Kameron Yellin recently bought a small multi-family property to house hack. He shares his ups and downs of the process.

House Hacking Case Study

Kameron is a police officer in College Station, Texas. Before house hacking, he was renting an apartment for around $1,100 per month.

When he first heard about the idea of house hacking, he was intrigued. After some consideration, he decided to move forward with house hacking. Not only is he able to reduce his living expenses, but he hopes that this is just the start of his real estate portfolio.

The House Hack

In July 2020, Kameron closed on a two-level duplex in College Station. His goal was to move into the bottom unit and rent out the top unit. After spending a few years in this duplex to meet the minimum occupancy requirements of his VA loan, he plans to repeat the process with a four-unit property.

Updating the Units

The duplex needed extensive renovations. Before closing, Kameron had to gain early access to the property in order to update it. Otherwise, the VA inspection would not approve the loan. With that, he spent over $12,000 renovating the property before he closed. After that, he spent an additional several thousand to update both units.

In total, he spent between $20,000 and $25,000 to update the units. For most of the work, he hired a contractor. However, COVID-19 complications required him to switch contractors in the middle of the project. He also did a lot of the exterior work himself due to the shortage of contractors.

The Tenants

Kameron is using a local property manager to handle his tenants. The deal closed less than a month ago, so he has not yet rented out the upstairs unit to tenants.

The Numbers of the Deal

It’s time to find out exactly how profitable this house hacking strategy was!

Financing

For the duplex, Kameron put down $0 using a VA loan. With a 2.75% interest rate, he was able to lock in a monthly mortgage payment of $1,200 including principal, interest, taxes, and fees.

Rental Income

Kameron plans to charge tenants $950 per month for the upstairs unit while he lives in the downstairs unit.

  • Previous living situation: $1,100
  • Gross Rent: $950
  • Mortgage payment: $1,200
  • Cashflow before maintenance and vacancies: – $250
  • Housing savings: $850

The overall cash flow of the property was slightly negative. But Kameron was able to dramatically lower his housing costs while building equity in a property.

The Learning Curve

Kameron is excited to start his house hacking journey. He plans to use his newfound savings to pay down the debt he accumulated during the renovation process and save for his next house hack. Although the process to get the duplex rentable was not necessarily smooth, he recognizes the learning opportunities he discovered along the way.

If you are interested in house hacking, Kameron recommends “Find a mentor, someone who has done it and can help you stay grounded in your expectations.” He also mentions that finding a cash flow positive house hack is exciting, but it isn’t the only path to success. If you are able to slash your housing costs, then you are still coming out ahead!

The Bottom Line

Kameron was able to slash his housing costs quickly. With the goal of building a profitable real estate portfolio, he is well on his way to success.

If you are interested in creating your own house hacking story, then check out our ultimate guide, listen to our house hacking podcast, or read more case studies for inspiration. You never know how dramatically your life can change through this one choice!

If you choose to pursue a house hack of your own, then please share your story with us! We would love to showcase your success like we have in other case studies.