House hacking problems

14 Replies

Have any of you experienced troubles with tenants while you were house hacking and how did that affect your day to day lifestyle if they were loud, dirty, etc? And have you tried to house hack only to realize you can’t find renters and are struggling to keep up with the payments associated with it?

@Colt Washa

It comes with the territory but vetting tenants is a key component of your business. Take this serious and you can help mitigate the risks of problematic tenants.

Also, if you’re struggling to find renters then your market research and due diligence process may have had some holes. You don’t want to wait until you are the owner of the property to discover such a problem.

@Colt Washa

Hey!  I've been house hacking since 2012 and haven't had any problems.  Tenant screening is key.  Finding tenants in 2017 is pretty easy if you're renting decent places as well.  PM me if you have specific questions.  You weren't really clear about whether you're house hacking right now or whether you're investigating the possibility.  I'm happy to help either way.  

never understood house hacking even 35 years ago when it was just called buying a duplex and living in one side lol

Never had an issue, as others said tenant screening is key.  If they get past that and seem decent but then turn into nightmare tenants while living there you can mitigate that by your lease.  Make sure you put things in there that you do not want them engaging in.  Worried about noise?  Make sure a clause either specifies quite hours, no loud music/parties, or that other residents are entitle to quite enjoyment of their unit and they cannot infringe upon that.  Don't want 100 vehicles parked all over?  Then specify that no more vehicles shall be parked on the premise than can fit in the garage/drive way/ street parking.  You may miss some items your first go around just make sure you update your lease as issues arise.  You can always make it a month to month lease so if you need to make a change to the lease you can give 30 days notice of the change instead of having  to wait a year.

As for struggling to make payments if you can't find renters, that questions suggests that you can't afford the property without renting the other side.  If I'm buying a duplex to live in one unit and rent the other side I'm going to make sure I can afford the payment without a resident.  I would not buy a home that I couldn't afford and then rent out a unit to "make the payment affordable".  If there are three or four units that I'm buying and living in one unit then there are likely residents in at least some of the units which will prove that it can be rented for a certain amount.

@Colt Washa when I house hacked previously I never did it with anyone I didn't know.  The screening is important but if you are living with me then I have to get along with you and vise versa.  Sharing common space is pretty personal and depending on the size of the home you might be seeing your "roommate" an awful lot.  Make sure that personality matches their ability to pay. 

I house hacked for 5 years and as said previously, screening tenants is key. But also being realistic that sharing a building with other people has it's challenges.

I worked nights and lived in the lower apartment. While living there the tenants bore two children. Their kitchen was right above my bedroom and sometimes the mom would gate her children in the kitchen with her and they would jump up at down for long periods of time, lol. 

I don't regret it at all and it was my first great financial move. 

@John W oddly I was going through some old posts and saw yours.

I house hacked for 7 years and was on the lower and dealt with noisy upper in an old house. Had to laugh when I saw you’re in Clarence.

I’m assuming we both lived in the city and move out to the burbs.

Definitely understand how noise of old Buffalo doubles can drive you nuts though

I don't recommend house hacking. It is not a long term strategy for building wealth.

I housed hacked in a three family home, living in the first floor and renting the two above. In the five years we lived there, we saved a lot of money but had to deal with sharing the space with many strangers. As a result of the small sacrifice, I can now buy and hire property managers to manage my properties. I did not call it house hacking back then, just simply lived for free and saved our salary which allowed us to buy another property. Go for it, you’ll gain a lot and not lose very much, maybe just a little sleep which you’ll make up later.

@Anthony Dooley how is house hacking not a long term strategy for building wealth?

@Sung Park You will be hard pressed to find a wealthy real estate investor who is house hacking. It is a beginner strategy that you would only do for as long as you had to. Living next door to your tenants is not ideal for most people.

@Anthony Dooley

The original poster is a beginner.

-You’re saving money on mortgage and gaining credit.

-Getting experience about mortgages.

-People in the business are getting to know you.

-You learn how to deal with tenants.

If someone is living at a rent free/low rent housing and can save up easier, why can’t any stage investor do it to gain wealth?

@Dustin Chase I agree with you on all of your points. It does not change the fact that house hacking is a beginner strategy and it isn't a lifestyle most people will do for a long period of time. Living "rent free" will not make you rich.  The house hacking strategy is not used by people can invest more traditionally. Another strategy would be to just live with your parents for free. The math is the same except you have no mortgage. Save up some money, find a great deal, buy it, and manage it well would be my advice.

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community

Basic membership is free, forever.

By signing up, you indicate that you agree to the BiggerPockets Terms & Conditions.