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House Hacking

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Benjamin Sulka#3 House Hacking Contributor
  • Cleveland, OH
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Financing my 1st House Hack

Benjamin Sulka#3 House Hacking Contributor
  • Cleveland, OH
Posted Feb 27 2024, 09:43

I just got engaged with my girlfriend but we are not yet married. 

She is 100% on board with starting our real estate investing journey and we are buying our first multifamily to house hack in the coming months. 

Here is my situation. 

I'm 23 and just graduated college so my DTI is a bit higher than I'd like it to be. This limits the amount of $ I can qualify for individually. I could definitely buy a multifamily by myself but it would be in a less desirable area that we might not feel as comfortable living.

On the flipside, if we got the loan together, it would open us up to most of the B-A neighborhoods that we would rather live in. 

I know that going on the loan in my own name would allow me to put more loans under my belt in the future before we get married and become one unit. 

What route would you take? What are your thoughts? 

-Ben, aspiring multifamily house hacker 

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Matthew Porcaro
Pro Member
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Long Island, NY
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Matthew Porcaro
Pro Member
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Long Island, NY
Replied Feb 27 2024, 10:28

Congrats on your engagement!

That's great that she's on board. House hacking is for sure the best way to get into real estate investing (in my humble opinion)

If you combining your incomes puts you where you want to be, I'd do that. Remember, although FHA only allows one loan under your name at any given time, Fannie Mae allows 11.

With the new guidelines that came out with Fannie Mae back in November, you can now put 5% down on up to a 4-unit property with conventional mortgages. 

So essentially, if you use that loan product, you wont have to worry about "using up" your low down payment loan quota. You and your fiance can do it together over and over (as long as you financially qualify and fit the guidelines)

Hope this alleviates your concern!

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Derek Brickley
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  • Lender
  • Ann Arbor, MI
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Derek Brickley
Pro Member
  • Lender
  • Ann Arbor, MI
Replied Feb 27 2024, 10:35

Exactly as Matthew said!  Location is the one thing you cannot change about a property, so finding one in an area that works for you and will help meet your goals is huge.  It's good that you are looking forward so much, I'd just say take them one at a time and once you figure out the first the rest will fall in place!

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Jack Matthias
  • Lender
  • Chicago
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Jack Matthias
  • Lender
  • Chicago
Replied Feb 27 2024, 10:49

Congrats on the engagement! Matthew explained it perfectly. Go find a place you guys like in a location you like. I am also your age and getting in the game at this age is going to be awesome for your future. If and when you need financing help/numbers reach out! I'd be happy to assist

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James Carlson
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Denver CO | Colorado Springs, CO
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James Carlson
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Denver CO | Colorado Springs, CO
Replied Feb 27 2024, 13:01

@Benjamin Sulka

Congrats on your engagement! ... But if you want to stay married, buy a place you both like, in a neighborhood you both like.

This isn't exactly what you asked, but I see ambitious -- but skill-less -- first-time buyers in Denver and Colorado Springs want to take on a big remodel in the name of "value-add" because they read on here it's the best deal. They end up mired in a year-long nightmare, and I've seen more than one couple break up over such things. Make the first buy and easy win.

To your actual concern. Not sure about your exact concern. There are a few different loan limitations you might be hinting at:

-- You can only have one FHA loan at a time (and therefore only one 3.5% loan at a time), but that's going to be true for you whether your fiance is or isn't on the loan this time.

-- You can have up to 10 conventional loans to your name. But again, adding your fiance's name or not doesn't change that this one will county toward your total. 

Either way, you've got so many more properties to buy going forward, and you'll likely roll some into others. 

I've been asking my Denver and Colorado Springs clients during intake the same question lately: How many rental properties is enough? 

This site makes it seem like everyone needs 100 doors to their name. But for me, I know what lifestyle I want to live (it's not Bezos-level), and we've reverse-engineered the math to see how many properties we need to achieve that lifestyle when we want to retire in 15 years or so. 

And oh, by the way, you're so far ahead of the game already by buying at 23. We didn't buy our first property until we were 35, and we're doing quite well. Congrats on a big step!

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Benjamin Sulka#3 House Hacking Contributor
  • Cleveland, OH
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Benjamin Sulka#3 House Hacking Contributor
  • Cleveland, OH
Replied Feb 27 2024, 13:44
Quote from @James Carlson:

@Benjamin Sulka

Congrats on your engagement! ... But if you want to stay married, buy a place you both like, in a neighborhood you both like.

This isn't exactly what you asked, but I see ambitious -- but skill-less -- first-time buyers in Denver and Colorado Springs want to take on a big remodel in the name of "value-add" because they read on here it's the best deal. They end up mired in a year-long nightmare, and I've seen more than one couple break up over such things. Make the first buy and easy win.

To your actual concern. Not sure about your exact concern. There are a few different loan limitations you might be hinting at:

-- You can only have one FHA loan at a time (and therefore only one 3.5% loan at a time), but that's going to be true for you whether your fiance is or isn't on the loan this time.

