House Hacking in Baltimore

12 Replies | Baltimore, Maryland

Hello Everyone! 

I am new to Bigger Pockets but am very interested and excited to begin my real estate journey. I would like to get started by doing a house hack in Baltimore City. I currently rent in Baltimore City and commute to the County for work. Ideally, I would like to purchase a multi unit property but I am not opposed to the idea of a single family home and renting out the additional bedrooms. 

I was wondering if anyone had any advice, insight, or suggestions they would like to share on house hacking in Baltimore? 

Thank you!


Hi @Joshua Bond

I am in a similar position that you are and am deciding how I want to get started.  If you can get a duplex that the numbers work that is a great way to get started.  However, I am also considering a live in flip.  I have the skills and the resources to do the work myself which will help save money, but I don't have the capital to purchase a duplex in my area.  Prices are extremely high and rents are the best in my area, so the numbers don't work right now.  There are several houses that need to be fixed up and if things go well I can use the profit (if things go well) to be my down payment on a rental property.  So the live in flip would kind of act like a spring board to get me where I want to be.  I would definitely suggest @Scott Trench 's book set for life if you haven't read it yet.

Hello! Welcome to BiggerPockets and thank you to @Jared Baker for the plug!

My brother actually lives in Baltimore and is currently house-hacking, perhaps to be looking for his second property shortly. He is a legend, and has done well on his first purchase in Canton. So, I think it can definitely still be done. 

Hey Josh - recognized the name from back in school. I think the path of renting out additional rooms to roommates would be a good option. Also, if you bought something that needed a bit of work, you could use their rent to fund updates over a year or two to help increase value. I bought early and had a roommate paying almost the full mortgage for 2+ years and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made so far.

Let me know if you want to discuss more or need any help.

@Joshua Bond I think you absolutely have the right idea!  I know also if you are able to work it out where you can find a fixer upper, you can do a 203K loan'; where you can get the reno wrapped up into your loan.  I think you would be best off buying something in Fed, Fells, Canton, Upper Fells, and Patterson, or Hampden where you have a good demographic that would suit your strategy. 

If you are a first time home buyer take advantage of the free money that Maryland will give you toward closing costs or some programs give you toward down payment.  You have soo many advantages getting into something owner user without having to come up with alot of your own money.  I was looking a property about 3 months ago Fell/upper fells and the one next door was just purchased, 2 bed and the guy said he just found someone to rent his other bedroom.   I am bullish on Baltimore and think you are getting in at a great time!  

To echo off some of the others in this thread, I did a live in flip and utilized the BRRRR strategy to finance another home I just purchased. I live in Highlandtown just above Canton which has seen some incredible growth but there are also some deals to be found. Baltimore also provides a large pool of potential renters if you want to house hack a single family residence. There are always plenty of people looking for one year leases and also you can market to some of the health care professionals supplying the large network of hospitals in Baltimore. Those renters are young professionals (residents, travel nurses), that have good credit and will rent a room at a premium if you have trouble finding someone wanting a one year lease.

Welcome @Joshua Bond

       I started with house hacking a multi family property in Baltimore City. I currently occupy the downstairs (1BR 1BA) and rent the upstairs (3BR-2BA). Fortunately, this pays my entire mortgage. If I was going to occupy a home and rent out individual bedrooms, I would only do it in certain neighborhoods (that's just me). If you were to run numbers on homes in Canton, and Brewers Hill, it could still make sense on certain properties even with the rising prices. 

Good Luck,


@Joshua Bond I did exactly what you are hoping to do in Baltimore City as well. I wanted to live in Federal Hill/Riverside and couldn't find any multi-families that fit what I was looking for so I got a 2-bedroom single family. I house hacked it for 2 years and recently moved out (and rented the entire place). 

As a house hack, it was amazing. I didn't want to live by myself anyway so it was nice to have the additional income coming in. As a rental it is doing fine, but not great. After all expenses are considered it cash flows < $100/month (and this was with 20% down and a 3.5% mortgage). 

With that being said, most here on BP will tell you that it is tough to cash flow in Federal Hill. To compound that, I picked a house that I really enjoyed living in rather than picking a house for potential rental income. I am not saying that is a mistake, but it is something that you should consider when looking around. Looking around at the homes in Federal Hill today, I do believe that had a picked a house on rental potential I could have $500-600/month cash flow. 

I hope that helps!

@James A. , Does it appear to be numerous opportunities in these areas you named?(Fed,Fells,Canton,Upper Fells, Patterson, Hampden). Are there any homes that the basement could possibly be converted into a unit?  I am bullish on Baltimore as well and hope to get something soon in a nice area. I heard Hampden is up and coming(best bang for the buck)

@Rob S. I think in this type of market, opportunities come with a little more digging and creativity.  I wouldn't say numerous if you are looking on the mls.  But i think you absolutely have the right idea by thinking out of the box, bc row houses in Baltimore do have walk out basements and you can use that as an extra bedroom or make it look nice and air bnb it. As matter of fact I had mentioned in another post, i completed a chap renovation that has a walk out basement, I put in a full bath in the basement and it could easily be rented.  I like Hampden alot because younger families who still want the city amenities but don't want to be in the city are moving there.  But you do have to be careful not to overpay if you are looking to move out in the future and have it cash flow well.  I know the person who bought the house next to my rehab in Upper fells purchased it for $148K and supposedly upper fells gets strong rents, it was a 3 bed 2 bath and they refi it for $273k.  Hope you gave you some helpful info.

@James A. Yes thanks.  How'd you finance your rehab? Through 203k, or hard money creative financing? That $273 refi was strong, I hope to be as fortunate.  Contractors I hear are hard to come by, I suppose home depot and lowes can add bathrooms.