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Affordable Housing Solutions

There are many ways to find affordable housing. There are even ways to make the home you have more affordable. Here are some of the best.

Move to a cheaper location. This is often not considered by people, but the difference in housing costs between two cities within an hour of each other can be dramatic. This can be true whether you are renting or buying. If the new location isn’t too far away, you can commute to your job. On the other hand, if the difference is enough and you can find a similar job, you might do well to move hundreds of miles away to lower your living costs.

Find cheaper types of homes. Often there are many types of housing in an area, and some are definitely more affordable than others. There are apartments, seasonal rentals, mobile homes you can rent, mobile homes you can buy in a park, mobile homes you can buy on land, modular homes that look just like regular houses but sell for less, recreational vehicles in parks, rooms for rent, and more. Make a list of the options and investigate to see which cost less.

Find cheaper parts of town. In some cities the same house can be half the price in one neighborhood versus another. Now, in some places you wouldn’t want to live in the half-priced areas. But sometimes it is more a matter of aesthetics than safety, so this might be a temporary solution while you save money to someday upgrade.

You can create affordable housing right where you are if you own your home. Just rent out any empty bedrooms. If you have a basement you might build two bedrooms there for very little investment. I used to get over $300 per month for rooms in a mobile home.

You might do something similar even if you are renting. If it’s okay with the landlord you could rent out an extra bedroom in your apartment and cut your costs in half. If the landlord says no to that he might agree to two of you splitting the rent and both being on the lease.

Refinancing is another way to create more affordable housing. If your interest rate is higher than the current rates available you might substantially lower your payment. This is especially true if you also only have fifteen or twenty years to pay on the current loan and the new one takes that back out to thirty years.

Finally, we have the more creative approaches to affordable housing. I had a friend that lived in a tent for half of the year so he could bank half of his paycheck. He then moved into a hotel room on the beach for the winter months. These rooms were cheap seasonally because it was a summer resort town.

Then there are the three young guys we met living in a school bus parked for free in the desert in Arizona. They lived within walking distance of a hot spring for bathing, and cooked some of their meals over a fire. Now that’s affordable housing.

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