Room Rental House Hacking in Denver with Ken:

From living in a hostel to owning his own house, Ken has been through quite the journey. Ken was a military veteran when the 2008 recession happened and started to realize the effects of it immediately. After living in a hostel and sleeping on the couch of a friend’s, he knew he never wanted to have the uncertainty of having his own place.

By around 2018, Ken used a VA loan to purchase a house in the Denver area. Being a three-bedroom house, he realized he would be able to cut down the mortgage by renting out two rooms. Through this room rental house hack, Ken was paying close to nothing to live in an area with high living costs.

 

You Can Listen On:

 

Notable Mentions:

Mr. Money Mustache – https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/

The Stacking Benjamins Podcast – https://www.stackingbenjamins.com/

Cozy Property Management – https://cozy.co/

Choose FI – https://www.choosefi.com/

Afford Anything – https://affordanything.com/

Denver Real Estate Investing Podcast – https://www.denverinvestmentrealestate.com/denver-real-estate-investing-podcast/

How to get in touch with today’s guest:

Kenneth Westervelt: https://fleurdelisdervelt.home.blog/

 

Transcript of the show:

Intro (00:03):

Across the world. People have their housing costs taken away as much as half of their income. Have you ever thought of trying to change that? The good news is there is a way house hacking is real and we are here to show you how other people just like you have made it happen. Welcome to the house hacking podcast and here is your host, house hacking expert. Andrew Kerr.

Andrew Kerr (00:29):

All right, Ken, thank you for coming on the show today. I’m really excited to hear about your story. I think you’ve got this great story of how you went through some challenges and now having this really interesting house hacking experience. So thank you for being on. How are you doing today?

Ken (00:43):

It is a beautiful night. We just had ourselves a big old dumping snow storm outside Denver. Now we’ve got about somewhere between three to six inches that depending on where you are and it just, it’s Winter Wonderland before Halloween. I uh, I can’t describe it really.

Andrew Kerr (01:01):

Oh, awesome. And as a, he just alluded to, we’re actually recording this, uh, just a few days before Halloween. So when his episode airs sometime in a couple of months, if you’re wondering about the timing, that’s when we’re in. So, Oh, you’re actually in the Denver area. That, that I think it makes it even more interesting because you’re on this higher cost of living area. So could you actually just give us this a nice sort of high level summary of your experience and how you ended up doing a house hack?

Ken (01:28):

Well, um, so before I ended up picking up the house I’m in now, I’ve always been in a variety of roommate relationships. Um, now back when I was in the uniform back during my time with the military, um, in the very beginning, you know, not only do we have the dormitories and the, um, uh, the shared bunk beds during basic training, but, uh, the, evening when you go to the duty station, um, they, I would end up having to share a bathroom, someone, um, now living on base and that moving off base, picked up a roommates, um, ended up, uh, then taking in the benefits package VHA, they call it DAQ. Um, and basically housing allowance. And I would go ahead and, uh, get a roommate for that because it’s just a save up money in the long run. Um, after my time in the service, um, the short version is I moved down to Florida, uh, South Florida back in 2007 ish.

Ken (02:30):

Um, first time living alone in a long time. That was expensive. Um, of roughly half of my, um, housing costs. Roughly half of my paycheck was going to housing costs and either I would have to pick up a second job, which I ended up doing that, taking up the tutoring gig. And, uh, at the end of my one year lease, ended up picking up a roommate again and went back into the old habits. Um, then 2008 happened. Uh, 2008 was a terrible time for most of us. Uh, it hit me very hard even having to take a reduction to pay from 15 an hour to 12 an hour on a not quite full time basis. Um, yeah, very rough. Um, I ended up getting an opportunity to move out to Colorado in 2010, um, yeah, to transfer. And the short version is, um, that didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped. And, um, I had to find, um, any kind of work I possibly could. So I signed up for a temp agency and frankly, I moved into law school. Um, I did not have a bedroom to call my own and I ended up being there two years roughly.

