How to Find Apartments

When it comes to finding low income housing, it can be incredibly difficult to find the right option for you and your family.

There are a variety of factors that must be considered when purchasing or renting a home, such as the type of housing and the location of the property.

As you begin your search, it is vital that you define your priorities for your new home so that you can create a list of wants and needs to use when comparing property listings.

However, it can sometimes be difficult to find the right Section 8 housing property for you and your family.

Despite the difficulty, you should not be discouraged as it is your right as a homeowner or tenant to find housing that accommodates your needs.

It can sometimes seem impossible to find low-income apartments or other properties that have every feature that you request while still remaining within your budget.

However, if you are willing to make some compromises on certain features, you may be able to secure a more affordable housing unit that accommodates your needs.

It is vital that you learn how to adequately inspect and assess properties for potential issues that can end up costing you a hefty price with all of the future repair expenses.

Fortunately, the Section 8 program offers a variety of resources for searching for HUD homes and finding the best fit for your family.

Learn About Finding the Best Home for Your Housing Needs

Participants in the Section 8 programs have a wide selection of housing options available to them, including low-income apartments, condominiums and single-family homes.

This is because participants in the Housing Choice Voucher Program are allowed to use their benefits at any housing unit that a landlord or homeowner agrees to rent or sell.

Moreover, these properties are required to meet specific housing standards set by local Public Housing Authorities (PHAs).

The Section 8 housing program is required to offer beneficiaries with safe, decent and sanitary housing at an affordable price.

What to Look for In a Section 8 Property

When you are browsing for the ideal housing option, you should begin by identifying which features are most important for you and your family.

For example, you may prefer a property that has access to public transportation or one that is near a public school.

Smaller families may be okay with an apartment, but if you have a family of four or more people you may want to find a single-family home.

Additionally, if you have individuals with disabilities or elderly members of your family, you may prefer a home that is only one story.

Another common factor that many Section 8 recipients consider when choosing a house is the commute to their job.

Often, Section 8 participants who work in the city will move into low-income apartments near their job so they can avoid the heavy traffic in the morning.

Living in the city also comes with a noisier environment with less privacy. Keep in mind that housing units in the city are typically more expensive than those located in the suburbs.

Depending on their housing needs, moving into the city may be the best option for Section 8 beneficiaries.

On the other hand, suburban homes offer numerous benefits as well. For example, homes are typically more affordable in the suburbs so Section 8 benefits can provide more for families in these areas.

Beneficiaries who prefer to live in a residential area that is quieter than a city, but do not want to maintain a property should consider a townhome.

Whatever your preference may be, it is important that you prioritize them based on needs and wants.

What to Look for When Inspecting a Potential Apartment or Home

When you are searching for a new home to rent using your Section 8 housing vouchers, it is important to perform a property inspection before you decide if you want to move in.

You should inspect the inside of the property as well as the surrounding areas around the building.

It can be problematic and costly to discover damage on a property after you have already decided to move in.

A quick inspection and overview of a property before signing a lease can save you future headaches and repair bills in the future. 

Some common checks to make when you first visit an apartment include looking at the front door handle to ensure that it has a deadbolt and pin lock in order to prevent a break in.

Additionally, you should inspect all of the emergency systems on the property such as fire alarms, smoke detectors, sprinklers, fire extinguishers and carbon-monoxide detectors.

You should also ask about any security measures that are installed or put in place on the property such as cameras or security guards.

After an initial inspection of the property, you will want to ensure that the apartment or house has all of the essential amenities that you will require and that they are all in good condition.

You will want to check all of the refrigerators, microwaves, stovetops and dishwashers are all in working order.

Additionally, you should check on all of the electricity, cooling and heating units to ensure that they are working efficiently because inefficient units can lead to costly utility bills. Some building amenities you should ask your landlord about include:

  • Laundry.
  • Parking.
  • Emergency services requests.
  • Pet walking areas.
  • Trash disposal.

Learn About HUD Housing Counseling Services

Home buyers that require additional assistance can take advantage of HUD’s Housing Counseling Program.

These counseling programs are available to home buyers by phone or in person at a local counseling agency.

Home seekers can use these counselors with help finding, comparing and negotiating home loans to finance your purchase.

These counselors can help you find property listings that will accept your Section 8 housing voucher.

A certified housing counselor will also provide you with helpful information about the following topics:

  • Fair and equal housing opportunities.
  • Homebuyer assistance programs.
  • Homeowner’s insurance.
  • Renters insurance.

Note: Housing counseling services are also offered to homeless individuals and homeowners at risk of foreclosure or eviction.