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By Thea Theresa English

How you can find affordable housing

You are saving money for your first apartment and in a few months you will move out of your parents' home. While saving money you can seek out affordable housing in your area and there are several ways to do this. One great way to get an affordable apartment is to look for properties that are newly constructed because the owners are more likely to offer discounts on rent than the more established apartment buildings. Sometimes you might need to be realistic about the kind of apartment you can afford. For example, a one-bedroom apartment may be better for your budget than the two-bedroom one you want.

Consider public housing

Most cities have a local housing authority and it is this agency that oversees public housing developments that are available for rent. To apply, visit the local housing authority and fill out an application. You will need to present proof of income and other documentation, and some cities place applicants on waiting lists if they are not currently offering vacancies.

Section 8 is another good option

Here is how Section 8 works. The federal government pays local housing agencies to give out vouchers to potential renters. When renters apply for Section 8 vouchers, the housing agencies pay part of the rent through the voucher and the tenant pays the remainder of the rent. When applying for a Section 8 voucher, the person at the agency will let you know what kind of housing you qualify for based on the size of your household and income.

Use Craigslist

Craigslist is another effective method of finding a cheap apartment but there are ways to be safe while doing it. If a potential landlord seeks cash from you upfront, ignore the ad because it is probably a scam. Verify if a certain person is the real landlord by researching him using public records. Do not give a potential landlord money upfront and it is also a good idea to visit the area where the property is located with a friend.

Negotiate the rent

Another idea is to negotiate rent with the landlord. Compare what your landlord will charge you with the average cost of rent in the neighborhood and use this knowledge to inquire about a better price for rent. Also mention that you are in a tough financial situation and that you will need to negotiate for a different price.

Seek apartments in less popular neighborhoods

Sometimes you will have to look in less popular neighborhoods to find an affordable apartment. While you should still consider safety, affordability should also be a factor. Some of the less popular areas might be safer than well-known sections of the city.

Get assistance from loved ones

Sometimes friends and relatives might know of cheap apartments that are available for rent. Let them know what your price range is, which neighborhood you want to live in, and any amenities that you want. Write down numbers and addresses then do your research.

With these strategies, you will find a decent and affordable apartment.

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