Andrew Kerr (03:52):

Oh wow. So basically 2010 to 2012 or somewhere in there, you’re essentially living in a hostel.

Ken (03:57):

Yeah, it’s, um, it was definitely an experience. It had some highs. It had some lows, uh, on the bright side, you know, because the hostel is an international travel kind of thing, uh, there were a lot of people cycling through that. There’s still some of that I keep up from, uh, from Australia, um, full from North Carolina, from, um, Scandinavian countries. But, um, on the whole, there were some, there were also people who were, um, trying to get off the streets and just have a roof over their head for a couple of nights. Um, not the greatest experiences, but, um, eventually I ended up, uh, making it, uh, a friend who offered his couch to me, um, in his apartments, a couple of miles down the streets. And, uh, that got me out. Um, and now being on the edge of homeless to just crashing on a couch, um, I was able to pick up better paying work, um, you know, along the way, eventually find it out. Finally got into a room of my own in 2014, 2015 timeframe and, um, never found, uh, found luck, better paying work after that and eventually was able to save up to purchase a house in the February of 2018.

Andrew Kerr (05:26):

Oh, wow. I mean, it sounds like you had just, I know so many people had a really rough time during the financial collapse there and the ’07, ’08, ’09 period in that, I mean, it sounds like you had a really just sort of tough climb out and I mean, congratulations on getting through that and then get into a point where you are actually able to become a homeowner.

Ken (05:45):

Yeah. Um, it was definitely an experience and a ride and, um, I have a lot of people to thank along the jury, including the guy who, you know, offered me the couch to stay for roughly the same as what I was paying to live in a room where three grown men when they were sharing space. Um, now I’ve got to thank, uh, the guy who, you know, recommended that I go to a different staffing agency, pick up better skills. Um, there were a lot of people that I have to thank along the way who got me into a more stable living situation where I could continue to ramp up and go from there. So it’s definitely not just me.

Andrew Kerr (06:31):

Well, let’s, let’s really start to dig into this where, you know, you finally got to a point where you’re able to buy a house, you know, did, did you know what, house hacking was at this point or was it, you know, I’m just finally at a point where I want to be able to buy a house. Was there any intention of, you know, I’m going to do a room rental house hack style. Like what, what was your sort of thought process at this point and what was your motivation to actually get into buying a house?

Ken (06:58):

I saw it’s, um, I was, um, I’ve been familiar with the financial independence belongs in communities and whatnot. Even back when I was in the hostel, I found Mr. Money Mustache sometime around in 2012, 2013. And even though I wasn’t in a position to be able to be like actionable on it, I was frugal by necessity, you know, if, uh, instead of taking a bus, if I could cycle there and I would take it, I’d save the, I’d say that $5, I’d save that, you know, in the 30 minutes of work, um, after tax. Um, and that would’ve didn’t, that goes towards whatever else I wanted as far as, uh, the housing situation. And once I’m aware, that was kind of a plan that came up in, out of necessity really, um, where I knew that I did not want to repeat that experience.

Ken (07:58):

Um, housing instability ever again. Flat out hard limit bar, none- not happening. So I figured the only way that I could maintain some semblance of stability was instead of having to deal with rental prices to get apartments and having stay there, I was always already seeing rent increases in apartments in the, uh, South Denver area, uh, three men to a, uh, the two apartments at the time was under a thousand, but it didn’t stay that way for one and figure that as the economy continued to improve that rents would rise. And it was really just me trying to figure out how I would be able to, um, know whether the rise of rents, either when they can pay to someone else or frankly other people can pay rent to me that that would, that was a seed of it. I can’t tell you exactly when I decided that that was a, a plan I could take on, but I was definitely searching in earnest, you know, around, uh, the mid 2017 timeframe.

