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22 Dec 2011
kg
Posts:9
moving off SS

Hi, my husband and I are beginning the search for our new home out in town. I just wanted to get some advice from those who have experienced living off base as to what to look for. I know the large underground bambola is cheapest. Things like that. What to request, what to avoid, etc. Any advice would be very helpful & much appreciated! 

22 Dec 2011
Michael
Posts:9
Re: moving off SS

I suggest to you to avoid places without a garage or a parking spot. Make sure that your new house has an alarm system also.

23 Dec 2011
kg
Posts:9
Re: moving off SS

A garage is definately on the list. We're looking for a fenced in yard with gate and alarm. 

24 Dec 2011
WC
Posts:11
Re: moving off SS

Lago Patria has always had a high crime rate and I have had several friends robbed there over the years, the latest one just last month.  Over the years, Licola/Monteruscello has had an issue with thieves gassing the victims and robbing while they are out.  I have lived offbase for 10 years and onbase for about 3 (Support Site & the old government parcos).  I can only tell you what worked for me:-Landlord living on or near the house, he has just as much interest in his property not getting damaged in a break-in as you.-If looking to live in Naples (even Pozzuoli), private parking or garage.  Some of my friends didn't have this and the later they returned, the longer they drove looking for parking.-Don't be afraid to consider the nearby towns of Gricignano & Succivo, low crime rate and some great new apartments are available.  I have had friends living there over the last 4-5 years and just about all of them had great experiences.
I loved my experiences off-base and still stay in touch with a few of my old landlords.  I don't knock anyone who wants to live off-base, just be prepared.  Winters can be harsh and expensive.  Yes, the government will give you tons off cash for living off-base, but you'll use it.  I live on the site because I've just lived here too long to worry about whether or not everything I own will be in the house when I return from a weekend trip somewhere.  I also like having free heat and AC.  Hope this helps! 

26 Dec 2011
robert
Posts:24
Re: moving off SS

I have lived in Castel Volturno for over a year now with no garage and no designaited parking space. I have had no problems. it has been my experience that when someone gets broken into they look and act like a american. TRY to blend in and theft is less likely.

26 Dec 2011
kg
Posts:9
Re: moving off SS

Thank you all for your advice! It is very much appreciated. We have been here 2 years and are extending. I just feel like I haven't really 'lived' in Italy living on the SS and want to experience more hands on. I've prepared myself that its going to be tougher without the free AC & heat but I'm excited for the experience. We're not looking at any apartments as we have a dog and want a yard for her. Plus I'd love to have some privacy again! :) Thank you all again so much! 

