Today Sean Pan shares his roommate-style house hacking story from Milpitas, California.
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House Hacking Case Study
As a hard money lender, Sean is very familiar with the real estate market. When he first moved to Los Angeles, he moved into a home with several extra bedrooms. At the time, the extra bedrooms felt like a waste of perfectly good living space. Plus, he wanted the company of good roommates.
Before house hacking, he moved into an apartment with roommates. With rent around $2,400 per month, Sean started looking at the idea of a roommate-style house hack more seriously.
The House Hack
Sean found a four-bedroom house. When he bought the house, it was a little outdated but the potential was there. Here's a closer look at the property:
After purchasing the property, Sean spent $30,000 on the renovations. The updates included a remodeled kitchen, new flooring, new plumbing, and paint throughout.
Sean hired contractors to take care of the renovations. Overall, the projects went smoothly without any major contractor issues.
Sean used Facebook to reach out to friends that needed a place to stay. Eventually, he got tenants through word of mouth.
Once they moved in, Sean had them pay rent through Venmo or Chase Quickpay.
The Numbers of the Deal
It’s time to find out exactly how profitable this house hacking strategy was!
Sean used a conventional loan to put down 20% on the property. With that, his monthly mortgage payment, including principal, interest, taxes, and insurance, was around $2,200.
Sean was able to rent the three extra rooms for a total of $2,200 per month.
- Gross Rent: $2,200
- Mortgage payment: $2,200
- Cashflow before maintenance and vacancies: $0
- Housing costs before house hacking: $2,400
- Total housing savings: $2,400
The cash flow of the property was breakeven. Although Sean could have charged more for the rooms, he was happy to give his roommates a discount. Not only were his roommates his friends, but they also helped with household supply costs since they weren't paying top dollar. Plus, they split utilities four ways.
Want someone else to pay your mortgage? Dive into housing hacking with our House Hacking Quick Start Guide.
The Learning Curve: Sean's House Hack
Looking back, Sean would create an automated way to collect rent through software like Cozy. The automation would make sure that everyone was paying rent on time without Sean checking in.
Additionally, he would set up an automatic rent increase schedule. At the time, Sean was too shy to ask for rent increases. But it could have created additional cashflow for him.
But overall, he loved the experience of house hacking. It allowed him to save money and purchase more rental properties. However, he doesn't plan on house hacking in the future because he is at a point where he values his privacy more.
If you are considering house hacking, Sean recommends, “Make sure the tenants you bring in will be a good fit for you and your other roommates. You don't want to live in a home with a stranger who you don't really communicate with.”
How to Connect
If you are interested in creating your own house hacking story, then be sure to:
- Check out our Ultimate Guide to House Hacking
- Listen to The House Hacking Podcast
- 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.
Get the House Hacking Quick Start Guide
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