I'm a male in my late 20s and have been living at a relative's house for too long! She is rarely present at the house and counts on the money I've been paying her in rent, which is less than I would have to pay elsewhere, so it's worked out to be a good arrangement for a while, but I'm more than ready for a change, and to really be "on my own" but I'm feeling overwhelmed by the number of options and stressed and confused about whether I would be able to pay for any decent ones.
I'm single and in a smallish city/metro area (let's call it 100,000 in the area I'm looking at) with a higher than average cost of living and am single and not making a lot of money (after I get a slight raise at work around the time I'm looking to move I'll be making just enough that I won't qualify for low-income housing ). I don't think any of my single friends are looking to move to a new place in the near future. My sister was able to get into a decent apartment complex and move in with a friend and there are some pretty nice ones around that I could probably afford if I could split the rent with someone, but no way could I afford even a one bedroom apartment (if available) on my own.
I've tried looking on Craigslist and various realtor sites. Most of the "roommate" situations advertised on Craigslist that are in my price range are for renting one bedroom in what is otherwise someone else's big house and split among several different people. I don't think I'd feel comfortable or happy in that type of situation. I'd also really like to get a cat and most of those arrangements either don't allow pets at all or aren't accepting any new pets because there are already pets in the household. I wouldn't mind a roommate though (as long as we met beforehand and determined that we would be compatible, and that determination turned out to be correct ).
I'm not ready for a really big commitment, since I'm still trying to hold onto some hope that I won't be single forever (a relationship would certainly be nice for many reasons, including having another income to factor into the equation), so I probably shouldn't be looking at buying at this point. I also have no idea how I could possibly save for a down payment. I'm not a big spender and have some decent money in the bank but nowhere even close to what I'd need for a 20% or even 10% down payment on a decent place. (There are some really cheap mobile homes though where I conceivably could afford that much now or in the near future, but that's about all. Almost anything other than a mobile home is at least 3 times that price.)
Does anyone have any advice for a single person looking for a place to live? This real world thing is kind of overhwelming.