First Time House Hack: Advice

6 Replies

Greetings Bigger Pockets Community!

I'm a first-time homebuyer and starting my first house hack with a duplex here in the SF Bay Area.  In my building I'm inheriting a long-term tenant who is currently on a month-to-month lease and I'm looking for guidance on how to manage the relationship.  I've heard very different things.  Anything from "Don't tell them you are the owner of the building just the 'manager' " or "Set up processes to not require money to exchange hands every month".  I was hoping to learn from the experiences of others on how they've handled these situations to optimize success!

Thanks in advance,

- Jonathan

Welcome to the club sir!     In the first duplex that I house hacked I made it so the tenant had to pay electronically through erentpayment even though I lived 100 feet away from them. That way they would not be in the habit of "dropping money off in the mailbox". When I scaled I did NOT want to be in the position of driving back to the duplex to collect rent.   As for disclosure you do what's best. I have found that if you say you are NOT the owner, then they find out later you are it can get a little weird. I simply say that i have an ownership stake, but I still ultimately have to report to silent partners and they are the ones who call the shots :-)

It's so easy to find out you are the owner, I don't know why anyone tries to hide it. Even if you buy in an LLC, it takes like five seconds to find out who the principal is. You should be upfront about it, but also remember that it makes it awkward for them too. It goes both ways, in good ways, and bad. Will they knock on your door, yeah. But better than trying to call a company that won't come out. I would definitely still use Cozy or something like it for online rent pay to avoid a check collection at the laundry.

Hey @Brian Garlington  

Thanks for the feedback, good to see another investor in the Bay Area, I'm actually doing my first house hack in the Oakland area so there's an opportunity to connect!  

Question.  I've seen some less than favorable feedback about erentpayment as recently as 2-3 years ago. Is this a resource you still use today?  Or have you moved on to other resources recently?


Hey Jonathan,

My wife and I are working up towards our first rental property purchase, here in Oakland as well. As a matter of fact, we're hoping to purchase the 4 unit building we currently live in and house-hack. It's off market, but we're hoping to leverage our good relationship with the nonagenarian owners, and come to an agreement this year. I'd love to connect and talk shop anytime if you're interested. Always nice to have more connections with Bay Area rental investors, specifically here in Oakland.


Hey Brian,

I’m also a first-time homebuyer and (currently in escrow) will soon own a duplex, also in Oakland! I joined BP with the pro membership at the beginning of this year and found it helped me get started and I’d like to be frequenting here more actively again. In the meantime though, I’ve been focused on reading Landlording on Autopilot to get a good breadth of knowledge and it's been an enjoyable, easy read.

REI here in the bay is its own special beast, would love to connect as we're both navigating the learning curve.