House Hacking in Austin (via Airbnb or Long Term Rental)

4 Replies | Austin, Texas

My wife and I are looking to find a property to house hack.  We currently live in the Great Hills area and would like to stay here but are willing to consider a move out of the area if we find a property that works.  We have two young boys who have yet to begin school but the oldest will start soon, so we'd prefer to stay in a good school district.   Just to give you a little background on us regarding real estate, we currently "own" our home (we have a mortgage so don't really own but are in the process) we have a rental property in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and would like to use the money we save house hacking to continue investing in real estate.  So if you are, or know anyone who has experience locating properties that would work for our scenario, please reach out and we can set up some time to discuss.  

I know a realtor in Austin who house hacked his way to financial freedom and has a house hacking class now. He's a great friend of mine.

Looks like you already live in a fairly nice neighborhood. 

You could look into buying a 2-4 unit property in a nice area so you don't downgrade your lifestyle too much - live in one and rent the other half or other 2-3 units. Obviously, 4 units is the most cost effective property type, but they are usually the more beat up variety than 2plxes. 

There is a pocket of duplexes off Far West on North Hill Dr in 78731 that's not too far from where you are now. There used to be some nice duplexes off Spicewood Springs off Cebery Drive also in 78731, but I recall some of those were being converted into A/B condos. Believe it or not, there are some 2- and 4 units properties in the heart of Westlake, in 78746.

Going in the opposite direction, north from Great Hills, there are some affordable 2 units on Argonne Forest in 78759 off Jollyville Rd & Research. There is a cluster of decent 4plexes on Schick Rd in 78729 and bunch of duplexes in that general area on Turle Rock Rd. 

I suggest you start by checking out properties in those areas that vary quite a bit. Then you'll pretty quickly get a sense of whether or not you're prepared to tolerate living in certain kinds of neighborhoods even though they might belong to a decent school and cheaper than others. Don't forget to drive their at a night time also.

In the early 90s, before there was a term "househacking" I bought a 4plex in Lamplight Village (Parmer / Metic area). Got a 3.5% down FHA loan and we lived free in one unit, while the other 3 were paying mortgage and maintenance expenses. At that point in time it was a fairly low end neighborhood. We only lasted there for 1.5 years and upgraded to a condo in NW Hills so kids could go to Hill Elementary.

We bought a lot of other properties since. But we kept the 4plex for years. With all 3bed/2bath units and separtely metered for all utilities it was the biggest cashflow money maker we ever had. 

Thanks Alex.  That's some really good information, I had no idea that there are some multi-family properties in Westlake, I'll have to take a look at those, but we were aware of the units in the 78759 area.  I appreciate the post, it seems like you've been doing this for a while and have plenty of knowledge about Austin.  I'll do some research with the information provided, and just want to thank you again for the post. 

@Danny Matthews , I will speak to my experience with Airbnb in Austin. First, I will start by familiarizing yourself with STR Austin code and HOA regulations since, they may have strict regulations. If it works, Airbnb can be a good option in Austin since there is always something happening. I've been a host for a year now and find it is more profitable than long term but also more time consuming so it just depends on your family's situation.

Good luck and keep us posted on your decision!