Thursday, January 15, 2009

More Housing Questions

I want to say thank you for everyone in my last post who gave advice, you have no idea how much I appreciate it.

Now I'm back to ask you ladies some more questions. In fact, Sean actually said to me, "Ask your blogger friends these questions." Ha! I think I've finally won him over to the world of blogging.

Ok, so a quick update. Sean and I went to housing today. However, we won't see our first house until Monday. Then we have 24 hours to decide if we want that house or if we want to see something else.

The house aka apartment they are showing us on Monday is government-leased housing. In case I didn't mention this before, goverment- leased housing here in Italy is not on- post, it seems to be scattered throughtout the town.

Now, my dilemma lies in the fact that we have a pet, so our choices went way down, at least with government housing. However, they did offer us a three bedroom, one bathroom apartment, which is what we will be looking at on Monday. I'm not going to lie, three bedrooms is tempting. Especially when I consider all the crap that Sean and I have. Non-furniture items mainly.

My First question:
1. If we live in government-leased housing do we not get our cost of living allowance?

2. If we are paying bills with a private rental, how much can we expect to pay for utilities?

Those are two of our main deciding factors with housing. We don't want to lose our cost of living allowance, but we didn't want to pay out the wazoo for utilities either.

Personally, I think I'd rather do a private rental, the only thing holding me back is this three bedroom offer.

Opinions please?

Ok...and for those who asked which pictures won in the contest, here's the link to the original post.


#2 won first and #8 won second.

In other news, this weekend is a four day and so Sean and I are thinking about walking out in the town, that is if it's nice weather. Hopefully then I'll get those much awaited pictures.

Oh and to answer your question Becca, people in Italy drive on the same side of the road that we do, just very, very quickly.

If you ladies have any questions you want to ask about Italy, then feel free. Obviously I truly am the "New Girl on Post", but I'll try to answer questions of what I've observed so far.

Sean is back in our room making steak and potatoes and I still need to stop by the USO to finally visit Lauren, so I'm out of here.


d.a.r. said...

No advice, but good luck nailing something down! Dealing with housing here in the States was enough of a headache for me, I can't imagine how frustrating it must be over there. I am sure you guys will find the perfect place though!

Ashley said...

I have a question for ya... what's the time difference from over here in good ole Louisiana??

d.a.r. said...

That's absolutely the song I was singing in my head when I wrote the post :)

Lindsey said...

Good luck with everything! Can't wait to see pics!

THEhooahwife said...

It has been so long since I have had time to catch up with your blog!

mmmk. I have no idea what the utility costs are like out there, so I am no help there. Second, the question about the COLA. You should still get it. BAH will go bye bye, but COLA is in reference to EVERYTHING'S cost, not just housing. You can double check by calling finance, but I'm pretty sure about that one.

When DH was in the USCG, we did a government lease housing thing and we didn't get our BAH, but still got COLA. So I should think that it would be the same case for you too.

Good luck no matter what you decide!

Honey said...

you'll always get COLA, or cost of living adjustment. that's the money they pay you to make up for the difference in buying essentials like milk and bread, or going out to eat while living overseas. it's actually going up this month for the air force, and i'm assuming the army. your housing allowance, or BAH, will probably be forfeitted if you live in government housing, but your utilities might also be included in that. ask the people at the housing office, they should know. i'm not sure how much utilities will run for you, it'd be best to ask people who live there that question. check for a spouse's group on base, they're a great resource. hope that helps.

indiana.girl said...

I have no advice to give, but I'm hoping you find the perfect place. (And I love the expression "out the wazoo"!!)

SassyEngineer said...

I hope you get all of the advice you need to find a great place! Until then - enjoy Italy and take lots of pictures for me to drool over :)

Mary Teresa said...

We have only ever lived in Government leased housing so I don't have any answers about the Privately leased housing, but here is what I do know. No BAH if you live in the Gov't leased housing, but you also have no repair bills etc. if anything breaks (at least in Germany.) The DPW will come and fix doors, stove issues, a lot of stuff. We get BAS and COLA. COLA goes up or down depending on the exchange rate, so some months its more than others. Last month it was about $400 for an E-3 with one dependent.

Hope that helped a little bit. =D

lala said...

i wish i had answers, but i'm just having a hard time picking a house here in Washington! i can't imagine being overseas and trying to figure that out. :(

good luck though :) :)

Sarah said...