30 Dec 2011
BluntedHedgehog
Posts:5
Re: moving off SS

KG, Don't know if you're still in the process of looking for a place but please realize you must register through the Housing Welcome Center. They will 'assist' you and are in charge of contracts and 'inspections' but there are many things that you may want to consider. Whether you're military/contractor/GS you need to find out what your top end funding will be for rent and utilities. Your utilities will still be 'free' since they will be reimbursed but you need to determine an approximate monthly breakdown. If you aren't military, you're required to cough up your first month's rent and an equal amount for security. In cash. The folks at Housing will tell you what is required of any property you are interested in and if the property and the landlord are not already in their system, you will need to budget more time for everything to be certified as acceptable. If you're working with a 'realtor', do NOT let them know your GS rate or military rank or anything else about your budget. Their commission is your first month's rent and they want it to be as high as possible. Don't arrange to cut a deal or get a kickback; you don't want a fast ticket back home to join the ranks of the unemployed.Here are a few things that are mandatory: Battery operated emergency lights on all floors, secure wall/fence for the entire perimeter of the property of a minimum height; metal locking shutters on ALL windows, alarm for ALL doors and windows (if motion sensors are included, make certain they can turn off the areas the pets will be in); a regular supply of approved drinking water must be delivered and a month's supply MUST be there when you move in- according to the contract if they fail to do this, the contract is void (I recommend Culligan jug and dispenser unless you want your basement filled with plastic bottles by the hundreds); if there is any kind of water tank (reserve or holding) they must have it cleaned and sanitized every six months and must provide you with the certificate; fireplaces need to be professionally cleaned prior to moving in and every year before the season begins; if you are not on city gas, the tank MUST be plastic, not metal and must be underground with installation certified by the Vigili del Fuoco; you do not pay extra for the drinking water, house water, sewage, garbage, condo/commune fees; you MAY be asked to pay the yearly fee to register the rental contract at City Hall (I believe it's 1% of the annual rent) but do NOT pay the landlord this amount until he has a receipt for you-this is a mandatory fee reimbursable by the USG; check to see whether there are any stains on the inside walls, peeling or bubbling walls-this is generally a sign of poor ventilation/leaks and will erupt into black mold/mildew (if anyone in the family has respiratory issues such as asthma, you may want to look elsewhere or get a scrip from the clinic so that the Housing Warehouse gives you a dehumidifier).  As with any house: try all the faucets, flush all the toilets, check all appliances. (Measure doorways so you don't have a problem when the Housing Warehouse asks what size appliances you want them to bring and install). See what the neighborhood is like on a weekend, at night. Do you really want to make a long drive? How far is shopping? If you have school-aged children, where is the nearest US bus stop? (Check with the office at the high school for definite information. NEVER rely on speculation.)ALL lawn maintenance must be included at no charge. It's in the contract. Period. Big stuff and little. It's their property, their asset.Is there a pool? You will probably pay extra for maintenance and they will only want to do it during the summer months.Is it in a parco? Do the residents follow security procedures or are gates left open all the time? (If you hear 'It's okay that the pedestrian gate is open, nobody ever stole from a house and left by walking,' .....well, do you really want to find out?)Beware of the following phrases: 'No problem', 'No worries' or 'I will have it fixed before you move in.' If there is something you want or need, WRITE IT IN YOUR PRECONTRACT and follow up every week to see the status of installations or repairs. Otherwise you will be at your deadline and you will be eligible to have your knickers in a twist because nothing has been done. Questions: Where do I take my garbage? How often is it picked up? Who are my neighbors? (If the landlord or family lives near; that's a good thing.) Is Internet important to you? Do NOT rely on verbal assurances that ADSL is there or 'will be coming soon'. Go ask the Incredibly Competent and Supernaturally Nice People at NEX Residential Services to check with Telecom Italia (or whoever) to verify ADSL does exist at that address. Infrastructure improvements move at the speed of a glacier here: if the property doesn't have ADSL, you'll have to wait for someone in the area who has it to die before they hook up your house. If you're next on the list.Security: Have the landlord arrange for the locksmith to come out and rekey all entrances while you're there. And have him give you the Master OR have him break it in front of you. With the remote controls: have the frequency changed.PAY ATTENTION TO THE FORM YOU SIGN AT HOUSING that reads something like 'I understand Lago Patria, Licola and some of these other areas are really not the best places to live, even if you were born here and I promise not to whine or complain when something unpleasant happens.'  I would discount the Expat Urban Legends of 'gassing' people to knock them out and burgle them or the story of the gate/front door that was hooked to chains and a tow truck and pulled completely out. No one ever seems to be within two degrees of separation from the afflicted parties. Also, a robbery involves person-to-person theft using force or threat of force. Someone breaks into your house or vehicle and steals: it's burglary. Takes a bit more coordination to pronounce. As far as Don't Look Like an American and You Won't Have Bad Things Happen to You....well, read the Panorama to see how often things happen and where. And for many of us, even if we aren't wearing our Broncos ballcaps, driving our Chevy Suburbans with our stick figure family decals on the back window; we stand out. It happens. No one will remind you at Precontract or Contract signing that you have voluntarily chosen to live in what has been statistically and anecdotally proven to be A BAD NEIGHBORHOOD.Personal Experience: We were burgled in Lago two weeks after we moved in. They poisoned the dog (he recovered) and took uniforms, medical records, laptops, external hard drives, flashdrives, photo albums. All while the Sponsor was at work and the family was at a hospital appointment. And the nanny and gardener were next door about 15 feet away. Oh, yes, they crowbarred the garage door and knew exactly where Spouse's professional rescue tools were in a case. Used those to break through windows, doors, metal shutters. Used a drill and sledgehammer to crack the concrete of the basement door where only a few people knew there was a portable safe. Too bad they didn't know it held the son's Pokemon cards.... And two weeks after that (the night before Rent Day, Cash on hand), someone tried to break in through the front door by removing the lock-cover plate. Luckily I had the key in the door on the inside so they weren't able to work the lock.  And the creepy part; before we had two vehicles, when someone would drive away, there would be hang-up calls beginning ten minutes later. Just be thorough, be cautious, trust your gut and please, oh please, try not to be too easy-going/naive/impressed by marble everywhere or heated towel racks or homes larger than any you'll probably live in back in the States. You're paying several times the rate of someone local; no one is doing you a favor by renting to you.And one final hint; you WILL need air conditioners unless you plan on commuting from the mountains.