Hi everyone - would love some feedback / insight from those who have house hacked a SFH successfully before.
I'm looking to buy my first place (in Oakland, CA - Fruitvale specifically) and wanted to rent out some rooms in the place I'm looking at. It's walk / bike-able) to public transportation (Bay Area Rapid Transit). Very blue collar area, but not too bad in my opinion.
The place itself is pretty solid, but like mentioned in the description, it's not remodeled or shiny at all. Carpet in every room, mostly shades of brown for all interior, no double pane windows, etc.
This doesn't bother me at all, but will this affect:
- 1) My ability to get potential renters at all? (especially with covid in play)
- 2) If I do attract renters, will they all be of lower quality? I'm hoping for young professionals like myself to occupy the rooms, but I'm wondering if that's unrealistic.
Much appreciated -
Hi @Sean Oh , welcome to the BiggerPockets forums! In general what needs to be true of your property to gain advantage on the rental market always comes down to competition. There is an useful saying that "among the blind, the one eyed man is king." If everything on the rent-by-the-room scene in Fruitvale is white-on-white, quartz countertops on shaker style cabinets and redone-to-tha-9s bathrooms then that's your competition. If you are competitive then you'll compete. If not, you'll bat cleanup for the people who either can't/don't want to afford the other or don't qualify for the other.
Conversely, if your place is already much nicer (objectively . . . don't do that normal homeowner thing where everything in the home is the best ever bc it is your precious -- think LOTR's Schmeigal) then you'll find that not much is needed to gain the upper crust of tenants.
Let the market determine your moves :)
Look at photos of listings in your area for rooms for rent. There is nothing wrong with carpet. It won't wear as well as some other flooring. Take some photos of your place and look at them objectively. You often see things differently in photos than you do in real life. If your place is clean and in good condition, those are the two most important things. A fresh coat of paint can brighten things up.
Thanks so much for the replies Will and Theresa - makes a whole lot of sense and it’s definitely informing my decision making - Cheers.
What's been said above is all great advice. Know thy competition. Then meet or beat them. In Denver and Colorado Springs where we have a number of house hacking type clients, I'd say the condition and updates need to be at least a B. You don't have to be super modern, but you hopefully don't have wood paneling on the walls.
I'd also plug the importance of good photos. Take the time to get your place sparkling one time, stage it well and then pay for good photos. I like Virtuance (a Denver company with a national presence). It's $100 for 10 HD photos or $150 for 24 photos. They make your place look amazing. You will use these photos over and over again. Put a little money into them and I think it pays off in what you can ask for and beating out the cell-phone-camera competition.
I used to own a couple quads in Oakland (28th and MLK) and I can tell ya first hand, you can rent anything by the room. There's no shortage of demand.
Now, are the tenants you really want to be renting to? That's a different question.
All great advice above. Great photos always set you apart, especially if the place is in good condition.
I’d stage one room, including fresh paint and nice furniture, etc. Then use photos from that room to promotes others.
Also, make sure what you’re offering is what you’d be comfortable living in yourself. It sounds like it is, but always double check that before renting out.
Lastly, when thinking of the competition and getting great tenants ... think about where you’re advertising. If you’re near a hospital think of listings to travel nurses where you can get a slightly higher than average rent/room. Or by a university? Get listed on the school’s online classifies. Or, list as a long term rental on Airbnb.
Best of luck! And if I can be of any help don’t hesitate to let me know.