Today Joshua Lupo shares his small multi-family house hacking story from Troy, New York.

Want to try house hacking for yourself? I highly encourage you to grab a copy of our House Hacking Quick Start Guide (free) as you read along. Not only will it deepen your learning, it also includes a cost-saving tip most house hackers miss. 

House Hacking Case Study

Joshua is a full-time employment counselor that helps job seekers with disabilities and employers fill gaps on their team. At this point, Joshua owns his own business that allows him to do what he loves with a schedule that works for his life. But at the beginning of their house hacking journey, Joshua and his wife were newlyweds that had just realized they were almost $100,000 in debt with median incomes.

When Joshua read, Set for Life by Brandon Turners, he was excited by the idea of house hacking. He saw an opportunity to use house hacking as a tool to transform his family's financial future.

At that point, they decided to start looking for a house hacking property instead of continuing to rent a one-bedroom apartment.

The House Hack

Joshua and his wife closed on their first house hack in 2018. The small multi-family property would become their home for the next two years. The couple found the property before it hit the market through a real estate agent.

On their second house hack in 2020, they were about to find an off-market deal without the help of an agent. Instead, they spent time driving around their target neighborhood and local marketing. Eventually, everyone in the neighborhood knew they were looking for another property. A neighbor approached them about a property nearby and they closed on the second house hack two months later.

Updating the Units

When Joshua and his wife bought the first property, it was in relatively good shape. However, it still required around $7,500 of renovations. The minor renovations included updating the back deck, renovating the heating system, removing trees, and adding new appliances. For many smaller updates, Joshua and his wife have done the work. But in most cases, they hire experienced contractors to do great work in half the time.

In the second house hack, the renovations required were more extensive. Currently, the couple expects to spend at least $10,000 updating the property. They have built a network of reliable contractors to help them make the updates.

The Tenants

When they bought the property, they inherited one tenant that paid $750 in rent. Once he moved out, they updated the unit and increased the rent to $925. While looking for new tenants, they use Cozy to help with marketing and screening. Facebook Marketplace and a network of real estate professionals have helped them find tenants in the past.

Once they've signed a tenant, the couple uses Avail to collect rent and manage service requests.

The Numbers of the Deal

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


We will take a closer look at the numbers of their first house hacking property. Joshua and his wife used a conventional loan to secure the property with 5% down. With a down payment of $14,000, the couple closed on the $158,000 property at a 4.85% interest rate for a monthly mortgage cost of $1,378.

Rental Income

Joshua and his wife rented out one side of the duplex for $925 while they lived in the other unit.

  • Previous housing costs: $1,315
  • Gross Rent: $925
  • Mortgage payment: $1,378
  • Cashflow before maintenance and vacancies: $453
  • Total housing savings: $862

The cash flow of the property is slightly negative. But Joshua and his wife were able to cut their living expenses considerably. Now that they have moved out of this duplex into another house hack, their first property is cash flow positive.

Want to live for free while someone else pays your mortgage? Dive into housing hacking with our House Hacking Quick Start Guide. 

How to Connect

Are you interested in learning more about Joshua's story? You can connect with him on his site – Joshua Lupo. You can also connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

The Learning Curve

Joshua and his wife enjoyed their house hacking experience. In fact, they enjoyed it so much that they are house hacking again in their second duplex as we speak!

Throughout the process, the couple has been able to pay off $35,000 in student loans, pay for used cars in case, funded a belated honeymoon to California, and pursued their professional dreams. Additionally, they have been able to spend more time together thanks to their house hacking adventure.

Joshua recommends that everyone give this strategy a try, “Do it early, do it often, and do not get hung up on the calculators. First deal doesn't make you rich it just gives you proof of concept and ability to do your next deal.”

The Bottom Line

You can use house hacking to build a solid financial foundation that allows you to pursue the career of your dreams. How would your finances be transformed if you gave house hacking a try?

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!

Check out next week's case study with Bradley for more inspiration! 

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.

Ready to try house hacking? Use our House Hacking Quick Start Guide to get started.