I bought a 2 flat with legal garden unit back in April 2018. I've lived in and fixed up the basement for the last year while renting the top two units. I am a few days from moving to the top floor where I intend to rehab a few things like the kitchen, bathroom, possibly new furnace, water tank (might go tankless even). I have a renter lined up for the garden, the 1st floor says she never wants to move again (she is also an excellent tenant) and I think I'll bump up the rent on the top floor once I move out. Another thing to note is that I've just refi'd out of my 3.5% down FHA into a conventional loan and the building appraised much higher than my initial purchase to give me 20% equity and I am in the process of closing a HELOC on that equity to make a lot of repairs to the building exterior including the garage.

I would like to move out once my rehab work is done around April/May 2020 and when the better renters are in the market. I don't want to live on the top floor because I don't need to live in a 3bd apt. I feel like my options are to find another house hack, or rent. Finding a deal to house hack would be ideal for the sake of progression but I am all but fully leveraged with this HELOC. My current plan is to aggressively pay off the HELOC before the 5 year draw period is up and take a 2nd draw before the 10 year payback period kicks in. I'll pay interest only for the first year while I live here, and once fully rented contribute heavily to principal.

So I could rent a place around here for ~$900 that I would be fine with, but I don't want to overlook opportunity. I hope providing some numbers here will help anyone give a different idea.


Rental Income: $3,500/mo
Mortgage: $1,553/mo
Utilities: $100/mo
HELOC: $49,800 - (Year 1: interest only, $270/mo)(Year 2: $1400/mo)
Cashflow: (Year 1: $1,595/mo)(Year 2-: $465)(Year of HELOC debt free: $1,865)

My paycheck take home is just under $2k and I have about $25k cash reserves.

Bottom line is I think I might have to rent for a year or more while I pay down the HELOC debt and free up equity. Any ideas or opinions? Also this is West Humboldt Park, Chicago, thinking of renting closer to Logan Square.