Room Rental House Hacking in NYC with Millers on Fire:

The dream of house hacking in NYC might sound too good to be true. But our guest today shows that house hacking in the city that never sleeps is completely possible. Mrs. Miller, from the popular blog Miller on FIRE, joins the show today to share her house hacking experience from New York City. 

Could house hacking transform your financial future? Use the free House Hacking Quick Start Guide to dive into this opportunity. 

Meet Mrs. Miller

The Millers are a couple in their thirties that share money optimization skills. Mrs. Miller’s Latina and a native New Yorker. She’s a first-generation college graduate who is on the FIRE journey. Mrs. Miller is a personal financial blogger at Miller’s On Fire where they focus on financial independence and early retirement. Their blog shares everything from money hacks, cost-cutting tips. One of the things I really like about their blog is they actually share some of their money mistakes cause I’m a really big believer, and you can learn more from your mistakes than your successes. So I love that they shared that on their blog. 

House Hacking in Sacramento

In 2008, Mrs. Miller moved to Sacramento. A few years later, she was able to buy her first home in a great neighborhood at 27 years old. For a few months, she lived in the large three-bedroom house with just her dog. After a few months, she found two roommates to live in the extra bedrooms.

This first foray into house hacking was completely unintentional. When Mrs. Miller brought her first roommate into her home, it was because a friend of a close friend needed a place to stay. Mrs. Miller thought it would be a short-term opportunity and let her move in. 

A month later, she got a phone call from the same friend that had connected her to her first roommate. Another girl needed a place to stay, so Mrs. Miller decided the more, the merrier. At that point, she had two roommates to fill her home. Although she was able to comfortably afford the house, two roommates dramatically cut the costs. 

The Numbers

Mrs. Miller bought the house for $285,000. With the help of an FHA loan, she put down around $10,000 on the home. An FHA loan is a great way to fund a home purchase with minimal money down. The bank was willing to pay the closing costs associated with the loan because the house was a ‘short sale.’

A short sale means that the previous owners owed more on the house than the house was worth. So, they were able to sell the house for less than they had originally paid instead of facing foreclosure. 

With all of this, Mrs. Miller’s monthly payment was $1,875. That was a dramatic increase from her previous rent of $800 per month. Many people choose to buy a house early in their life and accept these higher housing costs as par for the course. The roommate-style house hacking situation allowed her to lower her housing costs by $900 and gain some amazing friends. 

Treat House Hacking Like A Business

Looking back, Mrs. Miller wishes that she had treated her house hacking opportunity more like a business. She suggests that if you are interested in house hacking, do some research on average rents and raise the rent on a routine basis. 

You’ll likely be more successful when you do your research on house hacking and ensure that it helps you reach your financial goals. 

Transitioning to NYC

After three years of this house hacking setting, Mrs. Miller married Mr. Miller. With that, the roommate-style house hack came to an end. A few months later, she received a job offer in NYC and made the move in December 2016. 

Instead of selling her first house, she decided to become a long-distance landlord. She found a property manager through the recommendation of a friend. After a few months of searching, tenants moved in for $2,300. That was enough to cover the expenses, plus a little bit extra. Each month, the couple saves a few hundred dollars to cover any maintenance costs that pop up along the way. 

House Hacking in NYC

When the couple first moved into an apartment when they arrived in NYC. They were paying $2,300 a month for a small space. They stayed there for over a year. 

However, Mrs. Miller’s grandmother started needing some extra help. With that, Mrs. Miller was staying over at her grandmother’s co-op almost every weekend to help out. After a few months of this, the couple decided to permanently move into the spare bedroom of her grandmother’s co-op. The couple took over all of the maintenance costs and has been able to be there for her grandmother. 

A very creative solution to finding affordable housing in NYC. Although house hacking in NYC is not easy, it is definitely a possibility. 

House Hacking Advice from Mrs. Miller

Looking back, Mrs. Miller is extremely glad that she took a chance on house hacking. Not only did she reduce her housing costs, but she also learned how to live with other people. It took a lot of learning and growing to successfully live with roommates. 

Overall, the biggest benefit of house hacking is the ability to save and invest the difference between what you need to live and what you earn. Although she didn’t maximize the situation, she was still able to save a large amount of money. Mrs. Miller was able to fund the startup costs of building a life together without going into debt. 

Small choices today can have a big impact on your financial future. Mrs. Miller would definitely recommend house hacking to anyone and will likely try to expand her real estate portfolio in the future. 

Want someone else to pay your mortgage next month? Our FREE House Hacking Quick Start Guide to jump-start your house hacking journey so you can live for free.

The Famous Six

Let’s hear what Mrs. Miller has to say!

What is your favorite personal finance blog or financial book that you’ve read recently?

Handful of Thoughts

A Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins. JL Collins’ stock series is also a great resource!

What’s your favorite real estate related blog or book you’ve read recently?


Afford Anything

What is your favorite destination so far?

A road trip in Ireland

Where will you travel next?

Possibly Greenland or Africa

What is the biggest bucket list goal that you haven’t accomplished yet?

Reaching FIRE. They are 41% of the way to FIRE!

What is your favorite life hack?

Travel hacking! Here are some resources to get your travel hacking journey started 

Books Mentioned in this Episode

03/20/2023 12:02 pm GMT



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Be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to House Hacking for a great overview of the different styles of house hacking and different types of tenant bases.

Check out the home page for “The House Hacking Podcast” here.