What Is House Hacking?


Mar 17, 2024By Sterner Homes LLC

"House Hacking" is owning a properity that you can both live in and rent out. 

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Renting an apartment can feel like throwing money into a bottomless pit. Every month, a hefty chunk of your paycheck disappears, leaving you with little to show for it. But what if there was a way to leverage your living situation and turn it into a wealth-building machine?

Enter house hacking – a real estate strategy that allows you to live in a property while using rental income to offset your housing costs, and potentially generate additional income.

Here's the gist: You buy a multi-unit property (think duplex, triplex, or even a house with a rentable basement apartment). You occupy one unit as your primary residence, while renting out the other unit(s) to generate income. Ideally, the rental income covers a significant portion, if not all, of your mortgage payment, property taxes, and insurance. This frees up money you can use for other things – like travel, hobbies, or that down payment on your next investment property!

Here are some reasons why house hacking is awesome:

Reduced Housing Costs: Living rent-free (or close to it) translates to significant savings. Imagine putting that extra cash towards your financial goals.
Early Entry into Real Estate: You don't need a massive down payment to start building wealth through real estate. House hacking allows you to enter the market sooner and gain valuable experience as a landlord.
Equity Building: As you make mortgage payments, you build equity in the property. This creates long-term wealth that can be tapped into later through refinancing or selling the property.
Forced Savings: The responsibility of managing a rental property instills financial discipline. You'll likely become more mindful of spending and focus on maintaining a healthy financial buffer.
Is House Hacking Right for You?

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House hacking isn't for everyone. It requires some responsibility and flexibility. Here are some things to consider:

Lifestyle: Living with roommates or close to tenants might not be ideal for everyone. Be prepared for some potential adjustments to your living situation.
Commitment: Being a landlord comes with responsibilities like maintenance and tenant management. Ensure you're comfortable with these aspects.
Local Regulations: Some municipalities have restrictions on short-term rentals or limitations on the number of unrelated occupants. Be sure to research local regulations before diving in.
Ready to Get Started?

If house hacking sounds like an exciting prospect, here are some initial steps:

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Research Your Market: Understand rental rates, property values, and potential risks in your target area.
Crunch the Numbers: Ensure the rental income covers your expenses and leaves some room for profit.
Find the Right Property: Look for properties with separate entrances and amenities that suit your needs and can be easily rented out.
Seek Professional Guidance: Consider consulting a real estate agent or local investors experienced in house hacking.
House hacking can be a powerful tool to jumpstart your financial journey. By strategically leveraging your living situation, you can save money, build wealth, and gain valuable real estate experience. So, ditch the rent trap and explore the possibilities of house hacking your way to financial freedom!