Do you have a smaller budget but want to own a home and start building equity?
When you are looking at housing options for a lower income, it can seem like an uphill struggle. But if you are willing to look at less traditional property types, you might have more options than you realize.
Some types of houses for low-income buyers allow you to build a home on a budget that will last for decades. We look at three options for people on a lower income.
Shipping container homes
If you like the idea of recycling as much as possible, using a shipping container for the basis of your home could be attractive. It is also a budget-friendly option that can be used to construct a simple home or a larger and more complex property to suit your requirements.
Shipping containers transport products worldwide but are often only used for one journey. Single-use containers can be very affordable and should still be in decent condition.
On the other hand, “as is” containers could require a lot of cleaning and repair before they can become the starting point of your new home.
National and local companies sell used containers with standard sizes of either 20 feet or 40 feet. They are 8 feet wide and typically 8.5 feet high, though a high cube container will provide more height. Some companies provide already built homes, where you can choose the finish and specifications.
But before you set your sights on a shipping container home, they aren’t suitable for every location. You need to be sure that the zoning regulations allow for this type of home construction. And if you’re going to be constructing it yourself, you need to meet building code standards.
Maximum Real Estate Exposure has a comprehensive resource to explain all the pros and cons of shipping container housing.
Homes that are below 600 sq ft are generally considered to be tiny homes. While these can be built on foundations, many tiny homes are actually constructed on a trailer.
Building a home on wheels offers a few advantages. Since the property isn’t permanent, it gets around rules regarding minimum home size and building codes. This allows costs to be kept at a minimum, though the home has to be restricted in size so that it can be towed on the road.
Building a tiny house could be the cheapest option when you are looking to buy a budget-friendly home. Building a home like this could cost less than an average family car, though it could last you for many years, even decades.
One of the most considerable problems with a tiny home built on a trailer is where to park it. Restrictions can limit you to just 30 days in a particular location. The rules about this will vary based on your location, with some cities and counties making it easier than others.
You can also save money on ongoing costs compared to a regular home. Property taxes and land rent a likely to be considerably less, and your costs for electricity and gas will be low.
Choosing a modular home could be the answer if you want to build a home that is more like a traditional property. The building is prefabricated in a factory and assembled in sections on your lot. This offers cost advantages, and when it is finished, it will be difficult to tell the difference compared to a site-built home.
While construction of a home like this is faster and, therefore also, cheaper, you will still have to pay many of the costs associated with a traditional stick-built home. The home will be subject to the exact property taxes, and you will also need insurance.
Even though a modular home is cheaper, this isn’t at the expense of quality. These homes still have to meet building codes for the location they’ll be assembled and be inspected during the construction process.
However, since a modular home is constructed in a factory, there will be fewer customization options. There will also be limitations based on the fact that the sections of the home have to be transported on a truck.
Sometimes there can be zoning restrictions on this type of property, so finding a lot could be more difficult. But overall, you could save 15% to 20% compared to a stick-built home.
Final thoughts on lower income housing choices
When you have a budget that you need to meet container homes, tiny homes, and modular homes are all worth exploring. Speak to a local real estate professional for help locating one.