Help analayzing my house hack deal!

24 Replies

Hi everyone!

After a lot of learning & reading I've made my first offer on a 4 family building in Brooklyn, here are the numbers:

Price: 1.28M (FHA 3.5% downpayment = 44.8k, closing costs = 32k -> total money down: 76.8k). Very little rehab needed, around 5k from what I can tell. New roof and water heater.

Mortgage: 5042 (P&I) + 1100 (FHA insurance) = 6142

Operating Expenses: Property Taxes (10,390) + Water/sewer (1442) + Gas/electric (3253) + Insurance (3803) = 18,888/year = 1574/month

Total Expenses: 6142 (Mortgage) + 1574 (Operating Expenses) = 7716

Rents are currently (month-to-month tenants, presumably because of Covid):

2/1 (1800) + 2/1 (1800) + 2/1 (1750) + 1/1 (1600) = 6950 total rent

However, considering the location (Brooklyn) + the fact that each unit has parking, rents should actually be:

2/1 (2400) + 2/1 (2400) + 2/1 (2400) + 1/1 (1800) = 9000 total rent

So, monthly:

Rent (9000) - Total Expenses (7716) = 1284 cash flow, this is for the case that I am not living there. While I am living there I would live in one of the 2/1s and bring in a roommate to pay 1200, so rent would be (2400+2400+1200+1800) = 7800. So cash flow is 7800 - 7716 = $84 per month, so I basically break even.



Of course, I did not account for vacancies and maintenance. But even so, on a monthly basis my housing cost would be < $500 while I'm building equity in a 1.28M property. And, once I refinance at 15% or 20% equity, I can get rid of the FHA insurance, right? Doing so would increase my cash flow by 1.1k a month.

Other potential sources of income: tenants currently go to a laundromat near the building. I could put in a coin-operated laundry machine in the basement and charge 2.50 for wash and 1.50-2.50 for dry, doing so would make a few thousand a year. Obviously not a make or break thing though.

My main concern is raising the rent up to the market rate. The tenants have been there for a long time, so that might get pushback, and I'm concerned about getting market rate rents during Covid. Is this a valid concern?


Would really appreciate any insight here as this would be my first deal ever. Thanks!

@Ben Cohen have you thought about looking at a conventional loan with 5% down? That should drop your closing costs by a fair amount. Starting calling around and see if anyone is doing "jumbo" mortgages with 5% down, conventional financing. FHA is a great tool, though only if you REALLY need it. Your closing costs might go down with a conventional mortgage.

A new water heater in greater NYC is going to cost you $1000.  That leaves you with 4k for a roof.  Is the roof small?  4k generally doesn't get too many roofs done unless you are doing the work yourself.  I'd budget at least 9k.

You need to account for both vacancy, repairs and Cap Ex(that roof again) to make these numbers make sense long term. 

Vacancy in NYC should be less than 5%.  

Repairs and operations accounts for the small fixes and ongoing expenses like snow removal.  Plowing in NYC is not cheap.  Nor is the labor to shovel out 4 parking spots each time it snows.

Cap Ex is the big expense you are missing.  Remember that over the next 30 years you are going to need:

  • At least one more roof (10-12k)
  • 2 Water Heaters (I assume this based on the fact that you pay a large gas bill) This is 8 water heaters if they are separate
  • 4 parking spots and a driveway repaved
  • At least 1 new furnace (again, assuming there is only 1 for the whole building)
  • 8 Stoves/Ovens
  • 8 Dishwashers?
  • 8 Refrigerators

Add the costs of all that up and divide by 360.  That'll give you the amount you want to save each month to make these large scale replacements.

    Originally posted by @Aaron Montague :

    @Ben Cohen have you thought about looking at a conventional loan with 5% down? That should drop your closing costs by a fair amount. Starting calling around and see if anyone is doing "jumbo" mortgages with 5% down, conventional financing. FHA is a great tool, though only if you REALLY need it. Your closing costs might go down with a conventional mortgage.

    A new water heater in greater NYC is going to cost you $1000.  That leaves you with 4k for a roof.  Is the roof small?  4k generally doesn't get too many roofs done unless you are doing the work yourself.  I'd budget at least 9k.

    You need to account for both vacancy, repairs and Cap Ex(that roof again) to make these numbers make sense long term. 

