Top 5 Advantages of Off-Base Housing in San Diego

Living off base has some wonderful advantages! True, you’ll be farther away from the military community on-base, but some of things you can gain include building equity, avoiding training noise, and being able to choose your child’s school district.

Here are the top 5 advantages of off-base housing in San Diego and why your family might benefit!

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 3.24.23 PM
Credit: Ed Philbrick

1) Building Equity

By owning your own property, you’ll start building equity. Even if your next PCS takes you out of San Diego, you can choose to rent out your property while you’re away. Our Relobase agents would be happy to speak with you about your options for purchasing in San Diego!

2) Rent Costs

There isn’t any question that most on-base living has major restrictions. Some of them don’t allow pets and rent is usually set at exactly the military BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) rate. If you decide to rent off-base rather than purchase a property, San Diego has an abundance of rentals to fit all budgets. You may find a rental at a better rate than you would get on a military base. Some military families have even found special rental deals for military members!

3) Luxury of Choice

While most on-base communities provide plenty of activities for families, you have to live with what’s available. Living off-base gives you the luxury of choice. Whether you want to be walking distance to shopping and dining or closer to the beach, San Diego’s varied communities offer just what you’re looking for!

4) Peace and Quiet

It’s true. Living on-base means you’ll hear the “Sound of Freedom” on a regular basis. The boom of artillery and the chatter of gunfire may be a very typical part of your day. If you prefer peace and quiet, you might want to consider off-base housing. This is also an important consideration if you have pets. Loud noises can cause them anxiety.

5) Choice of School Districts

Determining the best school district for the kids is nearly always a consideration when PCSing. By living off-base you can choose the school district you want to be in rather than going with the one the base is located in.

Not sure where to start? Our Relobase agents would be happy to speak with you about your specific situation!

(Article originally appeared on Relobase.com)

Stationed in San Diego? Let’s Talk Housing!

You know that “dream sheet” you filled out? Well, you just hit the U.S. military’s version of the lottery. You’ve been assigned to San Diego!

Let’s get your boots on the ground and talk about things to consider for San Diego housing!

110604-N-NS602-574

San Diego and San Diego County: San Diego is the second largest city in California, second only to Los Angeles and is home to 28 zip codes. It stretches from the U.S. southern border to Escondido, its most northeastern point.

San Diego Bases: Click the links below for more information about each of the military installations in San Diego.

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO

NAVAL BASE CORONADO

NAVAL BASE POINT LOMA

NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO

US COAST GUARD STATION SAN DIEGO

Off-Base Housing: Off-base housing in San Diego isn’t cheap. The average two-bedroom apartment is San Diego rents for $1,823, depending on the location. Buying vs. renting in San Diego could save you about 15% over time.

On-Base Housing: If you need base housing as an option, apply through Housing Early Application Tool (HEAT) now, if you haven’t already done so! It’s not the waiting list for housing, but it gets you on the contracts you need to get on that waiting list the moment you’re eligible. Dependents or active duty members can fill it out and you can get it going even before you have your orders in hand.

Weighing Whether to Buy or Rent?

If you’re an active-duty military service member, you have even more to consider than the average American when considering whether to buy or rent. Here are just a few of the things you need to think about:

-The base you’re stationed at

-The specific needs of your family, including school districts for the kids

-The housing wait-list, if on-base housing is your preference

-Your budget

-Credit score and ability to qualify for a loan, including the military’s special programs, VA and Cal-Vet loans!

Need help sorting out whether it makes sense to buy or rent a home in San Diego? Talk to one of our qualified Relobase agents in San Diego!

Once you get your housing settled, and you can finally take a deep breath, it’s time to start enjoying all San Diego has to offer!

(Article originally appeared on Relobase.com)

The 5 Top Trip Planning Apps for Your PCS

Constantly moving around the United States and in some cases, the world, is a part of life for military families. As they develop and grow in their careers, service members fulfill their duties in a variety of ways. These can include serving aboard in different installations, in small towns for recruitment, or in joint commands. Fortunately, modern technology has provided us with many ways to plan our trips to and from installations. Here are 5 trip planning apps that will not only help you move to your next installation, but also help you plan a memorable trip along the way!

