Living overseas has its challenges, and a commonly agreed upon one is finding that perfect place to live. To help those of us who are curious about the different options for living in Germany, readers have answered some of the most frequently asked questions about examples of on-base housing.
JAMIE SEVERT has let us glimpse into her lovely home. Thank you so much, Jamie!
What military installation is your home located on?
Ramstein AB (click link for more info on Ramstein)
What is the name of the housing area in which your home is located?
There isn’t a name for the neighborhood. I do live in one of the quad homes across from Donnelly Park though.
Generally speaking, most on-post homes are approved for occupancy based on military or government rank. If you would like, please provide the range of ranks that your home is approved for?
It is a CGO, which is a Lieutenant or Captain, with three dependents.
What DoDDS schools are your home districted for? Is there a school bus system available?
We are Ramstein district and there is no busses available for on base residents
Please describe the “feel” of your neighborhood (i.e. pet-friendly, child-friendly, level of safety, friendly neighbors, spacious, etc.)
The area is definitely child friendly being we are across the street from Donnelly Park and also the area a lot of parent drop their kids off for school. I would say we feel extremely safe living here. There are always people out walking their dog, kids riding bikes and playing sports and even the Security Forces patrolling the area. I don’t live in an area with a lot of other homes though so I only have the neighbors that are in my building. They seem to keep to themselves.
Please describe the style of your home (i.e. detached home, duplex, apartment, age of the home, etc.)
We are in what I consider a quad home even though housing calls it a townhouse. We have 4 families in our building. We have a stairwell area and a communal basement area for storage. We live on the bottom level in the 3 bdrm and the top levels are 4 bdrms. The bldg is old but has recently been updated, so they are really nice. They are actually still updating them and then opening them up to families.
Please provide general information about your home such as square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, number of stories/levels, special amenities, etc.
Our place is small, that is for sure, but it has so many things that our off base house didn’t have. It is a 3 bedroom plus a small den. The unit across the hall from me is just a 3 bdrm. I am thankful we got the plus den unit as we needed the space. We have 2 baths, a main one and a master. It is all one level, but the units upstairs (the 4 bdrms) are actually 2 levels. What I love best about my place is the double sinks, ice maker, huge kitchen, screens on my windows, electric roladens, ceiling fans, hot water to my washer and 110v outlets. None of which I had in my base house. I also just love that it feels so much homier. It feels more like a cozy American home than the cement box I lived in before.
What places of services are available near your home such as restaurants, shops, commissary, playgrounds, parks, etc.?
Since we are on base we are near the commissary, Exchange, Post Office, Shoppette, Youth Center, Base Pool, Parks…all the normal stuff. We are also very close to the school. Pretty much as close as you can get on Ramstein.
How is parking provided for your home?
We have 2 designated spots in our parking lot which is like a small apartment lot. But there are no extra spots…just the 8 spots for residents. We do have extra parking across the street though although it can get filled fast if there is a sport activity or school drop off/pick up time. Also, we have has issues with people using our spots or our driveway area when the parking is full across the street. It has been a minor headache.
Is there any yard space or outdoor spaces provided for your home?
We don’t have our own yard but more of a communal area. The downstairs units like ours do have a deck off the back door. The newer remodeled buildings actually have stairs to a patio. There is also a picnic area gazebo type area behind our building that we share with our neighbors.
What do you feel is special about your home or neighborhood – what makes it feel like “home” here in Germany?
I love being close to all my girls activities. I also love that this place is set up like an American home and has built in closets and 110v outlets. It feels so good to be able to use the same items you used in the states.
What housing expenses are included with on-post housing (i.e. utilities, rent, appliances, etc.)
They just take our BAH. We do not pay anything else. They also provide a washer and dryer.
Are you satisfied with the maintenance services provided by your on-post housing organization?
Yes, we have only had 1 reason to have them out but they were here right away and fixed the problem.
Finally, what advantages and disadvantages do you feel have been your experience living on a military post here in Germany?
Advantage is definitely a convenience. My girls can walk to school and all their activities. I spent a lot of time in the car last year when we lived off base trying to waste time until I picked them up. Whenever there is a school function I don’t have to fight for parking…I just walk up to the school. (BTW, parking is scarce on this base!) Same with functions that are at Donnelly Park or just the base in general. The only disadvantage I have found is the crowdedness. It gets crazy busy in my area during soccer season. We have to fight just to get out of our parking area. Also, we do have people that live above us. They have 5 kids and it can get really loud. We miss having peace and quiet when we need to study or want to relax. My husband misses having a yard to work in also. But all the disadvantages are worth it, I think.
Please provide any COMMENTS that you feel would be helpful for others about living on-base.
My biggest piece of advice would be this. If you want to move on base and you put yourself on the list, make sure you sign a month to month lease! We thought the wait would be much longer and didn’t worry about it. Then about 8 months after moving to our off base home, we were at the top of the list. But since we were in a lease (and we were the only ones in our circle of friends that had a lease like this) housing had to bypass us until our lease was up. So we ended up having to wait another 4 months to move. Just because housing is ready doesn’t mean you can break your lease. Also, the military moves you from off base to on base and you will also receive partial DLA which is very helpful. But do know you will have trouble canceling your off base phone and internet service. You are locked into a 2 year contract with most places and they will not let you break it just because you are moving on base. We are currently fighting them on this.