    Vacancy in NYC should be less than 5%.  

    Repairs and operations accounts for the small fixes and ongoing expenses like snow removal.  Plowing in NYC is not cheap.  Nor is the labor to shovel out 4 parking spots each time it snows.

    Cap Ex is the big expense you are missing.  Remember that over the next 30 years you are going to need:

    • At least one more roof (10-12k)
    • 2 Water Heaters (I assume this based on the fact that you pay a large gas bill) This is 8 water heaters if they are separate
    • 4 parking spots and a driveway repaved
    • At least 1 new furnace (again, assuming there is only 1 for the whole building)
    • 8 Stoves/Ovens
    • 8 Dishwashers?
    • 8 Refrigerators

    Add the costs of all that up and divide by 360.  That'll give you the amount you want to save each month to make these large scale replacements.


      Hey Aaron, thanks for your response and insight!

      You’re right, I did not account for cap ex.

      There are 4 units, none of which have dishwashers. But yes, 4 fridges and 4 stoves.

      The roof was replaced 2 years ago and is the kind that you can walk on (there is a staircase to the roof from the 2nd floor). It is about 1600 square feet.

      I think there is 1 water heater, but there are 4 meters, one for each apartment.

      So rough numbers, a little higher than what I found online just to be conservative 

      • Roof: 15k 
      • Fridges: 4x 1000 = 4000
      • Stoves: 4x 500 = 2000
      • Water heater: 600
      • Furnace: 1500
      • Paving driveway: 6000

      Total: 29k

      Monthly total over 30 years: $81

      Does that sound right? It seems sort of low, am I missing something here? Do I need to include calculations of a bathroom/kitchen remodel, or like if the shower stops working?

      Good point about show shoveling and landscaping. How much do those run generally? Is it possible for one of the tenants to shovel the snow in exchange for lower rent?

      Do you think I will have a hard time increasing the rent with the current tenants?

      Thanks!

      @Ben Cohen

      For a place this large I would budget at least $250/month.  I recommend you do some in depth research on the exact items you'll need to replace over the next 30 years.  Now if you don't plan on owning it that long, change your math :)

      Your furnace number is WAY off :) Minimally I would guess that should be 7k in NYC.  We generally pay 5500-6000 for a brand new oil furnace up here in New England.  A basic water heater for a 3 bed, 2 bath home runs us 8-900.  You are going to need a larger one which will be more expensive at baseline.  Plus you need to remember there is a huge labor cost involved with all of these plumbing items.

      If you put away at least $250/month you'll be happy when you need the money.  And if you have a nice pile in the account when you sell the place, all the better!

      Originally posted by @Scott Wolf :

      @Ben Cohen are the 'market rents' current with covid, because the rental market in NYC has dropped precipitously. 

      The rents are currently 1600 for a 1/1 and 1750/1800/1800 for 2/1s. These are large apartments with medium size kitchens and parking spots, which the tenants are currently not paying for. The rent on its own should be closer to 2200-2250 in normal times, plus 150 or so for the parking spot use. Is it too ambitious to increase rent for current tenants / find new tenants from 1600 -> 1800 for the 1/1 and 1800 -> 2400 for the 2/1? I know Covid has reduced rent prices but this just seems way too low, even for Covid.

      I'm wondering if maybe renting by the room would be a good way to increase rents here. What do you think?

      Originally posted by @Aaron Montague :

      @Ben Cohen

      For a place this large I would budget at least $250/month.  I recommend you do some in depth research on the exact items you'll need to replace over the next 30 years.  Now if you don't plan on owning it that long, change your math :)

      Your furnace number is WAY off :) Minimally I would guess that should be 7k in NYC.  We generally pay 5500-6000 for a brand new oil furnace up here in New England.  A basic water heater for a 3 bed, 2 bath home runs us 8-900.  You are going to need a larger one which will be more expensive at baseline.  Plus you need to remember there is a huge labor cost involved with all of these plumbing items.

      If you put away at least $250/month you'll be happy when you need the money.  And if you have a nice pile in the account when you sell the place, all the better!

