Housing Assistance Resources

Navigating the world of real estate and apartment rentals can be difficult, and finding the right information often takes time and energy.

Renting is sometimes restrictive, and purchasing or owning a home comes with its own set of risks, but there are a variety of resources available for every kind of renter and homeowner.

For Renters

Finding and renting a new apartment or home can be very exciting, especially to the first time renter. However, renting a place comes with some risks, terms and responsibilities every renter must be aware of.

First-time and experienced renters often make common mistakes when looking for an apartment or a roommate. Avoiding these mistakes is important, as these mistakes may mean taking on greater financial risks in the end. Not knowing the terms of a lease can result in unforeseen expenses, especially in the event that the lease needs to be broken. It is also wise to see a unit in person before signing a lease, as it is important to know exactly what the apartment or home looks like before committing to it.

Most landlords or property managers will require a security deposit from tenants upon signing the lease. Security deposits serve as financial security for a landlord in the event that a tenant causes damages to the property, does not pay rent or moves out without breaking the lease. These deposits are often large sums of money and can be as much as twice the amount of rent, but there are ways to save money on a security deposit.

When renting, it is always beneficial to understand what a landlord’s responsibilities are. Once a lease is signed, a landlord cannot legally change the terms of a lease until the lease has ended, including the rent. Landlords are also responsible for larger maintenance and repair needs on the property, as well as making sure units meet safety standards. Find more resources for renters here.

For Buying a Home

Purchasing a home is one of the greatest expenses an individual will have in his or her lifetime. It is helpful to have the right homebuyer’s resources when searching for and making a decision on a home. First-time homebuyers, as well as those upgrading or downsizing, should know what factors to consider when choosing the right home.

Before shopping for a home, it is important to calculate how much of mortgage payment you can afford based on your monthly income. This will help you narrow down your home options by price. It is also important to factor in any extra expenses when looking at the price of a home. Some homes may require you to pay Home Owner’s Association fees every month, while others may require one-time expenses for repairs or upgrades.

While buying a home is one of life’s larger purchases, it is possible to save money. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers a few programs that can help you find a home for sale, often well below market value. HUD homes are foreclosed homes with mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Some HUD homes are offered through special discount programs, such as the Good Neighbor Next Door program, which offers homes at 50 percent of the market value to homebuyers willing to live in the house for three years after purchasing.

Saving Money at Home

Finding and financing a new place can be expensive enough on its own without adding on moving and living expenses. Saving money at home is a great way to offset the costs involved in moving to a new apartment or home.

There are several steps you can take to save money when moving into a new home. Creating a budget for your move helps outline your anticipated moving expenses, as well as help you keep track of your actual expenses without spending more than you can afford. One expense you should not have to budget for is packing boxes. Boxes can be expensive when bought from a moving company or at a store. Before purchasing any boxes, check if there are any free boxes being offered locally. Some stores allow customers to take shipping boxes they will otherwise throw out. You might also be able to find free boxes online.

Once you are moved in to your new home, there are ways you can save on your monthly household costs. Lowering your electric bill can save you a good amount of money every month, especially in areas where cooling or heating costs are high. You can also save money by cutting or reducing other monthly costs, such as cable or satellite TV subscriptions, internet packages or gym memberships.

Automating Your Home

Home automation has become increasingly popular in recent years, as it provides conveniences that were not available previously. While many believe automating a home is expensive and unattainable, there are convenient and affordable options for everyone. From keeping a home secure to keeping it clean, there are many automation products available for any budget.

Home security systems have been modernized to offer customers automated security solutions. Some systems allow homeowners to activate their security system remotely and monitor security cameras set up in the home while on the go. Home security automation allows homeowners peace of mind and the ability to keep their home secure from a distance.

There are other practical uses for home automation that may even be useful in saving money. Using a smart thermostat can save you money on heating and/or cooling expenses every month. These thermostats allow you to program what temperature you want set at any time of the day. Some systems also allow you to set temperatures on the thermostat while away from home. Automated cleaning devices can also be programmed to run at certain times of the day, making cleaning a home easy. Automated vacuums and mops are great for maintaining a clean home between spring cleaning sessions.

Senior citizens and their caretakers also have home automation solutions available to make independent living possible while providing peace of mind to loved ones. Senior home automation systems allow caretakers to monitor the security and health of seniors, and well as assist the elderly in daily tasks such as taking daily medication or remembering events and appointments.

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