For those of you who are moving to Ft Benning / Columbus / Phenix City, I will discuss housing and offer some general advice for you in choosing your house in this area.
I will not get into specific neighborhood recommendations or anything like that. Where you choose to live is up to you. My goal is to help educate you in a manner that will help you make the best decision and let it be one you will be happy with in the years to come.
There are all sorts of options available in this area. My advice is to get pre-qualified which costs you nothing and will let you know if you have any credit-related issues to deal with so you will not have any surprises later. I offer a fast no-obligation pre-qualification and you can click here to email me, and I will send you a brief questionnaire to complete and email back to me. With this form, you can let me know your desired payment amount and I will let you know what house price you can get with that payment.
Ft Benning is surrounded by several choices of areas for you to live that may be broken down into two states and five counties.
Just to the North of Ft Benning is Columbus, Muscogee County. Columbus has the highest property taxes in this area. For a $150,000 house, your property tax will be approximately $200 per month. However, Columbus is convenient to the base and the traffic flow is good via I-185 and Hwy 80. It has been said that you can go from Point A to Point B in Columbus generally in 15-20 minutes or less.
To the South of Ft. Benning, the town of Cusseta, Chattahoochee County offers convenience and close access to the bank, especially if you are going to be working at the Armor School. The New Harmony Church entrance to Ft. Benning is under construction and this will be a new major entry point located within 10-15 minutes of Cusseta. Currently there is one subdivision with houses available: The Plantation at Red Oak. It has houses ranging in price from $180k to $240k and has a golf course within walking distance. To compare the property tax rates, a $200k house in Chattahoochee County will have monthly property taxes of around $165, which is less than the taxes in Muscogee County on a lesser priced home.
To the North and East of Columbus / Ft Benning is Harris County which offers rural housing and highly regarded schools. However, Harris County median home prices are amongst the highest in this area, at $212,454 (www.city-data.com), thanks to the county putting in a 2 acre minimum lot size several years back. However, Harris County does offer quiet living on private lots and good schools. Property taxes in Harris County on a $200,000 home would be around $150 per month.
To the West of Ft Benning, Alabama offers several options for housing. Russell County and Ft. Mitchell offers housing that is somewhat convenient to the base via the entrance at Uchee Creek. One thing to keep in mind here is that you are likely going to be 10-15 minutes from the entrance to Ft Benning, but depending on where you work on base, you could have another 20-30 minute drive across post at 10-15 mph. The new Armor School is a good example of 30-45+ minute commute to and from work from Ft. Mitchell.
If you are seriously considering a house no matter what subdivision, be sure to ask about power bills! I have been hearing several stories of new houses being sold to military and the power bills are excessive (from $400 to $800 per month!). This could not only hurt you now but also every month when it comes time to sell the house. Ask the neighbors before you buy!! Google Search the builder and see what you find!!
Also in Alabama are the Cities of Phenix City and Smiths Station. Phenix City is convenient but most of the new housing growth is occurring in Smiths Station and Lee County. The Smiths Station schools are also reputed to be amongst the best in this area and also in the State of Alabama.
In general, the property taxes in the Alabama communities will be around half or less of Muscogee County taxes. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you are in the military and live in Alabama in Lee or Russell Counties, the State of Georgia is allowing you to participate in the Hope Scholarship Program which is a lottery funded higher education Scholarship program for Georgia Residents. This is a Great Benefit as the Hope Scholarship can pay full tuition for qualified students to Georgia Public Universities.
If you have any specific questions you would like answered, or if you would like a free no-obligation pre-qualification, please email me or call me at (706) 888-0980.