My husband and I are moving to Ft. Campbell soon and are looking at several homes. (we are both in the service) We are unsure if we should rent or buy since we may only be there 3-4 years. Buying looks like a good deal in the Clarksville area, mortgage for a home we like at 139,000 would only be around $800 per month with insurance and taxes rolled into an escrow acct. The same home would normally rent for around $1100 per month. (and then insurance premiums on top of that) The neighborhood is good and all the homes were built 2005-2007 so shouldn't have too many issues with maintenance. Just scared of buying then having to PCS and either try to sell or become landlords. Just trying to get advice and more perspectives to help us make this decision.


With just 3 - 4 years, you have to assume that the price you pay for the home will be the same price you sell the home at... maybe add a little more, but not much. Now consider what your closing costs during the purchase and sale of the home will be, and add to that the interest you'll pay over 3 - 4 years on the mortgage. Other costs come to mind as well: PMI (unless it's a VA loan), home insurance, maintenance, etc. All of that adds up, and when you compare that to what you pay in rental it might come out more costly to purchase a home. Purchasing a home was always meant to be a long-term prospect. Unfortunately, that viewpoint was skewed in the early 2000s when people were flipping their homes and making $100ks on them. I find it hard to believe that that same scenario will play out for a long time. Financially, I would recommend renting. But you might value being in your own home, and that is something that may be worth more than the associated costs. Good luck.
If you think about it, BAH can pay your mortgage or someone else's mortgage. When I first entered the Air Force, I bought a house with zero down, using my VA loan. Four years later, I sold the house and had $35,000 to put down on my next house, after paying off a few debts. I did pay a little more than my BAH every month because I made a 15 year mortgage, but I'm glad I made the sacrifice.

It would be a much better idea to buy so long as the house is in a decent neighborhood with decent schools nearby.  When you leave, you can either sell or have a property manager rent the property out on your behalf for a 10% cut.  It's generally a much better idea to pay the 10% and protect your investment than to attempt to find tenants while out of state etc...