House Hacking Nightmares

6 Replies

I recently graduated from college and was in a hurry to make some money. The past seven months have been a nightmare. I"m really thankful for the podcast and this website because I have learned from my mistakes. The past seven months have been a revolving door of nightmare tenants and roommates. I blame myself entirely. I didn't screen properly, I went off mostly how I felt about people. 

Now I'm ready to rent a room in my house again, as well as my studio. This time I want to do it right. In the past I didn't treat house hacking as a business, because I just saw it as getting roommates. So I guess I'll just start with the room for rent questions. If your renting a room month-to-month for $600, what seems like a reasonable deposit? Also what websites are people using? I don't live in a major metro area so I've just been using craigslist. I"m starting to think it might not be the best option for house hacking.

Also I currently have two bedrooms and one studio, and was contemplating air b and b, instead of full-time tenants. What have peoples experiences been with that? I live in such a small town that I don't know if it would bring in much income. Maybe during the summer months because I'm not far from a racetrack and a casino. But on the other hand they are building hotels nearby, so that might be a good indication that people are staying in my little town. If for nothing else on their way to Seattle or Portland, because we are located right off of the freeway. 

If you'll have good advice on how not too have nightmare roommates and tenants, I'd be happy to hear about it. Also do you need a formal eviction process to get rid of a roommate? 



Also, I'd like to add, that it's been such a stressful year trying to get people off of my property that I'd pretty much given up on the idea, until I listened to the BP's podcast the other day on househacking, and it got me excited to be a landlord again. 

If you charge $600 rent, charge $600 deposit.

They're not your roommate, they are your tenant. So eviction through the courts is a must.  Both you and them must understand to them its home, but it's your business. Don't ever forget it's a business.

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@Tierra Petersen you can probably Airbnb the studio and do a roommate for second bedroom. To me, finding a good roommate is more important than losing a month rent. Always screen heavily, ask questions during the showing/interview. If something seems off, trust your gut. Remember, the showing is just as much for your potential tenant as it is for you - a chance to observe this person.

I have had some subpar roommates (I've had to ask one person to leave and he graciously did and I've had one just skip out, never to be heard from again), but those were all learning experiences to me. I now have the 3 best roommates I've had so far and that's due to timing and learning to screen my tenants well.

I advertise on Craiglist, my Alma mater's online forum (I live near where I went to college), Zillow, and nextdoor. I get about 70% of roommates from Craiglist, 25% from college forum, and 5% from Zillow.

@Tierra Petersen if you are living with these people, you are allowed to be picky (personally and legally). Choose people who you don't mind bumping into in the kitchen. I'm not friends with my roommates (I do my own thing, they do theirs), but we are all friendly and that's all I really want.

Find out how much deposit you can charge based on local laws.  Is it 50% or 100% of the rent?  As for advertizing, it varies by city.  Find out which ones are popular where you are.

Remember while you are sharing your house with them, they aren't necessarily going to be your friends.  Make sure the rules/expectations are clear...and don't be afraid to enforce them.