Hey, I love reading your posts and finding out about your experience here in Louisiana. I've only been here about a month and still am not sure how I feel about it. I am trying to stop myself from blog stalking so I wanted to say Hi! Enjoy Italy!

Mrs. Jetplane said...

If you live in gov't housing you don't get BAH, since they are compensating you for room/board by giving you a plane to live. I'd figure out how much money you're going to getin BAH and how much its going to cost to rent and utilities, before making a decision. You may not get your BAH if you live in gov't housing, but in the long run it could be a better deal.

A Soldier's Wife..... said...

It would depend on the type of quarters you are taking. If it is Government Leased then it should work just as housing does in Europe, all utilities should be covered, electric/heat and water....however if it is a government found private owned rental then you would be paying your rent to your landlord (and it may or may not be more then your BAH) and paying your utilities yourself (sometimes you end up paying less during the year then the actual amount owed and end up with a huge bill at the end of the year) to the local utility company. As far as OCOLA goes, it is a cost of living adjustment which is paid to offset your cost of living in a higher economy then those residing in the U.S. COLA is paid in the U.S.only in areas designated to be more expensive.

Your OCOLA is paid every pay period and adjusted retroactively based on the strength of the dollar against the Euro (I did a quick query for a 1st Lt. with 3 years [not knowing his time in service] in with one dependent and your OCOLA would be about 28.52 a day or $427.83 for 15 days in Vincenza)

The Overseas Cost of Living Allowance is a supplement designed to equalize purchasing power between members overseas and their CONUS-based counterparts. The average supplement is $300 per month. The basic measurement is a comparison of CONUS shopping behavior and the aggregate shopping behavior at each overseas location.

(army)Wife said...

Sorry, I have no advice, but since I've been out of the loop I'm just now reading that your in Italy! How exciting! Good luck! And I love your new blog look.

Casey said...

As other people have already said, you will still get COLA. However, you will not get your utilities allowance since most utilities are covered. This sucks because you can find a house (like ours) where all but one utility is covered, and you still get the allowance. So, we have extra money to pay phone and internet that you won't get on post. Housing should be able to give you a utilities average for your area.

If you rent something off post, you don't have to pay repair cost either. (This is in response to a comment) It is just like renting anywhere. You have a landlord, they are responsible for fixing the things.

In regards to going into town if the weather is good...
The most important lesson I learned is that you can't wait on the weather. With all there is to see, you just have to go. If you wait on the weather, you may never go!

aka_Nik said...

Government lease is nice if you find one that you like. They are usually small for family size, but if they let you take this 3 bedroom one, and you like it, I'd snatch it up. You don't have to worry about paying any bills or rent when you live in Gov't lease and if anything breaks or goes wrong you just call housing to fix it.

About utilities, my husband and I make money off the deal because we are pretty conservitive when it comes to running things in the house and whatnot. You just have to watch it. What the Army gives you is usually plenty.

Sarah said...

Add away! I hope I keep you mildly entertained.

Yes, I live at Ft. Polk as of now. I really don't hate it! It's just an adjustment from my hometown. I plan on seeing as much as I can while we're here.

What were some of your favorite things to see/do while you were here? It's hard to know where to start!

Anonymous said...

I left you a little something over on my blog :)

Anonymous said...

I'm moving to Italy this summer and have been asking my gal pals that were there what to do as well. The advice I've gotten is to be VERY nice to the housing ladies as to my understanding they are all locals. Also, be picky...don't take the first thing the offer. You will get your BAH (it will be whatever the rent is, not like it is in the states) if you live in government leased housing.If you decide a private rental is the way to go you can set up an account that will allow all your bills to be paid by bank draft. Sorry on not remembering the name of the bank..think it's banex, banco, bankex or somehthing like that. Good luck and hope that helps!

jlc said...

Just wanted to say that I'm glad I'm not the only person on the planet that uses the word wazoo. :)

Sorry for the lack of advice, but good luck with everything!!!

Barefoot Military Mommies said...

So where did you pick? I would pick the gov housing , less hassle with the bills. And you pay your phone bill at the bank.

ABW said...

You'll get COLA, but if you live in housing you lose BHA or BAH or whatever the heck they are calling it today.

On the bright side, if you live on post and have three bedrooms, then you have room for me to come visit when I leave Gunner with all three kiddos to fend for themselves. :)