It will likely be necessary at some point in your life (and more than once) to have to find a new home on a budget. Your housing costs are probably the highest expense you’ll have, so it’s a good idea to try to save money where you can. Whether you’re buying or renting, there’s no reason you should have to live beyond your means just to have a nice place to live. If you think outside the box, you’ll find a few strategies for locating affordable housing in a neighborhood you love – and we’ll start you off with a few ideas right here.
If it fits your lifestyle, consider roommate(s), especially in larger cities
If you’re only looking for a home for one, consider moving in with someone else to cut costs and likely have a larger pool of possibilities. Having a roommate isn’t always ideal, but splitting rent makes your budget go further, frees up extra money, and is a great way to buy time to save up for your own place. In big cities, roommates are the norm. Many people can’t afford to live alone in cities where the cost of living is sky-high, so you likely won’t be the only one looking to share a living space.
Be honest about your budget
It’s tempting to stretch yourself when you find a home you love in the perfect location. Sometimes you can cut corners enough to make it work, but other times, it’s just out of reach. And that’s okay! It’s better to downsize or compromise on the neighborhood than sign a lease that will be cumbersome and stressful six months down the road. Be honest about what you can afford and stick to a cap on monthly payments.
Location, location, location
Home prices and rents can vary widely, even from zip code to zip code. Consider new neighborhoods further from the city center, as these are typically more affordable. Research lesser-known neighborhoods to find hidden gems!
Use alternative sources to find listings
There are lots of sites to search for houses for sale and for rent, but these are heavily trafficked and probably offer a lot of competition and top-of-market pricing. Instead, ask about nearby listings among friends and neighbors. Oftentimes, you’ll find someone knows someone who is listing their house, renting a room, or saw a promising home a neighborhood or two away. Use your connections in addition to traditional searching to cast a wider net.
Patience is a virtue
More than anything, have patience with your search. When you’re up against a deadline to move this can be extremely difficult! But don’t get discouraged if you don’t find a new place the first weekend you look. House-hunting takes time! Keep searching, keep asking around (and have others ask for you) and keep your options open.
It may seem like affordable housing is a myth, but it’s out there! It requires a bit of digging to uncover the best finds, but once you find a home that checks all your boxes and won’t kill your budget, you’ll be glad you took extra steps to make sure you found a perfect fit.