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When Your Spouse Deploys, Do You Move or Do You Make the Most of It?

When you’re staring down at the calendar, anticipating the rapid disappearance of days between now and your spouse’s deployment, it’s natural to consider a move of your own — back home. The thought of having family and friends nearby to offer comfort in your spouse’s absence, to help with the kids (if applicable, of course), to spend time with … well, it’s very tempting.

As a former soldier myself, I understand why. The concerns are real and valid. Many spouses fear the loneliness of a deployment and the possibility of depression or anxiety. At a time when you’re already uneasy, the thought of spending that time by yourself in an unfamiliar city doesn’t offer much consolation.

However, there’s a lot more to consider. Are your children in school? How would they do with switching schools now and again a year later when your spouse returns? Do you have a job that you enjoy? Will it be waiting for you if you move away for a year? Do you like the church you’ve found and the friends you’ve made since moving to your new duty station? Surely there’s a comfort in knowing they’ll be there when times get tough and your spouse is overseas.

The biggest thing to consider, however, is something that many people don’t consider at all. What is your housing situation? Are you renting? Think about this market, with skyrocketing rent rates that show no sign of settling down. If you give up your rental now and return in a year, how much more will you have to pay for that same home (if it’s even available) when you get back? Given this hotbed of real estate activity, rentals are likely to be even harder to find in 2023.

Do you own your home? If so, leaving it vacant for a year isn’t a wise idea. You might think that renting it out is a good option, but I’d encourage you to re-think that. What are the chances your renters are willing to occupy your home (and pay you) for exactly the amount of time you plan to be gone? When you’re ready to move back into your home, how long will you have to wait for your renters’ lease to be up? Will you be able to find a short-term rental or a sublet lease while you wait for your renters to vacate?

Furthermore, a move might affect your housing benefits. If you plan to move back to your home city and rent, your Basic Allowance for Housing, or BAH, may not be enough to cover the rent because it’s based on the housing market where you’re stationed. If you live in government quarters, you could lose your housing if you leave.

And then there’s the actual cost of the move. It is expensive to move your family twice — once when you leave and again when you move back to the installation after your spouse’s deployment. Storing your belongings somewhere also costs money. If you leave, you likely won’t be able to leave all your furniture and possessions in your home until you return. If you’re renting, it’ll need to leave with you. If you’re renting out the home you own, the renters will have their own things.

It’s a lot to think about, and the decision is probably more involved than you realize. Not so cut-and-dried, huh? If you need help with a housing move, relocation or would like to know more about military homeownership, please give us a call at 912-385-3000 or email me at I’d be happy to chat!

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