Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice

Meet the Investors: I Sold My Wife on House Hacking With a PowerPoint (& Soon We’ll Live for Free!) Featuring Joaquín Camarasa

Expertise: Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Real Estate News & Commentary, Real Estate Investing Basics
48 Articles Written
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What’s up, BiggerPockets? Alex Felice here. I’m going to introduce you to Joaquín, who is doing a house hack in a high cost of living, highly competitive market.

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With that, let’s meet him!

About the Investor: Joaquín Camarasa

Hello there. I’m Joaquín Camarasa. I’m originally from Spain. I left Spain back in 2011 due to the financial crisis. I lived in different countries around Europe because I had to look for a better future. The U.S. brought me the future I was looking for.

I came to San Francisco as an au pair. I got a sponsorship in Denver to be a teacher there, I met my wife two years ago in Colorado, and now we’re in Virginia. 

I decided to jump into real estate because I believe it’s something I can control. There are some moving pieces, but overall it’s something that I can manage on my own. I can scale it on my own. I can learn as much as I want on my own. 

About two years ago, I was driving with my wife trying to look something up, and all of a sudden I typed the keywords “real estate” and BiggerPockets came right up. Since then, I have not stopped.

I’ve listened to all the podcasts. I go to the forums often to learn about the different strategies. And it’s been very important for me to find them because it has helped me. Learning the strategies, learning the investing vocabulary, it’s been a journey and I feel that I’m still learning every day from the community. The partnerships you can get there, the networking, everything that BP has to offer, is something that everyone should explore. 

Finding the House Hack

Our current house hack is in Springfield, Virginia. My wife and I have been looking for the right opportunity to invest in the DMV area for the last five months. We finally found it. We just got the permits to start the renovation. 

We’re going to rent out the basement and live on the top floor, so basically a house hack. And then we have a garage addition that we are going to turn into a one-bedroom apartment.

I’m going to tell you how to do this. I came to this country with $1,000 in my pocket. If I did it, you can do it too. 

Related: Meet the Investors: House Hacking Deal by the Numbers (+ Video Tour)

Three years ago, I was in Denver and I decided to partner up with a friend and get into a house hack. That allowed me to save all my income so I could quickly scale up my money to get into another investment.

And that’s when I came through this area with my wife. And I decided to push my risk tolerance just a little bit more and do a house hack with renovations. 

Negotiating With Your Partner

My wife and I were not really on the same page at the beginning, in terms of the house we wanted to buy and the investing strategy we wanted to follow. It took some time to get on the same page and agree.

I had to do a whole PowerPoint, explain the numbers and how to make it happen. And I went over it with her. She saw that it had potential. We also presented it to her family. I had to go through all that to make this happen.

On my side, it was more important that the numbers work for us to live for free. And on her side, it was more about the looks and making sure that we didn’t have to share our space with other people.

I wanted to get the fixer-upper. She wanted to get something new. I didn’t mind sharing it with people, she minds. So we had to come to an agreement in the middle where both parties were okay with it, a win-win situation. And once we set that criteria, we were ready to jump in. 

Running the Numbers

It took us about four months to find the right deal. I studied the area for about four months waiting patiently. The moment it came out, I was here with the contractors within two or three hours. I saw that it had potential, that the numbers worked, and we put it under contract. 

When this property first came on the market it went for $500,000, but it was a multiple offer situation. It went all the way to $540,000. The guy that bought it lost his job, lost the financing, and the property came back in the market. I was here within three hours with the contractors.

I studied the property really fast, saw that was a good opportunity. And I got it for $510,000 with $10,000 salary subsidy. It’s important to say that this was at the peak of COVID-19. So a lot of people were scared back then and that’s when I jumped in and got it done. 

We put 5% down using a conventional loan. So basically we put $25,000 down. 

Related: Meet the Investors: How I Live for (Almost) Free by House Hacking With Kelly Marburger

First, we’re going to renovate the basement and we hope to get the three rooms in the basement to go up to $2,100 total in rent. Then we will renovate the garage, in the second phase. We’ll make it into a little studio and we hope to get $1,200 from that. And that will allow us to live for free, save money, and do it again. 

Tips for Other Investors

During this whole process, I’ve learned a bunch of lessons, but there are two or three that have been the main takeaways and I think they can be really helpful for you as well if you want to do something like this.

  1. Have a plan. It’s very important is to plan your life ahead. Know where you want to be in five or ten years. Write down your goals and go little by little until you achieve them.
  2. Know the right people. Network, network, network. Get to know the lenders. Get to know the contractors. Get to know other investors, get to know this guy Alex, and that’s also going to make a lot of the things that seem hard, a lot easier.
  3. Be prepared. It’s super important to be able to risk manage different situations that might happen. If there is something that may go wrong, you have to be prepared for that and have at least three plans of action to tackle that problem. Plan A, plan B, plan C. So if it does go wrong, you can be ready to tackle it right away.

Those are the big lessons that I learned. And let me know if I can help you in the future in any way. I’m always available to help others.

My name is Joaquín Camarasa here with my wife Amanda. BiggerPockets has changed our lives and it can change yours too.

Have you ever had to sell your partner on a real estate deal? How did it go?

Tell us how you got your partner onboard (or not) in the comments.

Alex has spent his career in sales and finance industries and now invests in rental real estate along with working in the underwriting department at a bank in Las Vegas. Alex is an expert in long-distance single family rental real estate, debt and leverage strategy, and financial analysis. He spends most of his free time teaching investors through writing and coaching to ensure their best possibility of success. Alex has been buying real estate for nearly three years and currently owns eight single family houses. He also helped fellow investors directly purchase over 20 properties in 2018. Alex’s writing can be found at BrokeIsAChoice.com, and more of his story can be heard on the BiggerPockets Podcast episode 301.
    Ashley Evans
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Really enjoyed this! Thank you for sharing.
    Erwin Groenendijk Property Manager from Barcelona, Catalonia
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Cool Joaquin! Great personality, great work.
    Joaquin Camarasa Real Estate Agent from Springfield VA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thanks Erwin!! Anyone out there looking to learn more about investing in Spain. Erwin is your guy!
    Miriam Baquero
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Wow Joaquin! I'm so happy for you! Congratulations! Nice energy & Hard work, here you have your results... I'm also from Spain and I discovered BiggerPockets just 2 months ago. I'm closing in this moment my first property in Cleveland, so I'm feeling just now the nervous, the happiness and the funny road like an amusement park! I will send you a private message to keep in touch. VAMOSSSS! Thanks Alex for your contribution to this great site. Wonderful.
    Joaquin Camarasa Real Estate Agent from Springfield VA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Hola Miriam! Send a message any time I would love to know more about your journey!
    Anita Ward
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thanks for sharing you journey so far. I plan to start my own REI journey this year and appreciate your 3 tips!!
    Ricardo Leon Rental Property Investor
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Awesome, thank you for sharing
    Joaquin Camarasa Real Estate Agent from Springfield VA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thanks for all your help and motivation Alex! You have really changed my life and I will be forever thankful!
    Matthew Joseph
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Awesome work! This is a very inspiring story.
    Andrew Thomas
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thank you for sharing your journey. I'm looking for my first REI now, so this was fitting and encouraging.