      Thanks for the reality check :)

      Do these seem like more appropriate numbers?:

      - Roof = 12k (roof lasts 20 years, so 12k/240 months = 50/month)

      - Fridges: 4x1000 = 4k (fridge lasts 12 years, so 4k/144 months = 27/month)

      - Stoves: 4x1000 = 4k (stove lasts 15 years, so 4k/180 months =  22/month)

      - Water heater = 4k (water heater lasts 10 years, so 4k/120 months = 33/month)

      - Furnace = 12k (furnace lasts 15 years, so 12k/180 months = 67/month

      - Driveway paving: 4k (driveway lasts 12 years, so 4k/144 months = 28/month)

      Total: 50+27+22+33+67+28 = 227/month, so right around what you said! I can allocate 250/month to that then.

      So therefore my overall numbers are:

      Operating expenses + mortgage + cap ex = 1574 (opex) + 6142 (mortgage) + 250 (capex) = 7966 (Before refinancing out of fFHA)

      After refinancing out of FHA, this number goes down by 1100 to be 6866.

      Rents are currently 6950, but are below market rate. If I were to not raise rent, I'd be losing around 2k a month while living there while still on FHA. If I can raise rent to market value of ~9k, I break even while living there and cash flow 1k when leaving.

      Question: Where would I factor in things like: touch ups in between tenants, flooring, plumbing, remodeling a bathroom/kitchen if I want to raise the rents between tenants?

      Does this all check out? (I hope!!)

      @Ben Cohen

      Now these numbers are starting to look like a rental property :)

      That, and I realized your method of calculating Cap Ex is MUCH simpler than the one I've been using for 15 years, thanks for that!

      Vacancy - Did you have this in there somewhere?

      Remember this is a house hack.  So the goal is to lower your monthly payment in the near term.  If you are currently living for free, this probably isn't the world's greatest choice.  If you are paying 2k in rent now, this is a bit of a loser until you can bring these rents up as you are going to be out 80k and have not dropped your monthly payment at all.  Once the rents start going up you are going to see the benefits of the purchase.

      To your direct questions:

      How much do those(shoveling) run generally? Is it possible for one of the tenants to shovel the snow in exchange for lower rent?
      It depends on how much it snows.  We pay between $20 and $50 for a plow depending on the size of our driveways. You can certainly trade rent for shoveling though you are going to have REALLY unhappy tenants if their cars are still snowed in, now matter the reason.  Essentially you need to make sure it gets done.

       Question: Where would I factor in things like: touch ups in between tenants, flooring, plumbing, remodeling a bathroom/kitchen if I want to raise the rents between tenants?

      In my mind a remodel is Cap Ex, touch up is a repair.  The exact definition is less important than having enough money around to do the task when necessary.  If you foresee 4 new bathrooms in the next 5 years, start putting aside money now.  Same with the kitchens.  Paint is always helpful for getting places rented though it generally does not need to be done every year.

      Your loan: Have you shopped around to see if anyone will give you this loan with 5% down on a conventional mortgage? I did verify that an FHA loan actually goes this high in Kings Country, NY: $1,472,550 :) Besides saving you the FHA fee of $1000+ per month I think you can actually put slightly less down.

      5% of your purchase price is 64k.  Add another 8k, though I'm not sure why it would be that much, and we are only at 72k for cash out at closing.  I think Bank of America has a 5% jumbo loan, maybe :)

      Food for thought.

      Hi Ben,

      Congrats! Sounds like a good deal. Our market is tough to crack so this is a good way to make it work - yours is similar to my house hack in Bed-Stuy. What neighborhood is it in?

      Regarding the roof, sounds like they did a bad job fixing it up two years ago. The guys at Premier Roofing did a great job on mine for $4k and they’re a legitimate business - I recommend calling them. These rubber roofs can be pretty cheap.

      Aaron is giving good advice. Your calculation for capex seems fair (furnace is low, more like $5k+) but as you said, I’d assume there will be some additional expense. You could treat it as miscellaneous or a once over for each bathroom at $5k each. 

      Raising rents may be tough for the time being, but if you have faith in the market they will come back and by spring you should be able find tenants for slightly higher rents. It's not uncommon to make tenants shovel their own spot- it's such a rare amenity here that people won't mind or expect it, but then there may be an issue of which tenant is responsible for what shoveling.

      Keep in mind, the numbers in Brooklyn are often slimmer than elsewhere, And that's for a reason. You have abnormal amounts of appreciation and rent increases.

      Good luck on this! 