-- You can have up to 10 conventional loans to your name. But again, adding your fiance's name or not doesn't change that this one will county toward your total. 

Either way, you've got so many more properties to buy going forward, and you'll likely roll some into others. 

I've been asking my Denver and Colorado Springs clients during intake the same question lately: How many rental properties is enough? 

This site makes it seem like everyone needs 100 doors to their name. But for me, I know what lifestyle I want to live (it's not Bezos-level), and we've reverse-engineered the math to see how many properties we need to achieve that lifestyle when we want to retire in 15 years or so. 

And oh, by the way, you're so far ahead of the game already by buying at 23. We didn't buy our first property until we were 35, and we're doing quite well. Congrats on a big step!


 James, 

Thanks so much! Really appreciate the in-depth answer. 

Some great callouts. 

-Getting a base-hit deal that is going to keep my relationship intact is the #1 goal. Not trying to get into an extensive rehab or live in a crime-ridden area. 

-I do not plan on becoming a real estate mogul with 100 doors to my name More like 15-20 to supplement my wealth building. I have aspirations to leverage my digital marketing skills in paid search and SEO and become more entrepreneurial on that side of things. 

Would love to connect with you some time and talk real estate! 

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James Carlson
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Denver CO | Colorado Springs, CO
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James Carlson
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Denver CO | Colorado Springs, CO
Replied Feb 27 2024, 13:48
Quote from @Benjamin Sulka:
Quote from @James Carlson:

@Benjamin Sulka

... James, 

Thanks so much! Really appreciate the in-depth answer. 

Some great callouts. 

-Getting a base-hit deal that is going to keep my relationship intact is the #1 goal. Not trying to get into an extensive rehab or live in a crime-ridden area. 

-I do not plan on becoming a real estate mogul with 100 doors to my name More like 15-20 to supplement my wealth building. I have aspirations to leverage my digital marketing skills in paid search and SEO and become more entrepreneurial on that side of things. 

Would love to connect with you some time and talk real estate! 


 Sounds like you're on the right path. Wishing you the best.

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Jake Andronico#3 Out of State Investing Contributor
  • Realtor
  • Reno, NV
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Jake Andronico#3 Out of State Investing Contributor
  • Realtor
  • Reno, NV
Replied Feb 28 2024, 09:59

@Benjamin Sulka

Congrats man!!! Glad to hear it :) 

Some great comments on this thread. I agree that combining and being in a better area long term will pay off. 

You have time on your side, and a soon-to-be-wife that's on board with house hacking - you're in an amazing spot!!

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Benjamin Sulka#3 House Hacking Contributor
  • Cleveland, OH
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Benjamin Sulka#3 House Hacking Contributor
  • Cleveland, OH
Replied Feb 28 2024, 10:14
Quote from @Matthew Porcaro:

Congrats on your engagement!

That's great that she's on board. House hacking is for sure the best way to get into real estate investing (in my humble opinion)

If you combining your incomes puts you where you want to be, I'd do that. Remember, although FHA only allows one loan under your name at any given time, Fannie Mae allows 11.

With the new guidelines that came out with Fannie Mae back in November, you can now put 5% down on up to a 4-unit property with conventional mortgages. 

So essentially, if you use that loan product, you wont have to worry about "using up" your low down payment loan quota. You and your fiance can do it together over and over (as long as you financially qualify and fit the guidelines)

Hope this alleviates your concern!


 Matthew, 

Such a great reply and exactly the information I was seeking. 

We definitely prefer to go the conventional route. 

Thank you!!

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Benjamin Sulka#3 House Hacking Contributor
  • Cleveland, OH
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Benjamin Sulka#3 House Hacking Contributor
  • Cleveland, OH
Replied Feb 28 2024, 10:17
Quote from @Jake Andronico:

@Benjamin Sulka

Congrats man!!! Glad to hear it :) 

Some great comments on this thread. I agree that combining and being in a better area long term will pay off. 

You have time on your side, and a soon-to-be-wife that's on board with house hacking - you're in an amazing spot!!


 Really appreciate it, brother! 

We should reconnect soon. Would love to hear about whats going on in your world. 

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Jake Andronico#3 Out of State Investing Contributor
  • Realtor
  • Reno, NV
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Jake Andronico#3 Out of State Investing Contributor
  • Realtor
  • Reno, NV
Replied Feb 28 2024, 10:43
Quote from @Benjamin Sulka:
Quote from @Jake Andronico:

@Benjamin Sulka

Congrats man!!! Glad to hear it :) 

Some great comments on this thread. I agree that combining and being in a better area long term will pay off. 

You have time on your side, and a soon-to-be-wife that's on board with house hacking - you're in an amazing spot!!


 Really appreciate it, brother! 

We should reconnect soon. Would love to hear about whats going on in your world. 

Happy to! :)