Located north and west of downtown Montgomery, Alabama, Maxwell-Gunter AFB is one of the nation’s most noted Air Force bases and a significant player in our national security. The base was built on the site of the original flight school created by the Wright Brothers. Today, it continues its legacy of flight education as the home of Air University, as well as the home of the 42nd Air Base Wing and the 908th Airlift Wing.
If you’re planning a military relocation to Alabama’s River Region, it may help to learn a little bit about the area and how to prepare. Here’s what you can expect when relocating to Maxwell AFB.
About Montgomery, Alabama
As the state capital of Alabama, the city of Montgomery is home to just over 200,000 people, and it’s often referred to as a “big small town.” A city rich in history, Montgomery not only played a huge role in the Civil War as the first capital of the Confederacy, but it also served as the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s — the city in which Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat on the bus and the destination of the historic march from Selma. As you explore the city, you’re likely to run across many historic markers and buildings from these points of history.
Today, Montgomery is experiencing a major revitalization of its downtown area and has been recognized as a center for arts and culture in the region. Economically, the city has a large military presence due to the proximity to Maxwell-Gunter AFB, but it is also an agricultural processing hub for cotton, soybeans, and peanuts grown on regional farms.
About Maxwell-Gunter AFB
Employing over 12,000 people (including active duty, reserves, and civilians), Maxwell plays a major role in the economy of Montgomery. Between the original Maxwell AFB and the newer Maxwell-Gunter Annex, the combined base occupies over 4100 acres north and west of downtown, with more than 50 miles of road across the grounds. Home to several units, more than 40 tenant organizations and a major training sector with several divisions, Maxwell-Gunter is one of the most significant Air Force bases in the country. While the base sees many service personnel come in and out temporarily for various training programs, many military families are stationed permanently or semi-permanently at this base.
Military moves to Montgomery, Alabama
Once you’ve made your plans to relocate to Maxwell AFB, you’ll want to coordinate with your local base (if you have one) as well as the authorities at Maxwell to arrange shipping of documents and personal items. At Maxwell, you’ll want to contact the Traffic Management Office as well as the Personal Property Shipping Office (PPSO).
Maxwell has a Housing Management Office that can provide guidance and counseling when you arrive on base to help you figure out your housing options.
On-base accommodations are provided for airmen ranked E-1 to E-3 and E-4 with less than three years of experience. Some privatized on-base housing is also available for military families to rent. However, many base personnel choose to rent or buy houses off base in the surrounding areas of Montgomery and suburbs.
Military personnel and their families are free to buy or rent anywhere in the Greater Montgomery area; however, many tend to gravitate toward some of the more popular growing suburban areas where new housing is plentiful. Many service people opt to live in nearby Prattville, located just northwest of the base in the opposite direction of Montgomery; others, however, venture as far as East Montgomery and Pike Road.
Should off-base military families rent, buy, or build?
By default, military families often gravitate to rental homes or apartments in the area. However, given rising rents and Montgomery’s favorable housing market, if you anticipate being stationed at Maxwell for a year or longer, it actually makes more financial sense to buy a home near Maxwell Air Force Base versus renting.
Many military personnel are surprised to learn they can actually afford a brand-new construction home for about the same amount as — or less than — they would pay in rent for a similar property. For active-duty military, buying a new construction home makes solid financial sense as an investment in their future. Many servicemen and servicewomen can easily qualify to receive a VA home loan, which offers low interest and little to no down payment But what many service members don’t know is that they can purchase a brand new construction home using a VA loan, or even use a VA loan to build their dream home from the ground up. Under the right conditions, it’s even possible for retired military personnel to obtain a VA loan for a new construction home. Click here for a step-by-step process for getting a VA loan.
At Lowder New Homes, we want to make purchasing a new construction as easy as possible for military families, which is why we have Builder Representatives on staff who are Certified Military Relocation Professionals (CMRP). We also offer a number of special benefits for active and retired military personnel. If you’re relocating to Maxwell AFB, we’d love to talk with you about your options. Call us today at 334-270-6789.