How to Live With No Mortgage

If you and your spouse are the carefree, bohemian type, your life plans probably don't involve staying in one place, working at the same jobs and paying a mortgage for 30 years. Even if you shun the idea of borrowing money to pay for a home, you'll still need a place to live. To live a mortgage-free lifestyle, you must be calculated about identifying opportunities that permit you to have the shelter and safety you need without paying an arm and a leg for it.

Save your earnings and pay for your home in cash. To start, put away as much of your salary as possible. When you reach your savings goal, identify and bid on foreclosed homes within your price range. If your savings fall short, and you must take on a loan to cover the difference, proceed with the sale only if the amount needed can be borrowed and paid off in one year.

Rent a home. Leasing a home provides a reliable and long-term solution to avoiding a mortgage. If you are committed to never taking on a mortgage, rent a small apartment when you first get hitched and rent a townhouse or single-family home as your family grows.

Seek employment that comes with free or low-cost housing. Some hospitality and private education institutions provide housing to employees. Property manager and caretaker jobs usually come with free housing. With healthcare licenses, you can seek employment as live-in caregivers for elderly and disabled clients. In such a case, look for employers who offer housing to couples.

Enter into exchange agreements with homeowners. Some elderly and disabled individuals seek roommates to provide everything from companionship to cooking in exchange for free rent. You and your spouse also might consider becoming house sitters, an arrangement that allows you to live in homes, rent-free, while the owners are away long term.


  • If you have a positive and respectful relationship with your parents, consider moving back in with them, space permitting. Your parents might appreciate having you and your spouse in close proximity as they get older. Knowing that you and your spouse want the house and enjoy living there also could put their minds at ease as they plan their estate.
  • If you have a plot of land or can acquire one cheaply, consider setting up a new or used mobile home. Save up your earnings to pay cash for improvements such a foundation and septic system.
  • Although less common, you might consider joining a housing cooperative. If you don't mind living in a shared community environment, you can live mortgage-free by contributing your earnings to a pool that pays for shared lodging.

About the Author

Maya Black has been covering business, food, travel, cultural topics and decorating since 1992. She has bachelor's degree in art and a master's degree in cultural studies from University of Texas, a culinary arts certificate and a real estate license. Her articles appear in magazines such as Virginia Living and Albemarle.