Montgomery, Alabama is home to Maxwell Air Force Base, a large military complex consisting of more than 12,500 combined active duty, reserves, and civilian personnel. As such, there is an ongoing demand for comfortable housing options for military families — some living on-base, and others seeking off-base housing options.
At Lowder New Homes, we have many years of experience providing new homes for military families in Alabama’s River Region. We understand the military lifestyle, as well as the logistical and financial challenges military personnel face in seeking housing that works for them. In this article, we’ll give an overview of how military housing works and your housing options, both on-base and off-base. We’ll also offer tips and resources for how you can become a military homeowner, share insights on some key Montgomery neighborhoods to look at, and answer some of the most common questions we receive from military personnel looking for a home.
We understand that military families often don’t have the luxury of time, and have to move and reestablish their families at faster rates than most people. That’s why we offer reliable, well-built quick move-in-ready homes in safe communities that feature exceptional schools and top-of-the-line amenities. Our team makes the home shopping and home buying process easier by taking the risk out of shopping for a home.
You can rely on our staff to go the extra mile to meet your needs, from helping you identify the perfect floor plan to quickly identifying neighborhoods that will be right for your family. Many of our preferred lenders have extensive experience in originating VA loans and can ensure a fast and easy approval and financing process for your family.
We also have several Military Relocation Professional (MRP) certified Builder Representatives on staff, ready and willing to accomodate your needs in finding your perfect home.
If you’re going to live off base and are looking for a good neighborhood in which to own a home, here are some subdivisions convenient to Maxwell AFB that are worth a look:
Hedgefield | Prattville | 8.5 miles
Woodland Creek | Pike Road | 18 miles
New Park | Montgomery | 18.5 miles
StoneyBrooke | Montgomery | 15.4 miles
Sturbridge | Montgomery | 13 miles
Deer Creek | Montgomery | 17 miles
Hampstead | Montgomery | 14 miles
Military members have numerous options when it comes to their housing. There is no right or wrong solution for everyone — the best choice really depends on a number of factors such as rank, marital status, family situation, career direction, and even personal preference.
When you first enlist in the military — as any new recruit can confirm — the military basically decides for you where and how you will live. During Basic Training, you will live on base with other recruits in the barracks with bunk beds, common bathrooms, etc. As you move up the ranks, more housing options become available. On-base options usually include dorms for single men and women, as well as apartment housing or single-family dwellings for married couples and those with families on base. Eventually, you may be given the option to live off-base and become a commuter.
Many new military recruits worry about the seemingly low pay they receive, especially at first — but their wages don't reflect their full financial status. The government basically offers two key resources to help you pay for housing:
By combining the BAH and the VA loan, it's easier to become a military homeowner than most people think. Military members can qualify for a mortgage with a VA loan and pay some or all of the mortgage payment with the housing allowance.
Is living off base right for everyone? Not necessarily. There are advantages and disadvantages both to living on a base and arranging for off-base housing. Let's look briefly at the differences.
Many military service personnel naturally assume that if they live off-base, they should rent rather than buy — especially if there's a good chance they'll be transferred. However, in many cases, it actually makes more financial sense to buy a home than to rent, even if you end up transferring to another city. If you're thinking about buying a home off base, here are some things to keep in mind:
You can qualify for a VA loan under any of the following conditions:
The actual credit and income requirements depend on the lender issuing the loan. (The government isn't lending you money — they are guaranteeing the loan that the lender gives you.) Most VA lenders will qualify you with a minimum credit score of 640 or above, but there are lenders who can qualify you with a credit score as low as 500.
Yes, you can buy a new construction home with a VA loan. If you are eligible for a VA loan, you can use that eligibility to obtain a VA construction loan to build a new home from the ground up, or to obtain a VA new construction mortgage.
As a moderate-sized city, Montgomery is home to about 200,000 people. On most days, commutes are easy with relatively few delays. A typical commute to Maxwell AFB from the furthest outskirts of Montgomery is about 30 minutes.
One of the most common questions asked by military personnel considering homeownership is, "What if I am transferred and have to move off base?" The thing to remember is when you own a home, it's not a ball-and-chain or just "a responsibility" — it's an investment. You have options as to how to handle your investment if you need to relocate out of town, including:
Owning a home is a keystone of wealth… both financial affluence and emotional security.Suze Orman