This is the question I hear from clients and my fellow service members PCSing to Hawaii. There is no one answer, because each individual’s situation differs. Here are a few things I like to consider before giving any advice to my fellow military families.
- First, what is the budget and what can you afford? BAH and COLA in Hawaii are high and mortgage interest rates are low. Nine out of ten times, people can afford more than they think they can after they sit down with a loan officer and discuss the options and details associated with low interest rates for VA loans, no primary mortgage insurance (PMI), and low property tax.
- Second, what are your expectations from your community? Do you want easy access to great schools? Do you want to be close to the installation to minimize commute time? Be centrally located because your spouse might work downtown or at Tripler Army Medical Center? Do you want access to pools, recreation centers, the waterpark, or to be close the beach? You may not know all of the answers to these questions prior to your arrival or even six months into your tour, but these are questions that should be considered when looking for a home.
- Third, what size property do you want and what amenities do you desire? After answering the top two questions, this will narrow down your search quickly. There is a significant amount of new housing being built in Ewa Beach and Kapolei. These homes tend to be larger than traditional Hawaiian homes and seem to fit military lifestyles well with more storage and air conditioning. Depending on how a person answers the above questions, one and two will assist in determining what areas in which I would recommend purchasing.
Here are a few things to know about Schofield Barracks:
- There are multiple gates and routes into Schofield Barracks so know your options
- Schofield Barracks is centrally located with elevation, and tends to get more rain and have cooler temperatures compared to other areas on the island
- The heaviest traffic during your commute to PT in the morning will be on post, and just off post
Where to Live
As prior service and current Army spouse, don’t waste your BAH on rent. Let that BAH work for you and your family and enjoy the Hawaii Life. Mahalo!