3 Ways to Live Affordably in Expensive American Cities America’s population is becoming increasingly urbanized, and those trends are projected to continue faster than urban housing can be developed at an affordable rate. As a result, if you want to stake your claim in some of America’s most desirable and most expensive areas, you’re going to need some inside help. That’s where we come in.

1. Get there First, especially if you don’t know the Area Well

That seems a bit backward, but let us explain.

Many bad deals are made by people who don’t thoroughly look over properties and neighborhoods. Sure, there are expert advisors, but they can’t possibly know exactly what feels good and what feels bad on an instinctual level. Only you know that. So you’ll want to get there first, before you make any long-term (or even mid-term) decisions about your next residence.

What are the best ways to get there first? We’re a huge fan of Airbnb, which can give you not only an affordable short-term rental option that works for you, but also can potentially give you the benefit of a local tour guide and neighborhood insights. Once you’re in town and renting a room, they have no reason to lie to you when it comes to neighborhood advice, and that’s a huge benefit.

2. Get a Sales Agent who is a proven Expert in the Areas you Want to Live

Most real estate listings and publicized leasing rates are not the best prices on the market (which is why everyone has access to rates published online). True experts will also be insiders able to jump on a great deal within a moment’s notice, because they understand your needs and what a good deal looks like in that neighborhood.

3 Ways To Live Affordably In Expensive American Cities

Whether you’ve got a neighborhood specialist in New York or New Delhi, this advice applies universally.

3. If you’re Renting, consider Roommates

And if you’re buying, consider a property that has an in-law quarters or a separate room that could be rented out. Despite the many horror stories you’ve heard from your friends, most roommates are actually very easy to get along with.

When it comes to screening potential roommates, you can check their social media profiles to get an inside look at who they appear to be. That will help to calm the nerves involved with wondering whether they’re actually the type of person they say they are.