Affordable Housing Options to Help You Save


Purchasing a home is a dream for many, but when money is simply too tight, it’s time to turn to other housing options. Duplexes, tiny houses and Section 8 housing may help reduce the costs of living in New York while saving pennies for that dream house down the line. Take a look at some of the different options for housing below.

Accessory Dwelling Units

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) have several other names including mother-in-law apartments, secondary suites or accessory suites. They are basically self-contained apartments attached to owner-occupied homes. ADUs are often converted basements, garages, or even smaller structures on a property that has been modified for use as an apartment. With its own entrance, ADUs were originally used primarily to house relatives, such as mothers-in-law. While these dwellings may be cozy, they are also generally far less expensive than full-sized apartments.

Tiny Houses

Tiny housing, or micro housing, has become immensely popular in the last few years, thanks to several reality shows on the television. Instead of full-sized houses, people are opting for smaller versions, utilizing much smaller spaces. Tiny houses are far more energy-efficient than their larger counterparts, as well as far less expensive to build. Many of these homes can be purchased pre-built while still allowing the owner to customize it to his or her own liking. These tiny homes can also be built on wheels or on flatbed trailers to make them mobile. Most of the interiors involve unique storage solutions.

Minimalist Apartments

Along the same lines as tiny houses are minimalist apartments. While these apartments are not mobile, they still allow for a great deal of customization and unique storage solutions. With so little space, it may not seem ideal for most individuals. Note that minimalist apartments are not at all appealing for families. However, considering the lower rent may make the cramped size a bit easier to swallow.

Community Housing

Elderly citizens who struggle with affording housing should take a look at community housing for seniors. These facilities offer affordable living, safety and community benefits. Large apartment complexes are often the sites for senior communities. They are usually built with community interaction in mind. Many offer communal areas for activities, meals and relaxation, where residents may socialize with their peers.


Rather than owning a house, some choose to live in condominiums, where they purchase single units. Unlike living in apartments, condos are owned outright. Common areas like hallways, laundry rooms and yards are owned collectively by all attached units. Condominiums are managed by their owners’ associations, which also create and enforce the rules of the properties. Even though a unit is owned by an individual, he or she must follow the rules set forth by the owners’ association.

Foreclosures, Short Sales and Auctions

Purchasing a first home can be a very expensive endeavor. One way to save money is to look at listings on foreclosures, short sales and auctions. These homes can sell for as little as half the normal market price. To find legitimate listings of homes being sold through these methods, check the local newspaper for auctioneers hosting these auctions in your area. Bank-owned properties are often listed through the bank websites, and are marked as Real Estate Owned (REO). Try to avoid using the internet to search for these listings, as there are far too many fake auctions in existence to fool you.

Duplexes or Multi-Family Homes

Another option is to purchase a duplex or a multi-family home. This allows the owner to live in one of the units of the house, while renting the rest to tenants. It provides a regular income, which can be used to make the mortgage payments, making it more affordable. Of course, there are drawbacks to these homes, as the “apartments” must meet federal and state requirements regarding tenancy laws, so do not rush into this decision lightly.

Section 8 Housing

New York has a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program to provide assistance with rent and home ownership. The program also helps senior citizens, disabled individuals with limited incomes and other individuals with income challenges. It enables individuals and families to find safe, quality housing by subsidizing the rent or the costs of homes. A drawback to the program is that families must adhere to a waiting list before finding an HCV home. They also must be in the program for at least a year before becoming eligible for the home-ownership option.