Hand writing travel plan

1. TripIt

Out of the five apps listed here, TripIt is the one of the most well-known apps and boasts a number of features. Its main functions include combining all itineraries, tickets, hotel bookings, rental car reservations and flights onto one simple screen. The entire trip can be managed from the app dashboard and you’ll know exactly where and when to do things. It does not provide recommendations though, which is seen as one of its chief deficiencies.

2. TouristEye

TouristEye is a great companion to TripIt. TouristEye helps you find out the most interesting, fun, educational and insightful things to do in each location. Plan your trip with TripIt and then allow a little extra time to make memories with TouristEye!

3. TripCase

This app is much like TripIt in that it helps organize all of your travel bookings and schedule. However, this app has a much more integrated mapping function which allows you to plan out your driving in a much more concrete way. TripCase also identifies places along your journey that you may be interested in. You can highlight these and stop when necessary. TripCase integrates with Google Maps and all of the amazing functionalities of that service.

4. WorldMate

WorldMate is used frequently by business and world travelers, but can also be used for families. It has a particular focus on loyalty programs and gaining the most benefits from your stay. It highlights discounts, special bonuses and secrets of traveling. Experienced travelers love this app because it takes the heavy lifting out of finding the best deals and loyalty points programs.

5. TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor is one of the oldest and most well-known travel sites on the web. Although not particularly focused on military families, the user base and the site offers a global perspective with reviews of restaurants, hotels and hostels all around the world. Because of its enormous user base, it provides excellent reviews and recommendations for places across the US as well. With plenty of family friendly recommendations, helpful hints, and advice on fun things to do wherever you are, the site is a veritable gold mine.

Approach your next PCS with confidence knowing that not only will you arrive at your next PCS on time, you’ll also have made new memories with family along the way. Make sure to also download our Relobase app before you PCS!

Ready to get started looking for housing in San Diego? Our Relobase Realtors are happy to assist you!

(Article originally appeared on Relobase.com)

5 Tips for Making Military Friends in a New Town

Making friends can be tough, especially when constantly on the move. Fortunately you are moving among many other military spouses who understand moving to a new place and starting fresh! Here are 5 powerful ways to diminish that loneliness and build a network of military friends in your new town!

Adult Friends .jpg.jpg.653x0_q80_crop-smart

1. Volunteer

Why not help yourself while helping others? Getting out of the house and assisting your new community will allow you to gain access to information about upcoming events and ultimately lead you towards getting to know other people. Check out your community service building to find a particular place or project that sparks your interest and hop on board!

2. Create a Meet up Event

Perhaps you’re a book lover? Or maybe you’re extremely talented in the arts? Have you considered creating connections by simply engaging in the activities you love? Try setting up a local book club or even a painting class! If you’re having trouble finding interested people, try joining a site like meetup.com, where you can find people near you with similar interests.

3. Join Facebook Groups

Ditch the fan pages for a while and browse through some of the private group recommendations. When you find one that seems like you can fit right in with, send an invite to join the group. Once you’re accepted, introduce yourself on the dashboard, interact on previous posts, and maybe even become acquainted with someone in your area! Either way, you’ll have someone new to talk to, even if it’s not face to face.

4. Set Up a Play Group

If you’re out and about with your little one and happen to notice another parent with a child about the same age as yours, try striking up a conversation to see what the chances are of setting up a playdate. With luck, you might just hit it off with the parent and can bond over similar interests while the kids play. This is the perfect way to ensure that both of you experience the joys of friendship.

5. Use Your Connections

Take advantage of your surroundings and daily encounters. The neighbor you bump into every morning could be a potential best friend. While working out at the gym take a look at the boards and see if anyone is seeking a gym buddy. Have an at-home business? Observe your business connections to see who you share interests with and invite them out for coffee. Maybe your spouse knows of someone who is in the same position you are friend-wise. Opening your eyes to the daily opportunities you have to make friends will increase your chances of creating solid friendships.

