By Chris Francis, Retired US Marine and Realtor at Semper Fi Homes in Oceanside, CA (Camp Pendleton)
You have just received PCS orders to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, CA, and are now asking yourself: Where should I live? Should I sign up for base housing? Should I rent? Maybe it‚Äôs time to buy a house. Maybe not? What if? ‚Ä¶.and the list goes on.
A little bit of intel can go a long way. The closest town to Camp Pendleton is Oceanside. The median home price for a 3 bedroom home, 1800-2200 square feet, is $360,000. For a VA homebuyer putting 0 down, at a rate of 5.25%, your monthly payment will be around $2400mo. You can rent a similar Oceanside home for around $2300mo. Depending on your pay grade, this will eat all or most of your precious BAH. On a good note, your commute will most likely be under 25 minutes.
There is always the Base Housing option, and it‚Äôs a great thing to have to fall back on. It‚Äôs close to work, and you don‚Äôt have to stress the monthly housing payment. But if you‚Äôre someone who feels that BAH can be better utilized, or maybe Base housing makes you feel like you never left work, you may consider other options.
This is where Temecula comes in. Many families, not just military, but many civilians have turned their focus to the Temecula Valley. Located to the East, just outside the Naval Weapons Station gate, it is an up and coming area. The homes are new, the businesses are new, and the schools are new. People love new. There is even 3 Navy Federal locations between Temecula and neighboring Murrieta. Furthermore, because of its distance and the fact that it is in Riverside County and not San Diego County, the cost of living is much more affordable. The same 3 br home discussed earlier would only cost $260,000.00. At the same interest rate on a VA, the monthly payment will only run about 1900.00 a month. By shaving $500.00 a month off expenses, families are able to live a better lifestyle. This same Temecula home would rent for 1800.00 a month. With only a 100.00 difference between buying and renting, it‚Äôs no wonder that more people are buying in Temecula and its surrounding areas. Couple this savings along with lower utilities and favorable school stats, the Temecula Valley continues to grow. Bear in mind that BAH at the w/dep rate for Camp Pendleton rests between $1800-$2400 a month, depending on pay grade.
Moving to Temecula is not without its drawbacks. The extra commute and distance from the ocean (about an hour) are the tradeoffs. I would recommend driving the commute once just to see how you like it.
Since we are on the subject of commuting, it should be pointed out that Camp Pendleton and other local commands are promoting ‚Äúgoing green‚Äù and are supporting ‚Äúvan pools‚Äù. Be sure to check out www.militaryvanpool.com. By going to this website, one can solicit other service members going to and from the same area. Where was this when I was in?? Basically, one service member leases a van, and everyone take turns driving to and from work. By sharing the driving, it reduces fatigue, lowers the cost of fuel, and reduces traffic. To top it off, the cost to lease is reimbursed by the command. I have met many Marines and Sailors who are doing this for Camp Pendleton, Miramar, and Coronado. What a great idea!
If you want to browse some homes for sale in these areas, click here.
This blog is provided by Chris Francis, a licensed REALTOR and retired 20-year U.S. Marine. Mission oriented and quick on his feet when it comes to finding the right home for those looking to buy in the Camp Pendleton area. He has over 10 years experience negotiating VA offers which allows him to successfully help his clients get their offer accepted. 95% of his business comes from military home buyers and sellers. He can be reached at
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