Buying a home can be a significant financial step – but what if you could get a house without paying for it? Although it may be difficult to believe, house hacking can turn your goal of living for free into reality. 

But how can you live for free in your own home? You’ll need to get creative with a house hacking strategy that fits into your dream of living for free. Let’s take a closer look at how you can live for free on your way to reaching your financial goals!

How to buy a house with no money 

When you are considering a real estate purchase, you might be approaching the situation without funds on hand. That means that you’ll need to get creative. Buying a house without any money is not impossible, but you will need to approach your home purchase with flexibility and creativity. 

Let’s take a look at some of your options. 

How do I buy an abandoned house?

As you explore your options for buying an affordable house, you may come across an abandoned house. It may be tempting to simply move in, but that would lead to an array of legal problems. Luckily, it is possible to buy an abandoned house outright for a rock bottom price. If you find an abandoned house that seems like an interesting possibility, then here’s how to process. 

  • Track down the owner. Although a property may be abandoned, you’ll still need to find the rightful owner. You can find out who owns the property by searching through public records. 
  • Inspect the property. Once you’ve found the owner, you can approach them with your intention to purchase the property. But before you move forward, make sure to have the home thoroughly inspected. As an abandoned house, you need to be extra vigilant while undergoing the due diligence process
  • Make an offer. After you have a better idea about the home’s condition, it is time to make an offer. Be prepared to negotiate with the owner when you make the offer. 

If you decide to move forward with the purchase of an abandoned house, then you should be prepared to make repairs. When a house sits without any occupants for an extended period of time, making the space inhabitable again may take some time and money.

Can I buy a house for $1?

It is possible to buy a house for $1. But you’ll need to have the owner agree to those terms. 

As the buyer, you have the opportunity to lowball the owner of an abandoned house with an offer of a single dollar. However, you may or may not be able to close the deal for $1. 

How to get a house for free

Can I buy a house with no money down?

If you don’t want to make a down payment on a home purchase, you have options. Here are some methods to securing a mortgage without putting any money down. 

No down payment mortgage options

Luckily, there are two different options for obtaining a house without any down payment obligations. Both of these options are government-sponsored programs that are designed to encourage and reward homeownership. 

The first loan program that doesn’t require a down payment is the VA loan. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs backs this loan. With that, you will need to meet the eligibility requirements of military service in order to qualify for the loan. 

If you qualify, you may not need to put down any funds to close on your home purchase. When you apply for a VA loan, you will work with a private lender but the federal government will insure the loan. That allows lenders to offer more flexible terms and no down payment options.

The second option is the USDA loan, which is backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program’s goal is to encourage homeownership in eligible rural areas that are defined by the USDA. Beyond the property’s location, you’ll need to meet certain household income requirements to qualify for a USDA loan. 

The USDA loan is a good option if you plan to live in a rural setting. But you’ll need to consider the availability of qualifying properties before moving forward. 

Although these options are not available to everyone, it could be a good option for you. Before you move forward with a no down payment loan, consider the other costs of the loan. You may be paying more in closing costs or interest payments over the course of the loan than you would save by avoiding an upfront down payment. Weigh your options carefully before moving forward. 

Low down payment mortgage options

Not everyone will be able to qualify for a mortgage with no down payment. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll need to put down the traditional 20%. Instead, you can consider low down payment options which are more widely available. 

The FHA loan is one option to consider for a low down payment mortgage. The Federal Housing Administration insures FHA loans, so the loan requirements are set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Depending on your financial situation, you may be able to put down just 3.5% on your home purchase. Beyond a low down payment, the FHA loan offers low closing costs and options for low credit borrowers. 

A final option for a low down payment mortgage is a conventional loan. Some lenders may only require a 3% down payment on your home purchase. Although you may need to have a better credit score to score this deal with a conventional loan, it is a possibility. 

As you seek out low down payment options, make sure to get quotes from multiple lenders. You may be able to save thousands over the lifetime of your loan by taking the time to shop around. 

How to get a house for free

How can I live in my house for free?

Securing a property with a minimal down payment is the first part of the process. Once you’ve moved in, you’ll need to start paying the mortgage unless you get creative. That’s where house hacking can help!

If you want to live for free, then you need to consider house hacking. House hacking could allow you to live in the property without paying the mortgage. Essentially, this lifestyle strategy will allow you to pay for the house without any money out of your pocket. 

So what is house hacking? Basically, you find a way to rent out the extra space on your property. For example, you could buy a single-family home and embark on a room rental style house hacking adventure. With that, you would rent out the spare rooms and have the goal of covering the mortgage with this income. 

But living with roommates is not the only option. You can also seek out properties that offer separate living spaces to rent out to tenants. A few options include small multi-family properties or homes that offer an income suite opportunity. 

You can learn more about this life-changing concept in our Ultimate Guide to house hacking. I also highly recommend checking out our house hacking podcast. You’ll hear from people that have taken the plunge into house hacking and find inspiration in their stories. 

The bottom line

It is possible to live for free, but you’ll need to be creative. Start by seeking out creative financing options to lower the upfront costs of your home purchase. If you take the time to shop around, you may be able to find the perfect financing opportunity for your situation. 

Once you’ve closed on the property, house hacking is the best option to continue living in your home for free. With tenants to cover your mortgage, you can enjoy the benefits of homeownership without the monthly cost. 

Don’t be afraid to get creative as you consider your house hacking opportunities. If you need some inspiration to get started, check out our house hacking case studies which highlight the journey of successful house hackers!