How to Find Affordable Housing
Finance experts generally recommend that you spend no more than 30% of your monthly income on housing. That can seem tough, especially if you live in a city with high rents. Good news, though: Many people do find affordable housing when they never expected to. The process starts with knowing your deal breakers. What do you require, and what can you live without?
Things You Can Do
List Your Priorities
Can you live without having a washer and dryer in your place? Could you tolerate a roommate who smokes inside? Some people must have amenities such as dishwashers, and you may prefer to live in a quiet neighborhood versus a livelier area—but is it a deal breaker? Other considerations may include pets, overnight guests, commute time, walkability, and distance to public transportation.
Explore Housing Programs
Most housing is privately owned, but some government and nonprofit programs offer lower-income people such as senior citizens, single parents, or those with disabilities with housing assistance. A well-known program is Section 8. Contact these programs early because wait lists for their homes and apartments can extend for a long period of time.
Seek Out Facebook Groups
Many apartment and roommate listings are posted inside Facebook housing groups. Not only do you get access to more listings, you also have the opportunity to check posters’ social media profiles and do a good amount of vetting on your own. Check these groups every day along with posts on Craigslist, Trulia, and Zillow.
Create a Reply Template
It can be time-consuming to find a rental. Develop a generic template that you can use for your replies to apartment and roommate ads. Include information such as your preferred move-in date, what you are looking for in housing and in a roommate, and explain a bit about yourself. You can always adjust each reply as needed.