Learn How to Find the Right Place

Finding low income housing that fits your family’s needs can be difficult. There are many decisions that go into buying and renting a home, such as the type of housing and its location. The first step is defining your top priorities within a home and creating an attainable list for you to easily compare property listings. This may be difficult, as the amount of property listings under Section 8 housing are slim. However, it is your right as a homeowner or tenant to live in a home that accommodates your needs.

While you may not find a home that meets every desirable feature at an affordable cost, compromising some of these features will allow you to find a decent quality home that fits your budget. Additionally, learning how to assess and inspect potential housing issues when visiting and comparing HUD homes, specifically low income apartments, will help you avoid future repair expenses. If you need additional guidance, the HUD-approved Housing Counseling Program can aid you with finding and choosing the right Section 8 house listings. Review the following sections to learn more about finding a home that fits your needs, what to look for before moving into an apartment and how housing counseling can alleviate the stress of home shopping.

How to Find the Best Home That Fits Your Needs 

Section 8 offers a variety of different housing opportunities, including low-income apartments, townhomes and single-family homes. Voucher recipients are allowed to pick any home that a landlord or previous homeowner agrees to rent or sell, as long as the home meets specific housing standards. There is a common misconception that living in Section 8 housing means living in poor and underdeveloped neighborhoods with high crime rates. However, this is not the case. The purpose of Section 8 housing is to provide safe, decent and sanitary low-income housing to eligible families and individuals. 

To find the best HUD homes for you, you must determine what factors are the most important to you. These factors include location, neighborhood, transportation, type of home, size and condition. If you need to accommodate two children, finding single-family Section 8 house listings are your best option. These are typically located in suburban areas that are safe, kid-friendly and close to public school districts. If you have a family member who is elderly and has trouble walking, you may want to consider a single-story home.

Additionally, you will want to take into consideration your commute to work. If you work in the city, you may want to find low-income apartments closer to work to avoid heavy traffic in the mornings. Keep in mind that living in the city is nosier, less private and has higher crime rates. If you prefer to live in a residential area that is quieter but does not require as much maintenance, consider living in a townhome. While these HUD homes vary in size, you may want to consider compromising size to live closer to work or school. However, keep in mind that homes closer to the city are more expensive than homes in the suburbs. This may mean that the only Section 8 apartments you can afford in the city are in poor condition and that living in the suburbs can ensure you a better quality home. Ultimately, finding the best home for you means defining your top priorities and weighing out your options.

What to Look for Before Moving Into an Apartment

When visiting Section 8 apartments, make sure to keep your eyes open for potential safety hazards or areas prone to damages before deciding to move in. This includes areas inside of the apartment, within the apartment building and the surrounding areas outside of the building. Every apartment you look at should have a front door handle that has a deadbolt and pin lock to avoid a break-in. These Section 8 apartment listings should also have updated emergency systems, such as fire extinguishers, sprinklers and carbon monoxide detectors. Apartment buildings should also have precautionary systems put into place, such as indoor and outdoor security cameras.

Furthermore, you will want to be sure that these low-income apartments carry essential amenities that are in good condition. This includes refrigerators, stovetops, microwaves and dishwashers. You also want to make sure that all electricity, cooling and heating units are working efficiently to avoid high utility bills. Section 8 apartments are required to have proper water supply and interior air quality. If there are no laundry units available in the apartments, make sure to ask your Section 8 landlord if there is a laundry facility within the building. Other building amenities to inquire about include:

  • Parking 
  • Mail delivery
  • Emergency service requests
  • Pet walking areas
  • Trash disposal systems

Additionally, you will want to check the noise and traffic level of these low-income apartments at different hours of the day. If there are public transit systems available nearby, it may be more beneficial to take the bus or train rather than drive in heavily congested traffic. It is also important to check your surrounding areas for restaurants, grocery stores, gyms and laundry mats.

Learn About Housing Counseling Services

If you need additional assistance shopping for HUD homes, utilize the services provided by the Housing Counseling Program. Housing experts are available by phone or in person at your local counseling agency. Whether you are buying or renting a home, counselors will direct you to available property listings and assist you with finding a home that fits your income and monthly expenses. 

Housing counseling services will help you find, compare and negotiate home loans that will help you finance your home. If you have a Section 8 housing voucher, counselors will direct you to low-income apartments that accept these vouchers. You will also be provided with knowledge regarding the following topics:

  • Fair housing
  • Homebuyer assistance programs
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Renters insurance

Housing counseling services are also provided to the homeless and current homeowners in fear of foreclosure and eviction. Homeowners and tenants can receive helpful advice to reverse mortgages and better their credit scores, as well as make responsible choices regarding their finances.