Affordable Housing Ideas
By Steve Gillman - 2005
How do you find affordable housing for you and your family?
here are some ideas to help you out. Included in these are ways
to make the home you already have cost less to live in.
Look in a Cheaper Town
Though often not considered by people, the next town over
may have much more affordable housing. Sometimes this will be
true whether you're renting or buying a home. And if it isn't
too far, you can still commute to your job. Or, if the difference
in cost is enough and you can find a similar employment, you
might move hundreds of miles away.
Buy Cheaper Types of Housing
Generally there are many types of housing in an area. Some
are definitely more affordable than others, so loo at what's
available in 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 homes that need work, to mention a few of the possibilities.
List all your options and investigate to see what the costs are.
Look in Cheaper Neighborhoods
In some towns the same house can be half the price in one
neighborhood versus another one. Sometimes you wouldn't want
to live in the half-priced areas, of course. On the other hand,
if it's more a matter of aesthetics than safety, this can be
a temporary solution while you save money to upgrade eventually.
Make Your Home More Affordable
Create affordable housing right where you are. For example,
if you own your home you can rent out any empty bedrooms. You
might even build two bedrooms in a basement for very little investment
so you can rent them out. I charged over $300 per month for rooms
in a mobile home many years ago.
Sometimes you can do something similar even when renting if
it's okay with the landlord. Rent out an extra bedroom in your
apartment and cut your costs in half. If he doesn't like this
idea, the landlord still may agree to two of you splitting the
rent and both being on the lease.
You can also create more affordable housing by refinancing
if your interest rate is higher than the current rates available.
Often the savings are a lot, especially if you also only have
fifteen or twenty years to pay on the current loan and the new
one is a thirty-year loan.
Get Creative for Affordable Housing
A friend once lived in tent for half of the year so he could
bank a big part of his paycheck each week. In the winter months
he moved into a hotel room on the beach because these rooms were
cheap seasonally (it was a summer resort town).
My wife and I once met three young guys living in a school
bus parked for free in the desert in Arizona. It was walking
distance to a hot spring for bathing, and they cooked some meals
over a fire. That's affordable housing - and creative.