How to Find Good Housing Without Breaking the Bank

If you’ve been looking for housing, you already know how hard it is to find a place without going over budget. Way over budget in many cases. As CNN Business reported this summer, home prices have been pushed to record highs due to record-low inventory. Some houses are getting multiple all-cash offers while others are selling for $1 million over the listed price.

With that, if you have no choice but to move now you might be wondering, “Should I rent or buy a house?” To find good housing without breaking the bank, renting is usually the cheaper option, as buying requires having a down payment, the money for closing costs, and other fees. You’ll also need to be able to not only make your monthly mortgage payment, but also to pay for property taxes, maintenance, and repairs.

Of course with rents rising across the country, you’ll have to be more resourceful to score a more affordable place. These tips can help you make that happen.

Consider Cheaper Neighborhoods or Relocation

With rent so high in many areas of the country, you might have to consider moving to a cheaper neighborhood.

Living in Manhattan, for example, is probably out of the question, but Parkchester in the Bronx is one of the most affordable in New York City yet it’s fairly safe and quiet. While communities like Watts and Florence in South Los Angeles are much cheaper, the crime rates are high. Rent in the San Fernando Valley, on the other hand, is lower than average and family-friendly too.

You may be able to save a significant amount of money if you’re willing to relocate to an entirely different area. Nationally, the Midwest and South are the cheapest regions in which to live.

Network

If you can find a place for rent that isn’t well-advertised by networking there’s a good chance you’ll get a much better deal without having to compete with countless others. Tell everyone that you’re looking for a new place, including co-workers, friends, family, and neighbors.

You never know, maybe someone you work with just happens to know about a new vacancy in their apartment building or has a friend who is moving out of a great rental home but the landlord hasn’t begun the time-consuming search for a new tenant yet.

Be As Flexible As Possible

The more flexible you can be, the more likely a property manager, homeowner, or any other type of landlord will be to choose you as their renter. For example, you may need to be ready to move in right away.

If necessary, it might be worth doing so even if you still have to pay for another 30 days in your current place, assuming you can swing it financially. Another option is to offer to do the clean-up yourself as it takes time and money to ensure a thorough cleaning, repaint, and the like after a tenant moves out.

Get a Roommate

Dividing up the cost of the rent for a house or apartment brings big savings, assuming you can find a reliable person that you can live with.

You’ll want to be extra diligent as you don’t want to end up stuck having to pay all the rent if your roommate skips out on you. The best way to find someone is to ask around, talk to colleagues, friends, etc. to see if they know someone looking and can vouch for their reliability.

Having a roommate agreement can help too, which documents each person’s share of the rent and other expenses like utility bills as well as security deposits.

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