House Hacking Your Way Into A New Career with April Vogt:
Today’s podcast is about house hacking with April Vogt, a bartender now turned real estate investor. She started her real estate investing career with no fear of the future project in front of her. She saw an opportunity to grow her wealth. What she didn’t see was a possibility for a new career.
Through house hacking, she was able to transition her career from hospitality to a property manager and real estate investor. She gives great insights into how to house hack with no experience, and empowers others to do the same.
You Can Listen On:
Live In Flip + House Hacking Combo
April began her house hacking endeavors in 2013 in South Lake Tahoe, CA. She started by purchasing a duplex in 2013, and renting out the second unit to a friend. After she saw success in that, she began contemplating purchasing the next property. To do that, she refinanced her home into a 20 year mortgage, applied and was approved for a $70,000 home equity line of credit (HELOC), and used other funds to purchase a single family in 2017 home not too far away from her first property.
Because of these successes, she has now found business partners to move forward with to continue purchasing single and multi family homes in the Lake Tahoe area.
Turning a ‘no’ into an opportunity
After speaking with the first lender, she was told that she wouldn’t be able to qualify for a single family home on her own. However, she would qualify for a duplex. And she wasn’t afraid to take on something new that she has never done before.
The duplex was in rough shape, but she decided to take a chance on it. She purchased it for $174,000, but knew that she would need to invest some money into renovations.
Her mortgage payment on this property was $1,050 per month, and was able to rent out the second unit for $700 – making her ‘rent’ only $350 a month!
Time to do the ‘flip’
While she was living in the duplex, she began renovating it — starting with the tenant unit. She painted, installed new drywall, new kitchen and cabinets. She did this all on her own, and sourced most of her materials from craigslist. This is a great way to improve the value of your home while saving a ton on purchasing new materials.
The interesting part of April’s house hacking was how she wasn’t intimidated by learning new skills like drywall or tile installation, but rather the intimidation of spending unnecessary money on contractors and brand new materials. Her frugal mindset paid off well with this project.
The back unit, the one she resided in, needed a full bathroom remodel. Because of this, she wasn’t able to live there during the house flipping process.
In the meantime, her friend let her couch surf for about a month until things were complete.
In total, she lived in the duplex for three years, with six months of that including the construction phase.
Now that she no longer lives in the building, she rents out the front unit for the amount of her mortgage, and the back unit is now an Airbnb. However, the short term rental laws in her city have now changed, and she must convert it to a long-term rental.
The sacrifices of real estate investing
Real estate investing has a certain appeal to many people, but what many don’t see is the sacrifice investors make. During this flip, April was working as a bartender at night, while working on her home during the day. She also had to give up her enjoyment of Crossfit to ensure that her bills were paid and her project would be complete.
At many moments, she doubted herself, but she continued to push herself to persevere through the hard times.
From house hacking project #1 to #2
With the HELOC from her first property, she took the money to purchase her second investment property — a single family home. It was outdated, and needed some simple improvements to bring it to a more visually appealing home.
She originally thought it was going to be a minor amount of work. It quickly became more extensive work to bring it up to date.
She purchased the home for $315,000. When she purchased it, it was 2 bedrooms with a loft. When she originally viewed the home, she could already envision the improvements that she could make, which made it that much more appealing.
In addition, the property came with a shed with electricity. April said that it was not your traditional shed you think of, but rather a nice building with an ‘A’ frame roof that is livable. She was able to convert it to an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU).
Overall, she has invested about $25,000 into the property. Because she doubled her living quarters from her first property to the second, she felt the space could be used more efficiently. She found a friend to move in with her to her second property.
Shortly after that, she had an opportunity to live abroad for 9 months. Since her room was available, she decided to rent that out as well.
The mortgage for this property is about $1,750. When she was traveling, she decided to rent out the entire home for $2,150.
Future investments and April’s future
With these two investments, April has found a love for real estate investing. Now, she is partnering with two other people in her town to continue scaling forward. They purchased a fourplex in Reno, Nevada, and another in Carson City, Nevada.
And with her endeavors into real estate investing, she is now transitioning her career out of hospitality and now committed to real estate full-time.
The Famous Six
What is your favorite personal finance resource (blog/book/podcast/etc)?
What’s your favorite real estate related resource you’ve read recently?
What is your favorite travel destination so far?
Brazil – she’s been twice.
Where will you travel next?
No plans just yet during the pandemic, but she would like to go back to Spain.
What is the biggest bucket list goal that you haven’t accomplished yet?
For traveling, it is to backpack through the Patagonia National Park.
In real estate – buy a large, multi-family property in the range of 20-40 units.
What is your favorite life hack?
Thrift store shopping for furniture and clothes
Books Mentioned in this Episode
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.