will receive. This amount fluctuates annually, depending on the previous year's rates and essential military pay percentage growth.
Overseas Housing Allowance
The BHA usually transforms into OHA for service members whose PCS assignment takes them out of the continental US.
This allowance helps to offset housing costs if you live in private housing when government-leased or on-base housing is unavailable. The allowance could include utility bills, rent, a move-in allowance, and recurring maintenance.
How does BAH relate to VA Loans?
Active duty military members often rely upon military allowances to cover their mortgages. BAH represents one of the single most allowances for military members to leverage. With the Basic Allowance for Housing, service members assigned to the Camp Blanding Army Base can keep up with housing costs whether they live off-post or off-base.
Fortunately, this allowance doesn't come with any restrictions. The government won't limit you to only renting a house with this allowance. Some service members have used the monthly allowance to qualify for a VA loan and buy a home. In any case, you could use the amount for your monthly mortgage payments.
You could also take advantage of the BAH to buy a home. However, remember that there is no single solution for all service members. While homeownership might serve some active military members, others may find it difficult.
Remember that mortgage lenders often verify your BAH. Typically, this verification is possible through your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES). Most lenders need that assurance that you'll continue receiving this allowance before approving your home ownership loan request.
How Can you put Basic Allowance for Housing into Use?
You could quickly leave over part of the BAH and use the remaining amount to pay for utilities and other expenses. Different service members can use this allowance for different purposes. Usually, most service members decide on their expenses based on their housing costs.
You could also use the allowance for your mortgage payments. However, remember that your BAH won't cover your VA home loan payment. While considering possible ways of utilizing this allowance, remember that changes to your family situation or service can affect your rate.
It is common for active-duty homeowners to relocate at some point in their careers. You could quickly turn around and sell the home when you receive your PCS orders. Alternatively, you could rent the home to someone in the military community. However, don't expect any guarantees.
VA homebuyers will find the BAH to be very useful. All the same, you need to be critical about your home buying and financing goals. If you need help, consider reaching out to a loan specialist who'll help you break down your situation.
With the BAH, service members can comfortably live off-base at comparable rates as their civilian counterparts. You'll be free to make housing choices that match your needs. You could use the allowance to rent an expensive house close to your duty station. Alternatively, you're free to settle for a longer commute with a less costly house further away from your duty station.
While the BAH can come in handy in multiple circumstances, you don't have to push it to the limit. Also, remember that you might have some out-of-pocket expenses when rates depend on the median cost of the rent.
What will BAH mean in the Context of a HomeBuying Budget?
For example, imagine that you are an E-4 with dependents. We'll also assume that your VA loan will come with an interest rate of 4.5%. You might also need to pay $260 monthly for your monthly taxes and insurance.
Service members could opt to gross up their entitlements in revenue to purchase a home. For instance, if monthly entitlements are $2500, it can be grossed up by 25% resulting in a monthly qualifying income of $3,125. This benefit is only available for the veteran!
Living Off-Base while Working in Camp Blanding Army Base - Military Base
Once you receive PCS orders to move to Camp Blanding, you'll need to decide between living on or off base. Numerous factors should influence this choice.
Keep in mind no blanket choice will work for all active-duty service members. However, living off-base comes with multiple advantages that you could exploit.
Keeping the housing allowance
Living on base would mean using your BAH to clear your monthly mortgage payments. Choosing to live off base allows you to save money. You could find a home that's either within or under your allowance. Remember to consider utilities while covering your budget.
Distance from Military Life
Living off base means you can get some space from the hassles of the military community. This option doesn't mean that you won't participate in base activities. However, you'll get opportunities to create relationships with people who don't have military affiliations.
More Housing Options
When you live off base, you could choose a town that suits you and your preferred amenities. Whether you want a single-family home or an apartment, living off-base lets you settle for what you prefer. You could also opt for a home with a yard, garden tub, or gourmet kitchen.
While at it, you could also consider purchasing a home. Living off base gives you the leeway to invest in real estate. When you receive your next PCS orders, you can decide whether to cash in on the property or lease it and create a passive income stream.
House Hunting Process
If you choose to live off base with your Camp Blanding Army Base - Military BAH, you must go through the house-hunting process. Most military members find this process to be quite stressful. However, with proper preparation, you'll have a more streamlined process.
These tips can help to simplify house hunting for you and your family.
Calculate a Budget
Preparing your finances before moving can prove decisive as you begin home-buying. It is always helpful to create a realistic budget before considering different homes. Your basic housing allowance is an ideal place to begin. Besides, you could get a mortgage pre-approval as you look to balance your budget.
Getting pre-approved ensures that you narrow your search. Also, you'll have a clearer understanding of the property you can afford without much hassle. With a realistic budget, you'll cultivate financial well-being while avoiding the temptation to overspend.
Understand your Needs
While military families spend a lot of time on the road, most service members do not find a lot of thrill in the house-hunting process. Do you want to keep the whole process simple? Take time to determine your wants and needs.
Although you might not have control over your location, you could take charge of other housing aspects. Ask yourself a couple of questions before your start your house search. How many bathrooms and bedrooms do you need? Do you prefer to live in the suburbs or a rural setting?
The goal of understanding your needs is to ensure that you find the perfect fit. Ultimately, your lifestyle preferences give you a clearer idea of your ideal home. On the other hand, your budget will help you know the features and amenities you can afford.
Keep your Children in the Loop
Your children are also an essential part of the move. Kids who prefer stability will find it difficult to adjust to new surroundings after every few years. Include your children in the moving process to make the transition less stressful. Let your children share their opinions about your move. You'll make them less anxious in the process.
If your children are too young to give specific suggestions, consider finding homes within walking distance of parks, schools, or kid-friendly centers. Proximity to recreational activities means that your young ones will be more comfortable in your new home.
Work with Experts
Are you moving a long distance? You should partner with a real estate agent. A local real estate agent will give you better insight into the neighborhoods surrounding the Camp Blanding Army Base. Working with these industry experts can help you find your way in an ever-changing market.
Count on these agents to help you find homes with the necessary amenities. Besides, they'd also help you negotiate better home prices. Let the professionals worry about the logistics of house hunting as you complete other moving-related tasks.
Generally, taking a holistic approach to home hunting tends to ease the process for military families. Proper preparation also ensures you find the perfect home and create lifelong memories with your family.
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