Are you looking for a single family home, but finding that prices are higher than what you can comfortable afford? You don't want to get in over your head in mortgage debt, but you don't have to give up your dream of buying a home, either. Here are some ways you can find a more affordable single-family home.
Buy in a less desirable school district.
In most counties, there are school districts that are in high demand and other school districts with less demand. The homes in high-demand school districts will cost a lot more than those in less desirable school districts.
Look more closely into school districts in the area. You may find that some of them rank acceptably but are simply not in demand because there are even better districts nearby. For instance, homes in a district that scores a respectable 88% may be very affordable just because the district next door scored 95%. Your kids will likely do just fine in a middle-of-the-road district, especially if you put some of the money you save on housing into extracurricular activities and SAT prep classes.
Opt for a smaller home.
Family homes with 2,000 square feet or more of space are in high demand. However, the idea that you need this much space is mostly an illusion. In the 1950s and 1960s, families often lived in smaller, 1,200 square foot homes. If you can step back your expectations and learn to live in closer quarters, you can find some very affordable homes, sometimes even in the nicer neighborhoods you would not otherwise be able to afford to live in.
Look for an "ugly" home that you can transform.
Buying a true "fixer upper" is rarely as affordable as you might think since you'd need to do a lot of work to the home to make it safe and livable, and that can get costly. But what can be really affordable is buying a home that's priced low simply because it is ugly. Maybe someone painted the walls hot pink, or perhaps the carpet looks like it is straight out of 1970. The seller priced the home low because most buyers shop with their eyes. But you know better. You know you can buy this home very affordably and make it pretty again with $200 worth of paint or by ripping up and replacing the carpet.
If you think you're priced out of buying a single-family home, you're probably just looking at the wrong homes. Search in a different school district, look for smaller homes, and aim to buy something that needs a minor makeover.