Today Mihir Acharya shares his room rental house hacking story from Framingham, Massachusetts. 

Housing hacking is a growing trend sweeping the nation and transforming finances everywhere. Through house hacking, homeowners are able to live for free! You can tap into this life-changing strategy completely legally! Grab a FREE copy of our House Hacking Quick Start Guide to get started – it can save you thousands with specialized information you won’t find anywhere else.

House Hacking Case Study

Although Mihir, a product marketing manager, had not officially heard of the term ‘house hacking,' he started doing just that in September 2019. He first thought of the idea on his own but then saw others putting it into practice. The example that encouraged him the most was when he saw his landlord renting out a house to working professionals and living nearby. At the time, this example was significant to Mihir because his landlord was also on a working visa.

Once he saw someone in a similar situation pursuing house hacking, he consulted legal counsel to determine if he could legally earn passive income through house hacking with his H1B visa status. After confirming his eligibility to pursue passive rental income, he started looking for a property to house hack.

The House Hack

Mihir decided to buy a four-bedroom single-family home and pursue a room rental house hack. The reasoning was that he wanted to be in a location close to his office. With only single-family homes nearby, this limited his options. But he is happy with his decision to pursue a room rental house hack because it has helped him learn more about being a landlord.

Updating the Units

The house Mihir bought was fairly turnkey. Although he has done some minor repairs along the way, he has spent less than $1,000 on repairs in the last two years.

The Tenants

Once he closed on the property, he found tenants through Sulekha. However, when he needed to find a tenant during the pandemic, he posted within an internal Wanted group at work to find new tenants.

After finding the tenants, he uses Avail to create the leases. He also uses Splitwise to split any share bills. But he doesn't use any rent collection software for his tenants.

The Numbers of the Deal

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

Financing

Mihir used a conventional loan with 5% down to purchase the $475,000 home with a 3.75% interest rate. After a refinance, he was able to secure a lower interest rate at 2.5%. 

In total, Mihir's monthly mortgage is $2,880, which includes principal, interest, taxes, and insurance.

Rental Income

When Mihir bought the property, the property was bringing in a total of $2,400 per month. 

  • Gross Rent: $2,450
  • Mortgage payment: $2,880
  • Cashflow before maintenance and vacancies: -$430
  • Housing costs before house hacking: $725
  • Total housing savings: $295

The cash flow of the property started out slightly negative. But after a refinance, Mihir was able to get to the breakeven point. With that, he is able to live for free in a nicer space while building equity. Currently, Mihir is building a solid emergency fund and plans to use future savings to build more assets. 

Want to dramatically reduce your housing costs while building equity in a property? Dive into housing hacking with our House Hacking Quick Start Guide. 

The Learning Curve

Mihir is very happy with his decision to house hack. Not only is he able to work towards his financial goals, but he also enjoys a higher quality of life in his new home. In his new house, Mihir is able to enjoy the space more without having to worry about repercussions for playing music at 2 AM, hosting a party, or scratching the paint with a sticker or two. Plus, the draw of passive income was a big factor in his decision to house hack.

Even with some unique challenges in terms of tenant screening, including the need to maintain a strictly vegetarian household, Mihir has been happy with his tenants. In fact, he has been able to set up a music studio in the basement for his roommates and him to jam in their own in-house band.

If you are considering house hacking, Mihir has some suggestions as you start your journey:

  • If it is not a multi-unit, find a property with multiple bathrooms that are detached. This works well with more than 2 people living in the house.
  • Find the sweet spot between the number of rooms you can rent and the monthly mortgage to cover. I had to buy a 4-bed house to be able to make enough money by collecting rent to compensate for the mortgage payments. Any 2 and 3 beds places were not falling in that sweet spot to be able to compensate the monthly payments. Finding a property that provides this sweet spot can be difficult to find. Don't rely just on a broker, do your own research through MLS websites such as Trulia, Redfin, etc.
  • Don't be afraid of buying a little older property (like 50-60 years) if the inspection passes with flying colors. Get someone experienced along with you to inspect the property before making the offer. Many people suggested that I did not look for properties older than 20 years, but that will just not fit in the sweet spot in most areas. Well-kept and updated older properties with a good foundation can generate good cash flows!
  • Keep in mind that you will most probably not live in this property forever. So don't get too emotional in getting that biggest room size you always wanted or the highest ceilings that might not even exist. Think from the perspective when you were a tenant – if I were to see this property/room to rent, will I take it? Make sure it meets your requirements at a satisfactory level and that it will be an attractive place for tenants.
  • Interview some potential tenants in advance, or check about the most desirable tenant requirements in that area. For example, the type of tenants I was targeting look for good commuting routes near the house, such as a public bus or train going to major spots. Tenants often have other requirements than what we look for. They might not even use the backyard but would love to get a garage spot.
  • Last but not least, immigrants on H1B can do this too! Feel free to contact me to learn more about how I did this.

All in all, Mihir highly recommends house hacking to anyone interested. He is especially interested in helping other immigrants on the H1B visa find a way to pursue house hacking.

How to Connect

Want to learn more about Mihir's story? You can connect on Instagram, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

The Bottom Line

House hacking can help anyone achieve their financial goals. Don't let anything hold you back from pursuing this opportunity if you are interested!

Check out next week's case study with Ayush in New Orleans!

If you are interested in creating your own house hacking story, 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, please share your story with us! We would love to showcase your success.