Can you house hack a townhome?

6 Replies

Hi all,

I am in the process of saving funds to purchase my first property and plan to house hack. Sorry if this is a dumb question but can you house hack a townhome (assuming not part of an HOA)? My first option would be to buy a duplex and there are options around the area I am in (metro Atlanta area) but just was wondering this since I've seen some decent priced townhomes as well. Thanks for any help!

I assume you mean buy both sides of the townhome? If so, then that would be the same principle as living in one side of the duplex and renting out the other side. I’m not sure what the technical differences are between a townhome and a duplex but as long as you’re living in and renting units, it’s househacking. I will say for local listings, usually when I see a townhome, it’s referring to buying one unit, and a listing for a duplex refers to buying the whole building (both sides).

I also don’t think having the HOA would make a difference, as long as the HOA allows renters. Some HOAs require owner occupancy or only permit a certain % of units to be rented. (My very limited personal experience is that HOAs are a pain, over priced, and overly restrictive so I’d prefer to avoid them. But whether you CAN rent units if there’s an HOA is a different question.)

@Raquel Doheny Thanks for the insight! I am not sure if I was reading some of the listings incorrectly on Zillow and Realtor, but it appeared they were listing both sides of the townhome together (i.e. 3 beds, 2.5 baths) so I would be purchasing the entire unit. I am still ultimately looking for a duplex since it would more than likely not have any HOAs to deal with. I have also heard they are a pain!

You can house hack a dog house if the dog is ok with Good luck with your first purchase!

Just make sure you clarify if it's truly a 2-unit property. There are some types of duplexes where two townhome/rowhomes are joined together, but they are actually 2 different properties.

Also, a HOA doesn't necessarily mean you can't househack. There are plenty of neighborhoods with HOAs where people are renting their properties or part of them. That's just something for you to look into during your research (aka "due diligence) on a possible deal.

Congrats on getting started! Just make sure that your excitement doesn't let you overpay for a property just for the sake of getting a property.

Thanks! @Nicole A. If going the townhome route, I would prefer to avoid an HOA if possible since it is an added expense to consider, but with cash flow as my focus, as long as I am not in the red each month and for the year it would be something I could deal with.

I will be sure to ensure the property is a 2-unit truly. I'm in the process of getting pre-qualified and will mention that to my lender and agent. 

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