Today Mike Mankowski shares his small multi-family house hacking story from Somerville, New Jersey. 

House hacking is the way to eliminate your biggest expense. What are you waiting for? Learn more in our House Hacking Quick Start Guide. 

House Hacking Case Study

As a full-time real estate investor, Mike was interested in the idea of house hacking. But his irregular income made it challenging to find the right financing. However, his girlfriend had a stable W-2 income that allowed for more attractive financing opportunities. Together they decided to dive into house hacking as a couple in order to make their budgets work with her high student loan payments.

After searching for a while, they found the right property in December 2020. Although it took some jumping through hoops,  Mike's real estate knowledge helped guide them through to closing.

The House Hack

Mike and his girlfriend, Alina, had been searching for the right place to house hack for several months. But eventually, the right property came along. With Mike's specialized knowledge, they went about finding a deal in a different way than most. They sent out postcards through the DealMachine app.

When Mike learned that this seller was interested, he had to negotiate against three other competing bids. But in the end, Mike and Alina won the deal for the triplex.

Here's a closer look at the place:

house hacking case study 46

Mike and Alina in front of their first house hack.

kitchen update

Kitchen in progress


Complete kitchen

The Updates

When Mike and Alina closed on the property, it needed quite a bit of work. Here's a closer look at what they had to do:

  • Repaint
  • Replace the floors
  • Add new trim
  • Paint the cabinets
  • Add new lighting
  • Create an in-unit laundry
  • Add new appliances
  • Add new granite throughout

The couple did most of the work themselves. But they hired some contractors to help out – this went smoothly thanks to Mike's connections.

The Tenants

Mike listed the units on and Zillow. Currently, he is self-managing the tenants.

The Numbers of the Deal

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


Mike and Alina used an FHA loan to put down $13,300 on a $350,000 property. But Mike negotiated a $10,000 seller concession. Overall, their monthly mortgage payment is $2,560. 

Rental Income

Mike and Alina listed two of the units for $1,850 and $1,800.

  • Gross Rent: $3,650
  • Mortgage payment: $2,560
  • Cashflow before maintenance and vacancies: $1,090
  • Housing costs before house hacking: $2,400
  • Total housing savings: $3,490

The cash flow of the property is positive. With that, Mike and Alina are able to live for free. They plan to house hack again.

Want someone else to pay your mortgage? Dive into housing hacking with our House Hacking Quick Start Guide. 

The Learning Curve

Looking back, Mike wouldn't change anything. It was the perfect deal for their situation.

Currently, Mike and Alina are able to use their savings to pay down debt. But they plan to house hack again in the future to build their portfolio. If you are considering house hacking, Mike says, “Start NOW but wait for the right deal.”

Want to take action? Dive into this life-changing strategy with our House Hacking Quick Start Guide. 

How to Connect

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

The Bottom Line

House hacking can help anyone achieve their financial goals. How would house hacking change your life?

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.