Naval Hospital Jacksonville Navy Base - Military BAH
The real estate market has exploded in recent years, prompting individuals looking to purchase houses to search for various means to ease the process. One of these means is applying for a mortgage, and military service members and veterans can ease the home purchase process through VA home loans.
Regardless, miscellaneous costs associated with the home purchase process, including maintenance and an increasingly unstable economy, make the process challenging. However, military service members have an alternative option they could use to ease the homeownership process - Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).
What is BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing)?
The DOD pays eligible service members their Basic Allowance for Housing when government housing isn't available. The allowance varies and is calculated depending on the applicant's pay grade, geographic location, and dependency status. Generally, higher-raking service members with more years of service get a larger monthly BAH allowance; however, there are a few exceptions.
Additionally, rates tend to be higher for individuals living in regions with a high cost of living, i.e., metropolitan areas. The rates are set annually, and individuals may use the difference to cater for other expenses if they spend less than the eligible rate on housing. However, individuals living in areas where housing costs exceed predetermined rates must make up for the difference.
A few details about the loan include:
100% financing (Full VA entitlement).
Adjustable and fixed-rate loan terms.
Rolling VA financing fees into the total loan amount.
No prepayment penalties.
Various types of eligible property, including VA-approved condos and townhomes.
- No PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance).
BAH and VA loans
Active-duty military service members count their military allowance as income toward getting a mortgage regarding purchasing power and income. Most people consider the BAH one of the most vital allowances they could use when purchasing their home. The allowance helps service members cater for their housing costs when living off-base or off-post.
There are no restrictions in the BAH limiting service members to renting, and you could use the monthly allowance to qualify for VA home loans and purchase a house. You can cover most mortgage payments with your BAH. However, some homeowners may not be interested in purchasing a house.
Adding your BAH funds to your home purchase budget is a huge plus. If everything works out, it could be a reasonable and more manageable opportunity for individuals looking to purchase a home.
How does the BAH work?
The defense department sets Basic Allowance for Housing annually based on the region's current renting, renter's insurance costs, and utilities. Set rates depend on the applicant's duty location- not their location of residence.
Applicants stationed in costly parts of the country tend to get a higher BAH than those stationed in less costly regions, allowing them to compete with competitive civilian housing markets.
The rates change yearly; however, the defense department has institutionalized rate protection regulations to prevent the BAH from going down. The regulation remains in place unless service members experience a pay grade reduction, change in dependent status, or change their duty stations.
BAH counts as income because it's non-taxable. Typically, mortgage lenders may verify your BAH using your Leave and Earnings Statement. They do this to get assurance that you'll keep receiving the allowance. Lenders can "gross up" the allowance by 25% to create a gross or pre-tax figure to calculate your DTI (Debt-to-Income) rate, benefiting the applicant.
How to use BAH when purchasing a home
As mentioned earlier, BAH provides enough money for military service members to purchase homes. Home prices differ widely, and BAH may not cover all monthly housing costs. The monthly mortgage payment amount depends on the credit score, interest, rates, and down payment. These are unique to individual applicants.
BAH allowances may sometimes cover the service member's monthly mortgage payments. In other cases, they may use their base income to offset the bills. You should research the costs you must pay and ensure you can make up for any shortfall before applying.
Types of BAH
There are various types of BAH meant for different housing situations. Individuals living separately from dependents are entitled to some BAH compensation.
This involves situations where individuals have dependents living with former spouses of those on unaccompanied overseas tours. Various rules dictate the allowance, and you should consult your finance office to determine the correct procedure.
Types of BAH include:
BAH with and without dependents (with dependents rate) for members serving unaccompanied overseas.
Partial BAH for members living in government quarters (without dependents).
BAH RC/T (Reserve Component/ Transit) for reservists with 30 or fewer days of active duty.
- BAH-Differential for members assigned to single-type orders. They get their BAH allowance if required by law to pay for child support.
About Naval Hospital Jacksonville Navy Base
Naval Hospital Jacksonville Navy Base is located in northeast Florida near Jacksonville's city limits. It's the Navy's largest installation in the South East region and sits on Blackpoint, a piece of land between Ortega and St Johns river. The airbase is part of the Jacksonville Naval Complex.
The complex includes Cecil airport, Naval Station Mayport, the Pinecastle Range Complex, and the Naval outlying Landing Field Whitehouse. The base also neighbors Yukon, a small ghost town to the east.
The installation has various responsibilities, including three bombing ranges - Rodman, Lake George, and Pinecastle as well as the Outlying field Whitehouse.
The station houses 7 active duty VP squadrons (with P-8A Poseidon aircraft), five helicopter squadrons, three reserve squadrons, and one MQ-4C UAS Triron squadron. Over 100 aircraft operate simultaneously, including the P3C Orion, the P-8A Poseidon, C-40 Clipper, MH-60 Romeo, C-130T, Flying Club aircraft, and Border Patrol.
Additionally, Naval Hospital Jacksonville (located within the Navy Base) provides various other services. The hospital is the fourth-largest medical facility under the United States Navy. The facility can handle all medical procedures, including intricate surgical procedures, trauma, and preventative care. The facility's services extend beyond Jacksonville to five satellite clinics throughout Georgia and Florida.
The hospital's services include family care, obstetrics, ecology, dental, trauma, mental health care, prenatal, and oncology care. The facility is also part of the TRICARE Network. This is the primary insurance provider for retired military, active duty, and DOD personnel. They accept patients who are medically retired or those who've recently separated from service.
