This is the question I hear from clients and my fellow battle buddies PCSing to Hawaii. I never give the same answer, because each individual’s situation differs. Here are some things which I consider before giving any advice to my fellow military families.
Sign on Schofield Barracks after entering main gate
First, what is the budget that the family or individual can 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 going up quickly in Kapolei and Ewa Beach. These homes tend to be larger than traditional Hawaiian homes and seem to fit military lifestyles well. Depending on how a person answers questions, one and two will assist in determining what areas in which I would recommend purchasing.
Right outside the PX on Schofield Barracks
Here are some quick tips about Schofield Barracks:
- There are multiple gates and routes into Schofield Barracks
- Schofield Barracks is elevated and in the mountains, 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, not off
- You might encounter feral chickens throughout Schofield Barracks
Areas to Consider
The table below highlights some of the many benefits of living in each area to consider:
Areas To Consider While Stationed at Schofield Barracks
*Based on data collected at SchoolDigger.com
As a former military member and current Army spouse, don’t waste your BAH. Let that BAH work for you and your family, and enjoy the Hawaii Life. Mahalo!