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How to Find Inexpensive Housing

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Housing is one of if not the largest expense you will have. That means if you can cut down this cost, you’ll have a much easier time sticking to your budget. So, you might be wondering how to find inexpensive housing. Here are several ways to do just that.

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How to Find Inexpensive Housing

The cost of housing is rising as land prices increase. 

In the United States, the median price for a single-family home was $295,000 in June of 2020.

Not to mention, that the average monthly rent has risen to $1,500 in the United States even though the average income has increased by only $200 per year since 2006.

In many areas of the U.S., one income may not be enough to pay for housing and rent.

So, how can you find inexpensive housing? Here are some interesting ways you might want to try.

1. Live in Someone’s Shed.

Often people who have a backyard shed with a concrete slab will be happy to rent it out for free if you will take care of it.

Some people may require that you fix up the shed a bit before living there such as putting down carpeting.

While this might sound like a crazy idea, if you’re single and really want to save a lot of money on housing, don’t dismiss it out of hand.

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2. Live on a Sailboat

Many people have sailboats that are tied to docks or mooring buoys.

Sometimes, they don’t use them often if at all. 

You might be able to find a situation where you can live on the boat for free or for a very small rent.

In return, the owner might ask you to do a little maintenance on the boat.

It could be a win-win situation for the two of you.

3. Live in an RV

RVs are popular motor vehicles that carry a living space with a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping quarters similar to a hotel room. 

In some RV parks, the park owners will rent out space in their RV park for a few months or even years.

Rent may be as low as $200 per month.

Living in an RV on the beach may be a great lifestyle but keep in mind that high winds and storms can damage or destroy an RV.

a brown mobile home in the woods
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4. Live in a Mobile Home

A good quality used mobile home can be purchased for under $10,000 and used for many years. 

Mobile homes are popular forms of housing because they can be placed on a foundation or mounted onto cement blocks for safety in inclement weather.

Mobile homes can be placed on rented land or purchased land if preferred.

If you don’t want to buy, there are plenty of mobile homes for rent and the cost is usually much less than an apartment.

5. Move Overseas

Depending on which country you move to, it may offer inexpensive housing.

For example, in many Latin American countries, houses can be purchased for as little as $10,000.

In Mexico, one can buy a brick house for $20,000.

If you are qualified to become a resident of another country (and get a visa or residency permit) then it may be possible to have low-priced housing and low living costs.

I’ve personally thought about this myself. I love the idea of moving to a foreign country and living there. If you pick the right place, such as Thailand, you can live really well on a $1,000 dollar a month.

I just haven’t quite gotten up the nerve to do so.

If you are a bit more adventurous than me, you should go for it.

orange and white camper van in the park
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6. Live in a Van

In some cases, you may be able to live the van lifestyle by living in an isolated place off the road where there is no through traffic.

This provides a sense of safety and security when living in a van.

Places to park may be plentiful in an isolated place such as off the highway or on the edge of a small town.

You just need to be aware of city regulations so you don’t get a ticket or a knock on your door in the middle of the night by some police officer telling you to move along.

Living in a van may be cheaper than alternative housing in an area and it can provide a sense of freedom from ties to a permanent location.

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7. Buy a House in Foreclosure

Some people who lose their jobs end up with their homes foreclosed on.

If you have the cash, you may be able to purchase a house or make an offer on a house in foreclosure.

These homes are often the cheapest properties for sale.

Sometimes, you might get it for just the amount of the outstanding taxes.

Other times, you will need to pay what’s outstanding on the house.

Houses that may have been foreclosed upon and sold at a loss are purchased for next to nothing.

These properties often come with maintenance items such as water service already in place.

_a-small-guest-house-in-the-coniferous-forest
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8. Rent Someone’s Guest House

In some places, there are large properties that may have an owner who is living in a single-family home.

Often these owners will have a guest house or apartment building on their property which is often available for rent at a low cost.

The rent can be pretty cheap or you may be able to trade doing some work on the grounds to paying rent.

9. Share a House

Two or more individuals may want to share the rent on an apartment or house.

This can be done either by having one person live in the house and rent out rooms to others, or by having 2 or 3 people sharing an apartment that has 3 bedrooms – like two roommates who each pay 1/3 of the total cost of the place and split the amenities such as food, water bills, and cable TV costs.

Sure, there are downsides to having roommates, but they certainly cut down on your monthly living expenses.

10. House Sitting

Some people house sit to live for free in exchange for pet sitting or running errands, etc.

This is often a type of exchange but it can be a legitimate way of living for free if you are good at taking care of something.

You’d be shocked at the house sitting opportunities out there. Many of them last for weeks or months at a time, so it isn’t like you would have to always be on the move.

Housesiter.com is a great place to find opportunities.

I go to the site and dream about the possibilities from time to time.

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11. Move in with Your Parents

Some people may choose to move in with their parents until they find a job, or until they are able to save up enough money to live on their own.

For many people who have lost their jobs and cannot find work, moving back home is the only option they have.

It may not be your favorite idea, but it can be a lifesaver in the short run.

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How to Find Cheap Housing

If you don’t want to live in a shed, on a sailboat, or RV, then you don’t have to.

There are various ways of finding cheap housing that works for some people. 

Prime examples of cheap housing alternatives include: 

Subsidized housing.

These are buildings owned by municipalities or nonprofits that provide low-income housing. 

Whether or not you can qualify will depend on your income and if you have any disabilities. 

Housing assistance programs may be available to people who are homeless or on the street.

These programs provide assistance with housing, food, clothing, and other things needed to live.

On-campus Student Housing

In some cases, colleges will provide free student housing to students who qualify for it.

This is usually located near other student housing so it is more like a dormitory than a typical house.

Housing Allowance

You may be able to get an apartment or house rent-free or at a reduced rate in exchange for doing volunteer work at the apartment complex or community organization where they live.

When my father retired and my parents moved to Florida, he got a job as an apartment caretaker. 

They received a free apartment and he also got a small salary. 

Since they both had their social security it was a great deal for them.

How to Find Low-Income Senior Housing

There are many low-income senior housing options that if you know where to look, can allow a senior to live in a home that is in a location that they would prefer.

The best place to start the search if you are a senior or living with a disability is senior subsidized housing. 

You can find a great deal of information about low-income senior housing on the HUD website.

To Sum it All Up:

There are many ways to find inexpensive housing if you are creative about it. Sometimes you might have to step outside of your comfort zone, but if you’re willing to do that, you will find the right place at the right price for you.

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