Even if you get close to the income thresholds, you may still make too much to qualify for any one of these rental and housing assistance programs through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). If that’s the case, you may still find it challenging to find a home or rental that fits into your budget, especially if you live in an area where housing and rent costs are high.
But there are other options you can consider.
For example, getting a roommate is a good way to reduce how much you pay in rent and utility costs (because you’ll split it with them). In this situation, you may even be able to split costs for groceries, too, if you’re close enough with your roommate. Consider asking a friend or family member to move in with you, or find new people through your network, social groups, online roommate search forums and advertisements.
You may also be able to reduce your rental costs if you move to an area where rent is cheaper. Certain neighborhoods in cities and towns, as well as the cities and towns themselves, may have rental prices that are just too high for your budget. So, if the amount it costs to commute is less than living closer to where you work or like to hang out, you may be able to better afford a place that’s further away from where you really, really want to be. Consider making the compromise on where you live if you’re able to.
Another option you could look into is finding a rental that allows for flexible rent pricing in exchange for help around the property. For example, some landlords may be willing to reduce the rental price if you’re particularly handy and can lend a hand fixing the place up or keeping it in good working condition. Or, they may be willing to negotiate a cheaper price if you’re willing to:
- the lawn or manage the landscaping or yard.
- Upgrade and maintain the property, such as through construction, carpentry, electrical or plumbing.
- Serve as the property manager for the owner.
- Work as a property management assistant who helps market the complex, screen new applicants and manage resident concerns.
If you’ve got excellent, or pretty close to it, credit, consider asking for a lower rental rate. This could also be done if you have proof of an excellent renter’s history and steady income, too. Some landlords may be willing to negotiate a lower rent price to have a responsible tenant.
If you’re able to stay in a place longer than just 12 months, which is a typical lease length, a landlord or property management company may be willing to charge you less per month for rent. And if you’re able to pay months in advance, you may also be able to talk the landlord down a bit on the price.
Lastly, some landlords are also willing to adjust the price for tenants who pay in cash. Checks and electronic payments can take days to process. Getting cash in hand when rent is due can be a big perk for landlords. Plus, electronic payments may also cost the landlord (or you), so paying cash reduces this stress for both of you.