      Andrew

      Originally posted by @Aaron Montague :

      @Ben Cohen

      Now these numbers are starting to look like a rental property :)

      That, and I realized your method of calculating Cap Ex is MUCH simpler than the one I've been using for 15 years, thanks for that!

      Vacancy - Did you have this in there somewhere?

      Remember this is a house hack.  So the goal is to lower your monthly payment in the near term.  If you are currently living for free, this probably isn't the world's greatest choice.  If you are paying 2k in rent now, this is a bit of a loser until you can bring these rents up as you are going to be out 80k and have not dropped your monthly payment at all.  Once the rents start going up you are going to see the benefits of the purchase.

      To your direct questions:

      How much do those(shoveling) run generally? Is it possible for one of the tenants to shovel the snow in exchange for lower rent?
      It depends on how much it snows.  We pay between $20 and $50 for a plow depending on the size of our driveways. You can certainly trade rent for shoveling though you are going to have REALLY unhappy tenants if their cars are still snowed in, now matter the reason.  Essentially you need to make sure it gets done.

       Question: Where would I factor in things like: touch ups in between tenants, flooring, plumbing, remodeling a bathroom/kitchen if I want to raise the rents between tenants?

      In my mind a remodel is Cap Ex, touch up is a repair.  The exact definition is less important than having enough money around to do the task when necessary.  If you foresee 4 new bathrooms in the next 5 years, start putting aside money now.  Same with the kitchens.  Paint is always helpful for getting places rented though it generally does not need to be done every year.

      Your loan: Have you shopped around to see if anyone will give you this loan with 5% down on a conventional mortgage? I did verify that an FHA loan actually goes this high in Kings Country, NY: $1,472,550 :) Besides saving you the FHA fee of $1000+ per month I think you can actually put slightly less down.

      5% of your purchase price is 64k.  Add another 8k, though I'm not sure why it would be that much, and we are only at 72k for cash out at closing.  I think Bank of America has a 5% jumbo loan, maybe :)

      Food for thought.

      I'm glad to hear my CapEx calculation is helpful!

      I've been told that vacancy rates in NY are around 5%, so I guess I should just deduct 5% from my monthly cash flow for that.

      My rent is currently 1400 a month, so if I can break even (which I would once rents go up to market rate) I'd be saving 1400 a month, so after around 3-4 years my initial downpayment + closing costs would be returned. At the point that I cash flow, I'd be cash flowing around 1k a month, which is 2400 more than I am currently "making" off of renting.

      Another thing is that the offer I gave is significantly lower than the value of the house, close to 1.4M or 1.425M. Would that be helpful in allowing me to refinance to a conventional loan more quickly? Is this correct: I'd be putting down 44.8k, then there would be an automatic "appreciation" (not sure what the term here is) of 1.4M-1.28M = 120k, so my equity in the property would start off at (44.8k+120k) = 164.8k, so that is 164.8k/1.235M = 13.35. So I could potentially refinance to a conventional mortgage after a year or so given that I'd be paying off part of the mortgage + annual appreciation, and that way I'd get rid of the FHA PMI? Is that right?

      Originally posted by @Andrew T. :

      Hi Ben,

      Congrats! Sounds like a good deal. Our market is tough to crack so this is a good way to make it work - yours is similar to my house hack in Bed-Stuy. What neighborhood is it in?

      Regarding the roof, sounds like they did a bad job fixing it up two years ago. The guys at Premier Roofing did a great job on mine for $4k and they’re a legitimate business - I recommend calling them. These rubber roofs can be pretty cheap.

      Aaron is giving good advice. Your calculation for capex seems fair (furnace is low, more like $5k+) but as you said, I’d assume there will be some additional expense. You could treat it as miscellaneous or a once over for each bathroom at $5k each. 

      Raising rents may be tough for the time being, but if you have faith in the market they will come back and by spring you should be able find tenants for slightly higher rents. It’s not uncommon to make tenants shovel their own spot- it’s such a rare amenity here that people won’t mind or expect it, but then there may be an issue of which tenant is responsible for what shoveling.

      Keep in mind, the numbers in Brooklyn are often slimmer than elsewhere, And that’s for a reason. You have abnormal amounts of appreciation and rent increases.

      Good luck on this! 

      Andrew

      Thanks Andrew! 

