So you want to buy a place of your own but can’t figure out how to pull together the necessary cash and financing? If you’re willing to think creatively, MSNMoney offers us seven offbeat options for buying your first home:

  1.  The Fixer Upgrade – When you can’t afford what you want, look for what you can afford and use it as a stepping stone.
  2. The Shared Load – If buying your own property is prohibitive, consider buying into a dwelling with shared ownership. There are several options here, with varying levels of complexity and commitment. One of the most common uses a legal form of ownership called “tenants in common.”
  3. The Friendly Option – If you don’t want the legal hassle of setting up a TIC, it’s possible to buy a property with a friend you trust, sharing the mortgage and the title. This form of ownership is called joint tenancy, and it’s the way most married couples hold property.
  4. The Instant Neighborhood – Cohousing has its origins in Europe and is practically like buying a neighborhood along with your house. Residents own one of a group of small homes clustered together and share ownership of the land.
  5. The Parental Plan – Saving enough for a down payment usually requires some kind of a sacrifice, so don’t rule out living with family.
  6. The No-Money-Down Hail Mary – It can be tough to save enough cash for a down payment, but in certain circumstances you can finance your way around it.
  7. The Susu Super-Saver – This simple saving strategy goes by different names in different communities, but the method is the same. Members of a “susu” contribute a fixed amount each week or month for a certain period (e.g. $200 a month for 10 months). At regular intervals, one member gets a specified payout in cash.  

Read the full story for examples, pros, and cons of each of these offbeat options 😉