Don’t let the friendships of others discourage you, let them inspire you! Take action and put yourself out there. Don’t dwell on what you might have missed out on, but take it into your own hands to create something new and everlasting in your new town!

Ready to get started looking for housing in San Diego? Our Relobase Realtors are happy to assist you!

(Article originally appeared on Relobase.com)

 

16 Organizational Strategies for Military Families

The phrase “military relocation” is simply a part of military life. Military families typically move ten times more frequently than civilian families. Because military families have to move often, it make sense for them to use portable storage and organizational strategies for their belongings. Take a look at our list of 16 functional and transportable ideas for home storage and organization!

iStock_000019444261_Large

Storage Solutions for Kitchen Items

-Portable kitchen pantries come in a wide range of options and are ideal for military families on the move. Consider how easy it is to store canned goods that you can take with you when it’s time to relocate when you have a portable pantry!

-Why not store silverware in plastic, lidded containers instead of the usual way of tossing flatware into kitchen drawers? You could also store silverware in a regular flatware box.

-Use rolling kitchen carts that include baskets for storage.

Storing Toys

-Stacking baskets work very well for toy storage. These can be color coordinated as an added layer or categorization.

-Plastic crates can hold toys and be easily transported from one home to the next one.

-Larger wicker baskets with lids can also be used for storing toys. What’s more, you can also use them in your living rooms or bedrooms as they’re useful for storing various types of items such as blankets!

Clothing Storage Ideas

-Adjustable garment racks can be an effective way to store and transport clothing when you have to move to a new house.

-Use heavy duty cardboard dressers to store clothing items, such as tops, pants, underwear and other types of smaller clothing. They’re also great for storing linens, towels and other bedding, as well as bathroom belongings.

-Many have discovered the convenience of using hanging shoe sorters for storing and moving their shoes when it’s time to move on to a new location.

Storing Small Items

-Invest in several sizes of Ziploc bags for storing smaller items.

-A plastic storage cabinet with many containers is commonly used for storing screws, nuts, bolts and other tiny hardware items. You can also use these to organize jewelry, sewing things, office supplies, school supplies, and others odds and ends your family needs.

-Ottomans are not only designed for resting feet. They also work exceptionally well for storing items, such as magazines, craft supplies or just about anything you need near you when relaxing in your living room.

Other Storage Ideas

-If you have a considerable amount of craft items, a good storage solution is to use peg boards. They are especially suited for storing and transporting sewing items and needlework items, such as embroidery floss.

-Consider what things you need to take with you and which ones that you can store, especially when your new home doesn’t have a lot of square footage.

-Before you move, do as much decluttering as possible. Make a daily routine of going through all the rooms of your house, selecting those items that you want to donate or discard.

-Buy only what you need to feed your family for a few months. In other words, don’t invest in huge boxes of staples such a rice or pasta. This not only saves room in your kitchen cupboards but lessens the clear out during a PCS.

Ready to get started looking for housing in San Diego? Our Relobase Realtors are happy to assist you!

(Article originally appeared on Relobase.com)

5 Items to Keep With You During a PCS

While the moving company can take care of most things, there are a number of items we recommend military families keep close at hand while PCSing.

Those who’ve experienced a PCS move know that while moving companies can accomplish a great deal, they do operate off the instructions of the military family. If there are particular items or boxes you don’t want on the truck, be sure to let the movers know upon their arrival.

Bearing all this in mind, what belongs in the car and under your care during the trip to the new duty station?

Family in Their SUV

Important Documents

Invest in both an accordion file and a lock box. Essential documents, both civilian and military, should be kept in the car and under your supervision at all times. Social Security Cards, birth certificates, financial records, Divorce Decrees, Marriage Licenses, deeds and certificates of ownership, copies of car registrations and proof of insurance, adoption records and any documents that may be specific to the individual circumstances of your family.

Military Uniforms and Civilian Clothes

As an active duty service member, ensure one serviceable uniform of each type required within the first month at the new duty station is kept easily available. While many PCS moves go smoothly, it’s always a possibility that the household goods following a military family may be delayed or lost. Most cars have ample room to transport clothing. Ensure the necessary uniforms ride in the vehicle along with enough civilian clothing for at lease one week. Housing isn’t always ready when families arrive and military families are no strangers to hotel rooms.