      The house is in Crown Heights, and the area has enjoyed a lot of appreciation over the last few years.

      Thanks for the roof company recommendation!

      Have you had to lower rents during Covid? What has your vacancy been like in Bed-Stuy?


      Thanks!

      I think crown heights is a great move. As always, it’s a bit block by block but the area is going to keep developing. 

      We’ve had no issues with tenants paying Or leaving during Covid - we just had one renew for 6 months, but we chose not to increase rent because of Covid. 

      Rents have softened even out here as some people flee the city, but people are still renting out places, so vacancy might be higher than usual but still not a major issue if you price correctly. 

      Given our high closing costs, I do recommend a long term approach and mind set, which it sounds like you have. 

      @Ben Cohen

      "Another thing is that the offer I gave is significantly lower than the value of the house, close to 1.4M or 1.425M. Would that be helpful in allowing me to refinance to a conventional loan more quickly? Is this correct: I'd be putting down 44.8k, then there would be an automatic "appreciation" (not sure what the term here is) of 1.4M-1.28M = 120k, so my equity in the property would start off at (44.8k+120k) = 164.8k, so that is 164.8k/1.235M = 13.35." 

      So I could potentially refinance to a conventional mortgage after a year or so given that I'd be paying off part of the mortgage + annual appreciation, and that way I'd get rid of the FHA PMI? Is that right?

      -Maybe. The only thing that matters to the bank is the appraisal number. Your PMI can be refinanced away once you hit 20% as a general rule. That doesn't mean you couldn't sell if for more than it appraises for :)

      @Ben Cohen This is a wonderful post with such great comments and information from @Aaron Montague  and @Andrew T. It sounds like you found a good house hack. Is it in the Weeksville area of Crown Heights by chance? I think I saw that one. I hope you get it! I wanted to chime in on the financing aspect of things. Have you spoken to Bank of America about their America's Home Grant Program which offers a grant of $7500 toward non-recurring closing costs. They also have an Affordable Loan program that offers loans with down payments as low as 3% without mortgage insurance. They also have a down payment program that offers 3% of the purchase price up to $10k to the borrower for a down payment. These are grants not loans. They are only applicable in low to moderate income areas and that is determined by the census tract. If your property is in Weeksville it would most likely be eligible. Some of these programs are based on the borrowers income but others are not. They are only based on location of the property. First Republic Bank has similar programs based on the census tract. They require some funds to be transferred to their bank though. But, if that was something you were up for doing, they have some great programs for avoiding the PMI as well.

      Originally posted by @Jessica Perrizo :

      @Ben Cohen This is a wonderful post with such great comments and information from @Aaron Montague  and @Andrew T. It sounds like you found a good house hack. Is it in the Weeksville area of Crown Heights by chance? I think I saw that one. I hope you get it! I wanted to chime in on the financing aspect of things. Have you spoken to Bank of America about their America's Home Grant Program which offers a grant of $7500 toward non-recurring closing costs. They also have an Affordable Loan program that offers loans with down payments as low as 3% without mortgage insurance. They also have a down payment program that offers 3% of the purchase price up to $10k to the borrower for a down payment. These are grants not loans. They are only applicable in low to moderate income areas and that is determined by the census tract. If your property is in Weeksville it would most likely be eligible. Some of these programs are based on the borrowers income but others are not. They are only based on location of the property. First Republic Bank has similar programs based on the census tract. They require some funds to be transferred to their bank though. But, if that was something you were up for doing, they have some great programs for avoiding the PMI as well.

      Wow! I have been following this post and have gotten so much valuable information but this by far takes the cake! Im aiming to buy in Brooklyn in a few months and this information will be a huge help!! Thanks!

       

      @Shelia Grullon I am so glad it is helpful! I tell as many people as I can about these programs for they are really amazing! The only catch is that they can only be used in the boundaries the census tract designates low or moderate income. That can result in one side of a block being included while the other is not. I had a client even get approved in Prospect Heights but only within a few blocks radius. It is worth checking for any address, in my opinion, as there are certain blocks in almost every neighborhood that apply. 

