House Hunters Fort Riley, Kansas

house in Fort Riley Kansas

We’ve moved. We have PCS to Fort Riley Kansas and we’re looking for a home. Our needs are pretty simple, our wants— not so much. Four days in, it looks like a compromise on both is going to be the only way we move out of the Candlewood Inn. Here we go again, we’re looking for home number 9. This is Fort Riley House Hunting from one military family.

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Screen-Shot-2018-07-19-at-10.27.58-AM House Hunters Fort Riley, Kansas

House Hunters Fort Riley, Kansas

We are staying at the Candlewood Inn on-post. It’s one of several operating on military installations all over the country managed by IHG. However, I Am not surprised about the off-post housing available nearby. When we found out we were going to PCS to Fort Riley, Kansas, we started the house hunt in Manhattan. There wasn’t much to look at then and things haven’t changed much since. We have a few needs, but a much longer list of wants. This PCS move is for two years. Military life really balances on which compromises we decide to make.

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What We Need

We would like to have a 4 bedroom house, with a yard and at least 2 1/2 baths. A modern kitchen is also a must. We would like a basement for our son who is in college. I also need a lot of light, high ceilings and a reasonable commute for Steven to Fort Riley. We need our budget to be around $1700 per month. Remember, it’s always a good tip not to exceed your BAH.

The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is a U.S. based military allowance based on the geographic duty station, pay grade and dependency status. Check your BAH here.

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What We Want

We want all the above. In addition, the 4th bedroom and 3rd bath should be in the walkout basement. The modern kitchen should have a gas range and an island. The yard should back up to a view and not the neighbor’s swing set. I’d prefer a laundry room large enough for my front-loaders, a 2 1/2 car garage, a deck or covered porch and no carpet. In addition, I prefer houses where there we no pets. No offense. I have terrible allergies. I also remember how long it took me to rid home #5 of its’ cat hair. Our budget for the perfect house is no more than $1950 per month.

Local Real Estate Market

You can start your search at Housing. Once we were on the ground, we discovered we were 14th on the waiting list for lodging. We are searching for online databases: www.trulia.com and www.zillow.com.  I’ve searched for www.listedbymilitaryowner.com. Sara at Black Dog Properties showed us 3 properties. She even convinced a homeowner to change his property into a rental.

There are three towns/ cities surrounding For Riley. Ogden, Junction City, and Manhattan. The latter is preferred. Manhattan is divided into East and West. East Manhattan is closest to Fort Riley and is also more expensive. You can definitely get more home in West Manhattan, but the commute can be up to 35 minutes or more.

Median rental price for rentals in Manhattan, Kansas for June was $1,200, a decrease of -7% compared to the same period last year.

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Off-Post House Hunting Fort Riley

House #1. a 1960s mid-century modern that had been renovated. It had the best view of the reservoir, a protected forest area. It also faced east, so we could watch the sunset on the large deck. But it was over-budget, too small, had funky angles & paint. No laundry room for my front loaders.

House #2 was a nice 5-bedroom. It was a contemporary home in East Manhattan, our preferred location because its so close to Fort Riley. The basement is a large walkout, with two bedrooms (one with no windows), and built-in office space and formal dining room. But OMG, it had far too much carpet and it’s been there forever.

House #3 Had an amazing view. But the yard was horrendous. I have never seen that much overgrowth. It has been on the market for a year, but wasn’t seller, so the builder is now trying to rent it. It’s technically a 3 bedroom/ 2 bath because the basement is mostly unfinished. It’s also over budget $2,000 per month.

House #4 and #5 looked good from afar but didn’t have the upgraded fixtures and amenities warranted by the asking price.

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We Submitted an Application 

I think House #6 is the one for us. It’s a 4 bedroom, 3 bedroom house on a cul de sac in West Manhattan. It’s pretty even though there is carpet in the living room, bedrooms, and basement. There is a stone wall in the living room, straddled by two large windows that open to a wooded lot. I love the privacy in the backyard. The tiled kitchen has beautiful granite counter tops, dark wood cabinets with alternating levels of crown molding.

The basement is humungous, with loads of storage, and a great bedroom and full bath for Malik. It was listed for $1950, but we negotiated with the owner to pay $1900 per month instead. I think it will be a great home for us for the next two years.

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