Managing Medications During PCS

Realizing a specific medication has run out during the PCS process could end up involving last-second phone calls to your doctor or pharmacy. Sometimes unusual or high demand medications aren’t immediately available. Make sure you have enough of your medications to cover the PCS period. The National Military Family Association notes that TRICARE recently enacted a new prescription transfer policy. This can help you transfer your prescription from one military pharmacy to another.

Sentimental Items

Any and all items with strong sentimental value should ride along in the car. Photographs, personal mementos, and heirlooms are irreplaceable. Either place them in a lock box along with the essential documents or in their own traveling container. The number of sentimental items you have may be surprising. Ensure their travel boxes or containers are portable so they don’t have to be left in the car during overnight stays.

Transporting Pets

In the case of an overseas PCS the Department of Defense allows up to two pets per family to travel on Air Mobility Command flights. During a CONUS PCS and when traveling by car or air, pet transport falls on you. All pet documentation including health and rabies certifications should travel with your essential documents.

For the safety of your pet it’s always a good idea to have them wear an ID collar. We also recommend microchipping your pets just in case they ever slip out unnoticed. Also, if you have to stay in a hotel for a few weeks, it pays to investigate which hotels accept pets to avoid last-minute hassles.

Ready to get started looking for housing in San Diego? Our Relobase Realtors are happy to assist you!

(Article originally appeared on Relobase.com)

16 Things to Take Care of Before Your Next PCS

In many families, summer is the time to relax and catch up with friends and loved ones you may not see during the school year. However, in many military families, summer is also the season of moving. If you are PCSing, are all the bits and pieces covered? Here 16 things you shouldn’t forget when preparing for your PCS.

military-family-1024x576

Details for the Little People

Here are the small bits that you need to take care of to ensure your children have the smoothest transition possible.

  1. Make sure you have a copy of their school records to register them at the new base.
  2. Make copies of all transcripts in case something gets lost in the move.
  3. Make sure you have all medical records to present to your next family doctor, whether on base or off.
  4. If the children are involved in sports, research the same sport on your new base. Find out if there are registration deadlines you need to meet before you arrive and check the age requirements as some may change.
  5. Collect mailing addresses as well as electronic contact information for your children’s friends and their families. Moving is a difficult process for your child. Make sure they understand that while they need to move because your sponsor has orders, they do not need to lose their friendships. No matter if they attend school on base or off, alert their current school if you need to take them out before the final day of classes. This will give them time to take any state required tests as well as give the teachers a chance for a proper goodbye.
  6. Talk to your children and give them a timeline of the coming changes so they have time to take care of all their own small bits and pieces.

Details for the Big People

  1. Before moving, research the steps in registering your car in the new state.
  2. Update your voter registration.
  3. If you are a young parent, reach out to others at your new base. Having friends waiting for you will make the transition easier.
  4. If you live off base, contact all current utility providers including TV and internet and give them your leave date. If you are going to live off bae at your new location, call for hook up appointments as soon as possible.
  5. If you’re still going to school, transfer college credits or look into taking online courses at your current school.
  6. Fill out the appropriate forms with the post office to make sure your mail follows you. As you change your address, also contact any credit card and subscription companies.
  7. Update your banking information.
  8. Make time for you during the move. It is a very important to take time for yourself so that you do not get stressed or burned out from the process.
  9. Ask for help! This is an often overlooked step that can make a huge difference in the process.
  10. Arrange for work in your new town. Try to get as many phone interviews as possible in before arriving. If you have a new job to look forward to, this can negate a lot of stress. This goes for all members of the family who are working on or off base.

These are just a few of the small bits and pieces to consider before your next PCS. Research, plan, and prepare to ensure the transition is smooth for everyone!

Ready to get started looking for housing in San Diego? Our Relobase Realtors are happy to assist you!

(Article originally appeared on Relobase.com)