What a good house hack deal looks like?

4 Replies

Hi Bigger Pockets Community!

I would really like some feedback on what realistic numbers look like for a duplex house hack, as I am struggling to find that unicorn property where everything fits perfectly and I don't want unrealistic expectations prevent me from ever pulling the trigger.

To set the stage, I have been looking for multi-family properties for me to house hack into in the Maryland area for a few months. I haven't found many properties that get me excited - most failing to connect due to the numbers or the incredibly tough tenant laws.

This past week I finally found a property that has me in the black after I do some improvements to it, but again its not that Brandon Turner style story of house hacking while making money. I am wondering are those stores of making money (ie. Positive Net Cashflow) on a residential house hack the exception verses what my goal should be - to get as close as possible to cash flow neutral and save money on paying for rent. My question to you all is: how profitable do you think a house hack should be before you consider it a good deal?

Below are the numbers for my most recent property I am looking at:

Its a duplex (two 3/1s) with a detached storage building (could be used as a mechanics garage or woodwork shop). We can convert the basement to an efficiency to get some more rent. 



Multifamily properties are incredibly rare in Maryland and throughout DC area and Northern Virginia. The low supply of them, combined with high demand make this one of the most competitive asset classes in an already competitive market.  When individuals move to the DMV area from other parts of the country it can be hard for them to understand that multis just dont exist here like they do in other areas of the country.  Expectations need to be adjusted for what this market offers.

I own several duplexes as rental property. I love them as I can spread my risk when it comes to vacancy.  I did not buy them as house hack. I do agree that are not easy to come by. Keep looking. 

@Mike Bonadies ...Cash flow properties in a house hack are tough due to the lower cap rate in the DC Metro.  We just have very high property values.  I have seen 4 units come available in DC where the rents would cover or almost cover the entire mortgage.  I agree with @Russell Brazil , these properties, when they hit the market, are very competitive.  We have lost out on a few because cash buyers will come in, buy with all cash, and then refi after the transaction.  Its probably going to be tough to be cash flow neutral with a duplex.

Your best hope might be a good basement unit, but you probably won't cover all your expenses with it

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