If you live in a big city, chances are you’re faced with the challenge of finding affordable housing. There are millions of people who struggle to find affordable rental units because their income is below the 30 percent area median income. This means that many people end up paying half or more of their income in rent. Finding an affordable place to live in high demand cities is possible, but you might need to give up some of the things you were imagining. Here are the top ways to afford housing in high demand cities.
Rent a Room Instead of an Apartment
Renting a room instead of an apartment is a good option for some people who want to live in a city, but cannot afford to buy or rent an entire apartment. For example, if you are going to be working at a company that doesn’t provide housing, or you need to live closer to work, renting a room might be the best solution.
Renting a room is also great for students as it provides them with more freedom and mobility than living on campus does. There are many websites that list rooms for rent. You can also find room rentals on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and other online sites.
Find a Roommate or Two
To save money on housing, you’ll want to consider sharing your space with roommates. If you live in a city where there’s high demand for housing, and if you have an extra bedroom or two, consider renting out that spare room to someone in need of a place to stay.
This can be especially helpful if you’re struggling financially and don’t know how long it’ll take for your career to pick up steam. As your career picks up and you start to earn more income, you may not need the roommate anymore.
Look Outside the City Limits
If you really want to live in the city, but can’t afford the rent, consider looking outside of downtown. Many communities on the outskirts offer affordable housing options that are still close enough to enjoy all that city life has to offer. Additionally, you may qualify for Section 8 housing. If you do, this can give you even more affordable options in a desirable city.
If you choose this route, though, remember to factor in the cost of commuting into your budget to see if you’re actually going to save any money. You will probably have to commute into work every day. Commuting costs money too, so make sure your salary can cover those expenses.
Be Flexible About Location
The first thing to do is avoid renting an apartment in the most desirable part of the city. If you’re looking for an affordable place to live and you want to be close to all the action, you’re going to have a hard time finding it. Instead, look for a neighborhood that has some charm but isn’t nearly as expensive or trendy. You’ll get less-expensive rent, but at least you’ll still be close enough so that your commute won’t take forever, or require several transfers on the Subway or rail system.
Visit Your New Neighborhood at Different Times of Day
Visiting your new neighborhood at different times of day is a great way to get a better idea of what living there will be like. Visit during the week and on the weekend. These are different, but both are important parts of your life as you consider living in a city. Visit during different times of the day, including morning, afternoon, evening, night time. The way that a place looks at each time can change quite drastically between those hours.
Get a Roommate in an Expensive Neighborhood
Maybe living in the outskirts of the city or in a less desirable part is not your thing. Instead, you can look for a roommate in an expensive neighborhood. You may even be able to find a live/work situation where you provide some light housekeeping in exchange for a reduced rent as well. These types of living situations can be especially helpful for elderly people who need help keeping up their home, but aren’t able to do it anymore.
Buy a Duplex or Multi Unit Apartment
If you want to live in the city, maybe buying a duplex and living in half of it would help. You could rent out the other half and then stay on site. This would be helpful for not only managing the property, but also for cutting your housing bill down significantly.