How to Find Affordable Housing When You Are On a Budget

How to Find Affordable Housing When You Are On a Budget

Finding a cheap house is a difficult task. Even neighborhoods that are considered affordable can still be above your budget. Housing costs may be the expense you will ever have. So it makes sense to try and save some money where you can.

Whether you are renting or buying, there isn't any reason you have to live beyond your means. It will create an unbearable financial burden that you could have avoided. Fortunately, there are still some creative ways you can use to hunt for a cheap house in the neighborhood you love.

  1. Use The People Around You

Informing the people around you that you are looking for a cheap house may eventually yield some results. They will keep their ears to the ground, and if they hear about a home you may like, they will inform you. The people who can help you look for a new place are family members, workmates, friends, and neighbors.

Some know about listings and house vacancies that are not yet advertised. With this strategy, you don't have anything to lose because you won't be paying them to help you look for cheap housing. Ensure you are a bit more specific with what you are looking for. If you give them an idea of your budget, they will know which houses to suggest to you and those that don't fit your profile.

  1. Go Beyond Your Neighborhood

When looking for a cheap house, you should be ready to completely relocate to places slightly further from your current residence. Chances are you already know all the empty houses and apartments in your area. If you don’t think they are cheap enough, try somewhere else. However, you should be informed that some neighborhoods tend to have slightly more expensive housing, which might discourage you.

But do not shy away entirely from expensive neighborhoods. You might be lucky enough to find an affordable apartment there. As much as you want affordable housing, you should avoid unsafe areas or cities.

It is recommended that you start by looking at areas where the housing market crashed. You may discover that these places have incredibly cheap house prices. Ensure you exhaust all the neighborhoods within your reach.

  1. Consider Living With A Roommate

The ultimate way of cutting down housing costs is to share them with someone else. Look for a roommate willing to share the cost of the house or apartment rent. This might take some time because you need to look for a reliable person. Picking a roommate is a big job; take your time and only settle for the person you feel you can stay comfortably with for a long time.

To know if someone is reliable, ask friends and colleagues about the person's reliability. Before moving in with the preferred person, organize to meet them and discuss your expectation. Lay down all the expenses and agree on how they will be shared between the two of you.

Make sure you put the agreement on paper if possible. The roommate agreement will show each person's expenses, security deposits, and share of the rent. In case of a disagreement, the document can protect both parties; just ensure everyone signs it.

  1. Find Housing Based On Your Income

What you consider affordable housing might not be affordable for someone else. According to experts, you should spend approximately 20 to 35 percent of your income on housing. If you study your budget and make a budget plan, you will know the kind of house you need.

Your budget will dictate what you can afford in a house and what you can’t. When making a budget, you should prioritize food, savings, and other crucial aspects. Avoid all the places you feel like your income can't comfortably support. You may think you are making a small compromise, but it ends up being another financial burden.

  1. Negotiation Is Key

A landlord prefers collecting rent from a client instead of having an empty house. Most people do not know that house rent is negotiable, just like anything in the market. Instead of taking the first offer, your potential landlord presents to you, try to make a counteroffer.

Before you start negotiations, do some research on the house prices in the area. The information you get will give you a price range for the apartment. You will know if the house is over or underpriced, and that is where you can start your negotiations.

While negotiating, propose a reasonable figure that will lure the landlord into accepting your deal. Visit the landlord towards the end of the month; the owner might offer you the deal because they worry about missing the full month's rent. Offering several months' rent upfront can also convince the landlord to give you a chance.

  1. Be Willing To Make Some Compromises

When working with a limited budget, your ideal house may not be the one you dreamt of. You must be willing to make some compromises to ensure you live within your means. You can compromise the size or settle for fewer amenities. Consider letting go of some of the luxuries you have on your house-hunting list.

But this doesn't mean that you should compromise everything. Things like a safe neighborhood are non-negotiable. Only compromise on something that won't affect your quality of life. You will realize the house price will dramatically decrease after compromising a few things.

  1. Section 8 Housing Act

If you or your family survive on a low income, you can apply for an assistance program due to low income. The assistance program is known as section 8. This program is federally funded by the state housing authority in the form of vouchers to provide rent and mortgages. It can come in really handy when your income can’t cover the housing costs.

For you to benefit from this program, you must have an income that is below 50 percent of the county's median income. After application and qualification, the voucher will pay up to 30 percent of your monthly income. This payment depends on the affordable federal threshold. The voucher is not restricted to your county of residence; you can use it in any part of the country.

You might be put on the waiting list for quite a long time, depending on your city of residence. This is the only downside because it means you will delay finding the affordable housing you need. Be on the watch for cities that no longer benefit from this offer.

Final Thoughts

With these methods, you will find a cheap house in no time. Learn what you can afford comfortably and look for a house or apartment based on your income. If all else fails, find a roommate to cost-share the expensive rent with. Expand your territory and look for housing in different cities and neighborhoods. If you are not willing to move, you may settle for an apartment you can barely afford.

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