Housing Options

Searching for a new place to live is both exciting and intimidating.

Getting to make a new space your own is something to look forward to, but the prospect of ending up in a less than ideal housing or financial situation can tame any feelings of excitement you might have had. Knowing your housing options before you begin your search for a new place can help put you at ease and even save you some headaches along the way. Read on to learn more about your housing options and how you can afford a new apartment or finance a home.

Apartments and Rentals

For most, an apartment or a rental unit makes the ideal home. There are many kinds of apartments and rental units available on the market, as demand for housing has increased in recent years. Finding the right rental requires knowing your preferred rental unit type and what units are available in your area.

In terms of apartments, there are several kinds to choose from. While not all apartment options are available in every area, there are three basic kinds available in most places including standard apartments, senior apartments and condominiums (condos). A standard apartment includes regular one- or two-bedroom apartments and studio apartments. Senior apartment complexes, also known as retirement communities, cater to the needs of those who are older than 55 years of age. Condos offer many of the amenities that standard apartment complexes do, but individual units are owned privately, so they make a great rental option for those who prefer having a relationship with their landlord.

Before beginning your search, it is a good idea to become familiar with common renting terms. Knowing terms that are often used by landlords, property managers and real estate agents can help you make sense of your renting process.

Affording an Apartment

Knowing whether or not you can afford an apartment is crucial, especially if you are a first-time renter or have not rented in a long while. Going into the apartment hunting process without a solid idea of what you can afford can make the search difficult, and it might mean ending up with a monthly rent you cannot afford to pay. Many apartment complexes, particularly those owned by property management companies, have minimum income requirements that prospective tenants must meet in order to be approved for an apartment.

In many places, apartments have become unaffordable for much of the population. However, there are some things that can be done to make an apartment more affordable. Negotiating a lease with the landlord of an apartment can lead to some savings. Private landlords might be more willing to negotiate a lower monthly rent. However, most landlords and property managers may be unwilling to change their mind on rent. It is usually more effective to negotiate for other savings, such as including a utility in the price of rent. Those who still cannot afford rent also have the option of applying for Section 8 housing assistance. These vouchers assist households in paying their rent every month.

Houses

While renting is an option, if you are looking for a house, then you are likely looking to purchase a place of your own. Buying a home is a long-term commitment, so knowing the kind of home that suits your needs best before starting your search can help you find the house that will be right for you for years to come. When it comes to houses, there are as many options out there as there are for apartments. With so many options to choose from, it is necessary to familiarize yourself with the different styles of house and which would work best for you and your household.

The first step in the home buying processes is to determine your current and future housing needs. For example, if you are a newlywed and buying your first home, then you might want to consider houses with space enough for a family should you want to start one in the future. Taking your needs and your budget into consideration can help you narrow down your choices. You will also need to learn about the common homebuying terms used when purchasing property.

Financing a Home Purchase

Although everyone who purchases a home saves up money for it, it is impossible for most to save up enough cash to buy a house outright. Buying a home usually means finding other methods of financing, such as a mortgage or home loan through a bank or grants for certain home buyers. Learning the basics of home financing can be a great help when searching for a home.

Financing and buying a new home can be a stressful and overwhelming process, especially for first-time homebuyers. There are many ways to finance a home purchase, but many believe that their only option is a mortgage. While mortgages are the most-used method of financing, knowing the other options available could mean affording the right house.

Those who are buying a home for the first time may qualify for a first-time homebuyer’s loan. There are several kinds out there, distributed through different agencies, such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veteran Affairs. Each of these has different requirements, but all help those who are buying their first home finance the purchase.

Affording a home can sometimes mean finding alternative ways of reducing the amount spent on a home purchase. One way to find an affordable home is through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The HUD offers homes that have been foreclosed on while under an FHA loan to the public for purchase at a deep discount. Many of the homes offered through the HUD homes program are not in the best condition and may need some repair, but they are all typically being sold well under market value. Another way to lower the cost of purchasing a house is to negotiate the price of a house when making an offer. Completing a home inspection and knowing what repairs need to be done to a home can help in negotiating for less than asking price.

Downsizing

At some point in life, downsizing becomes an attractive option for many, especially for those who have more living space than they need. Empty-nesters and retirees still living in the house they raised their children in might choose to downsize when they have more living space than they need. Others may consider downsizing in order to save money on rent or on mortgage payments. Moving to a smaller space may be difficult at first, but it can be a great way to save money long-term and to lead a simplified lifestyle.

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