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Friday, July 19, 2013

House Hunters Army Style

Since we are in Kansas for one year for Honey to go to school at the General Command Staff College for Army officers ranked as Majors, we decided that it made the most sense to live in Army housing located on Ft. Leavenworth.  This is the first time either of us have ever lived on an Army post. 

Honey did attend West Point which is technically an Army Post but since that was college he doesn't count that. So that makes this a first for both of us!

Selecting our home was much like House Hunters on HGTV – I wish I would have recorded our experience! House Hunters Army Style...

For those not familiar (do any seasoned Army wives read this blog??) I have outlined how The On Post Housing Process works (in a nutshell) along with our personal experience.

Before you move to post - 

1 - In March, we were required to turn in the top three neighborhoods we would like to live in. 

We were able to go online to view the neighborhood layouts, home floor plans, square footage, etc. for each of the different neighborhoods and homes. We learned that all of the homes in a neighborhood are identical. So once you pick a neighborhood you are also picking the single floor plan for that neighborhood.

2 - The Ft. Leavenworth housing office takes your selections and assigns every family to a neighborhood, not to a specific house. By May they notify you to let you know which neighborhood you were assigned to. 

We got our top pick! We were excited because as it turned out, not everyone got their top pick. 

Once you get to post - 

3 - When you arrive on post you sign in at the housing office and they let you know which houses in your neighborhood are coming available. 

We went straight to the housing office the minute - and I do mean the minute - we arrived to Ft. Leavenworth. We drove from Clanton, Alabama directly to the Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas housing office (with one overnight stop in Columbia, Missouri). And yes, I had to pee when we got there. 

4 - You go look at the available houses. 

The good news? There were three available houses in our neighborhood for us to see. Just like House Hunters. (Some friends of ours arrived a few weeks earlier - because she's due with Baby #4 any day now - and when they arrived there were NO houses available that day. They had to come back the next day. Really!?)

The bad news? They would not be ready for us to move in for 2 weeks. AND we weren't able to see the inside. That didn't really matter to me because the inside is the exact same for every house. So the inside doesn't make a difference at this point. 

5 - You select the home you want and the housing office assigns it to you and tells you when it will be available. 

We quickly made our decision after looking at all three homes. I had already created my DO's and DON'Ts list for our on post home and although a short list, it is a bit of a tall order for Army housing...

I DO want to be on a quiet street, preferably not on the corner.
I DON’T want the neighborhood playground in my back yard.
I DO want access to a field or some green space very close to our home for Cash Dog.
I DON’T want to look out of my back window directly into someone else’s back window.

And one house? Met this criteria! While you can see the neighbors behind us, there are some tall trees between their house and ours. You can also see a community play ground but it is far enough away to not be a noisy bother when Mommy needs quiet time Parker needs to nap. There is plenty of green space for Cash, even a walking trail nearby, and as an added bonus, the house is on a cul-de-sac!

6 - Once you have an address assigned, you call your army-contracted moving company to give them your new address and the date you have from the housing office as to when your house will be available.

Our home was not scheduled to be available until July 24 which would have us in a hotel for two weeks. TWO WEEKS?! But after Honey and I questioned the housing office on the reason for the delay, they realized that there wasn't a need to wait that long. The house was being patched up and freshly painted, then cleaned, then carpets cleaned, then inspected. They revised the date to July 17 and and we have scheduled our boxes and furniture to be delivered on Thursday, July 18. Which means only ONE WEEK in a hotel. Much more palatable than two weeks. 

By the time this blog is posted it will be after July 17 but since we won't have internet service for a few days while we move I pre-wrote and scheduled this post!

7 - Then you check into a hotel and wait for your house to become available.

Our hotel is a suite with a small kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom. 

The pros? I have to admit it is nice to have this *down time*. We are loving exploring our new community and catching up with friends who are here. It is nice not to wake up to a to-do list each and every morning! 

The cons? Oh, where do I begin? There is a family (of elephants?) staying the the suite above us. They are So.Loud.All.The.Time. Then the a/c unit only has too controls: hot or cold. Pick which one you want because there is no middle ground. And finally, let's face it, we're in a hotel. Space is at a premium and I don't know how much longer we can live like this!

So meanwhile we are living the part of House Hunters that you don't see on TV. House Hunters Army Style! Place another checkmark in the column marked "New Army Experiences" for me. 

I look forward to posting about our family adventures as we get to know Kansas City and Leavenworth over the next couple of weeks! And I very much look forward to hopefully posting about our new digs on post!

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