      Originally posted by @Jessica Perrizo :

      @Ben Cohen This is a wonderful post with such great comments and information from @Aaron Montague  and @Andrew T. It sounds like you found a good house hack. Is it in the Weeksville area of Crown Heights by chance? I think I saw that one. I hope you get it! I wanted to chime in on the financing aspect of things. Have you spoken to Bank of America about their America's Home Grant Program which offers a grant of $7500 toward non-recurring closing costs. They also have an Affordable Loan program that offers loans with down payments as low as 3% without mortgage insurance. They also have a down payment program that offers 3% of the purchase price up to $10k to the borrower for a down payment. These are grants not loans. They are only applicable in low to moderate income areas and that is determined by the census tract. If your property is in Weeksville it would most likely be eligible. Some of these programs are based on the borrowers income but others are not. They are only based on location of the property. First Republic Bank has similar programs based on the census tract. They require some funds to be transferred to their bank though. But, if that was something you were up for doing, they have some great programs for avoiding the PMI as well.

      Jessica - WOW! I did not know about that program at all. Yes, the property is in Weeksillve, unfortunately the deal didn't end up going through. I'm still looking in that area so this will for sure come in handy! I'd love to get rid of as many closing costs as I can, so this will be super super helpful!

      I’m following this thread now. I’m thankful to get to watch you guys work through the numbers, @Ben Cohen and @Aaron Montague .
      @Jessica Perrizo That is really valuable information. Are those federal or state programs and where can one find info on those tract designations? I’m in Minneapolis, saving up to do a multi-familyhouse hack.  

      Ben, good luck finding the house hack that works for you, and thank you for posting. It’s been helpful for me as well. 

      Originally posted by @Anthony Brown :

      I’m following this thread now. I’m thankful to get to watch you guys work through the numbers, @Ben Cohen and @Aaron Montague .
      @Jessica Perrizo That is really valuable information. Are those federal or state programs and where can one find info on those tract designations? I’m in Minneapolis, saving up to do a multi-familyhouse hack.  

      Ben, good luck finding the house hack that works for you, and thank you for posting. It’s been helpful for me as well. 

      Thank you, I'm glad you got to see me work through everything, best of luck with your own house hack! Post the details when it's done so we can congratulate you on your success :) 

      @Anthony Brown where in Minneapolis are you located? Would love to help out with your journey of buying a house hack! The programs they mentioned (at least the us bank one) is put out by the bank and is available here locally. But depending on which cities you look into there are better down payment assistance programs. A great local program is MHFA where you can buy a property with only $1,000 down. There are obviously stipulations but worth checking out with a lender like @Ben Walker

      Hi @Anthony Brown ,

      Congratulations on stepping into the house hacking world! I used to live in Mpls. (love that city) and have a brother that does property management there if ever you get to that point and need help or names for service providers etc. As for the loan programs, I think they are nationwide as I was told these are funds mandated to be allocated in this way by the govt. The best way to find out though would be to get in touch with a Banker from Bank of America or First Republic. They will be able to walk you through the specifics. They are also the ones that have the census maps. My favorite banker in NYC, Eric Stam, who I highly recommend to anyone in NYC, looks up every address I send him and can let me know quickly what it is eligible for. 

      @Daniel Anshus sounds like he has some great info for the area as well! Daniel, I would love to chat with you too actually. Knowing Mpls. I am intrigued by the idea of investing there as well as NYC. 

      @Ben Cohen , It will be my pleasure! Will you update this thread when you make your purchase?

      @Daniel Anshus , thanks for the offer. I live in Brooklyn Park but I’d like to buy in the west metro or further out, since I work in Medina. 

      @Jessica Perrizo , thank you for the advice, and thank you so much for offering the connection! I'll certainly be looking into a property manager for future properties. I would like to get his contact info from you.

      Originally posted by @Anthony Brown :

      @Ben Cohen, It will be my pleasure! Will you update this thread when you make your purchase?

      @Daniel Anshus , thanks for the offer. I live in Brooklyn Park but I’d like to buy in the west metro or further out, since I work in Medina. 

      @Jessica Perrizo , thank you for the advice, and thank you so much for offering the connection! I'll certainly be looking into a property manager for future properties. I would like to get his contact info from you.

       Definitely, Anthony! Will do.

      @Anthony Brown what investing are you looking to do out in the west metro? If you are looking to do a duplex househack I will let you know there are little to no multifamily in the west metro. Would love to talk more and see what would be the best option for you.