Naval Hospital Jacksonville has 2500 civilian and Navy medical staff handling 2000 patients daily. These include births, emergency admission, prescriptions, lab and radiology tests, and surgeries. That said, it would only be proper to dive in a little more and learn about the facility's history.
The DOD commissioned the Naval Hospital in 1941, shortly after commissioning NAS Jacksonville (1940). The hospital celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2016. It celebrated providing the fleet with quality health care. The hospital has had several changes, including building the current hospital in 1967, a new pharmacy in 2003, a surgical suite in 2008, and a renovation (and addition) in 2011.
The hospital has received various awards for its innovative and quality healthcare, including the Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval and a Level III award for its Patient-Centered Medical homes (National Committee for Quality Assurance). The hospital has 5 branches across Florida and Georgia and deployed its personnel globally, including Djibouti and Kuwait.
House Hunting Process Near Naval Hospital Jacksonville Navy Base
Here are some tips for house hunting:
Determine if you are ready to purchase a home
Purchasing a home is one of the most important investments you could ever make, and you should adequately prepare to ensure everything runs smoothly. Some factors to consider during the process include income and employment status, DTI, credit health, liquid assets, and current and future market.
It's not hard to prove your employment status as an active military member. However, you should gauge your Debt-to-Income ratio to determine whether you can comfortably add more debt.
You should also ensure you have good credit to get better mortgage terms and buy better property. Have enough liquid assets and consider the current market.
Check your budget and determine which property you can afford
You should set your emotions and stick with the facts and figures when deciding which home to buy. Before going house hunting, you should set a budget and determine what price range you are comfortable with. Doing this helps protect you from making an emotional purchase and adding unnecessary debt.
You should calculate your DTI and determine what amount of money you can channel toward your mortgage each month. You should remember other expenses like homeowner's insurance and property tax. Take your time and sort through the numbers before choosing a home that'll prove difficult to finance.
Gather funds for closing costs and a down payment
You should save as much money as you can when purchasing a home because you'll need to take care of various extra costs apart from your monthly mortgage payments. Most lenders require individuals to place a down payment for protection if the borrower defaults. The amount of the down payment depends on the type of mortgage applied.
You should ask for a Closing-disclosure to prepare for the amount of cash you're expected to pay and avoid any errors. Additionally, you should save some money necessary for closing the loan. The amount of cash you should set aside falls between 3 and 6% of your home's value.
The amount paid depends on the lender, your geographic area, and the type of loan. Some government-backed loans require a funding fee or insurance premium.
Choose the right mortgage lender
Next, you should apply for a loan through a credit union, bank, or mortgage company. They'll check your credit, gather data, review the information, and provide a pre-approval letter stating how much funds they can lend you. Different entities will require specific documents, including credit, preliminary income, and asset information.
You should provide them with additional information regarding your BAH to increase your chances of purchasing a better home. If eligible, you should apply for a VA home loan. The loans don't require you to place a down payment, which could be beneficial, especially if you are down on funds.
The final steps involve getting a good real estate agent and searching for your dream house. The real estate agent will help you find good homes within your price range. You shouldn't hurry this process and speak up whenever you notice your real estate agent slacking.
Next, you should offer the house, arrange a home appraisal and inspection, and ask for credits or repairs. You should do a walk-through and check whether they did all repairs accurately. Lastly, you should carry your documents, check the fine print with your attorney, and sign the documents.
A life off the Naval Hospital Jacksonville Navy Base in Florida
Here are some reasons to choose to live off-base:
Jacksonville residents have access to several high-quality education options for their children. The region's extensive school system has over 200 schools and over 9600 students. Duval county Public Schools provides oversight on various local public schools for students in kindergarten to grade 12.
Osceola, Pasco, Clay, and St. Johns public schools have operated some regional schools. Additionally, the region has secular and religious schools for individuals seeking to provide their children with private education. Also, the students get access to various tertiary options once they graduate.
Jacksonville has high humidity and high average temperatures through midyear. The temperatures need some getting used to and can hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It's the perfect time to go swimming in the ocean.
Jacksonville is perfect during the winter. The region's daytime temperatures reach 60 degrees and drop to 40 degrees overnight, making it easier to enjoy outdoor activities. It may experience some rain during spring and early summer.
The region's food scene keeps evolving to keep in line with modern tastes. There are several chain restaurants in the city; however, residents (increasingly) prefer going to locally-owned independent restaurants. The restaurants have injected creativity and class into the region's dining options.
Many regional restaurants have a farm-to-plate philosophy, which is entirely sustainable. There are many restaurants, some of which have been open since 1939 with tasty secret family recipes.
Lots of activities to do
Jacksonville has lots of activities you could do for fun. For instance, you could visit one of the 450 parks in the city for picnics, sculptures, ancient oak trees, children's playground, etc. You could also hike different trails in Pumpkin Hill Creek preserve park or go boating to one of the islands.
You may also see some art at the city's acclaimed galleries. Browse through the U.S. and European paintings, and check out the waterfront garden to experience a living work or art. You may also hit the beach to cool off or go shopping at the St. Johns Town Center.
Purchasing a home doesn't have to be stressful, especially if you've got sufficient funding. You can find an excellent place to raise your children and have fun using BAH. This is easier, especially if you've got PCS orders.
You could use your BAH to help offset some of the bills and increase your mortgage limit to help you purchase your dream home. Happy house hunting!
Choose Your Military Base for More Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) Information
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- NAS Jacksonville Navy Base
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- NAS Whiting Field Navy Base
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- Naval Hospital Jacksonville Navy Base
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