Andrew Kerr (09:13):

Okay, cool. So you’ve gotten through this challenging time. You knew, you said like, Hey, I’ve had this really financial low. I know if I get in a good housing situation and have roommates, like no matter what happens with the job, it’s creating this nice stability for you. So you found a house, how’d you end up buying the house? What type of loan did you do? What’d you have to do for a down payment? You know, w what’d you end up buying the house for? Actually a sales price.

Ken (09:40):

Okay. So I ended up purchasing a house of a three bed, one and a half bath before 285 K. um, that is well under the, uh, average for the Denver Metro area. Um, at the time, I think it was still like around 350 or so. Um, thankfully because I, and I’m a veteran with an honorable discharge, I was able to pick up a 0% down VA loan. Um, I had already saved up, uh, uh, uh, a couple of few thousand, um, maybe around 15 K or so in case there were any incidentals that I absolutely had to purchase, like a new water heater or, um, at the furnace one out, something like that, I would have that nest egg. And to work with. But, um, uh, thankfully, um, with my service 0% down was the deal. Um, finding the house was a challenge. Um, I’m not sure if you follow the Denver Metro market at all, but um, at the time if a house went on the market and it was under 350 and the 300,000, it would be under contract within a week.

Ken (10:55):

Yeah. Yeah. I found a realtor and uh, God bless her. Uh, no, no. She and I, we would see houses on my lunch break. We would see houses in months, Saturdays, and almost every week I would have an offer or two in and offer one offer per house. I’d pick the best out of the batch of four or five. Now here’s my offer and I would lose out every time. Unfortunately, because of my pay situation, I was making 21 an hour at the time. I would only qualify for up to roughly 325. I said that I could not handle anything less than 300,000 because, uh, making sure that it had some similar terms in order to handle any rough moments. Like if I had vacancies, could I still handle the mortgage? And that, uh, that actually ended up serving me really well because as it turns out, even picking up something for 285 that threw my debt to income ratio to a 47%, I was very, very close to not being allowed to take a loan for that much, even though I technically qualify for more.

Andrew Kerr (12:12):

Well, I think that’s a good point that you make. It’s sort of crazy what a bank will say you can actually qualify for, but just because a bank is saying you qualify for it doesn’t mean it’s actually a payment that we can afford and then not only afford but afford and not stretch ourselves and make it so we’re so strapped when something does come up that we’re all of a sudden in this sort of financial crunch. Um, so yeah, I’m, I’m really glad that you sort of mentioned that because I think that’s one of the biggest mistakes new homeowners buy as the banks says, great, you can buy $350,000 house, they automatically go buy a $350,000 house and you are smart. And you said, okay, they said 325, I really want to be under 300. And you ended up finding a place in able to close at two 85 on it.

Ken (12:58):

Yeah. Yeah. And even then, you know that, that took months. Um, I started, um, I had a house under contract in October that fell through due to funding structural issues on the, um, on the house. I had to back out of that deal. And then I spent a, a good, the two months after that just looking at houses, looking analysis and I would begin to lose out on contracts. I was raising the amount of earnest money I was willing to put up, doubling the earnest money to say that I’m serious about this. That didn’t work. So eventually I get, gave in and just started offering 10,000 over asking just no questions asked. And uh, eventually I found, what I’m in now and that offer got answered.

Andrew Kerr (13:50):

Awesome. That’s great. And I really liked the fact that you are super persistent. I mean one of the things folks say is like, Oh, is easy to be successful in real estate if you’re buying in like 2010, 2011 2012 those sort of early years right after their recession. But you actually did it and were able to buy a house in 2018 it wasn’t easy, but you had this persistence and cap figurint out, Now let me tweak my offers, add more for earnest money. Come a little bit over ass. So you bought the house, you said you paid a little bit over ask. Did the house actually appraise enough or did you actually have to, um, did it appraise enough so the loan would actually cover the full purchase price or did you actually have to bring some extra cash to closing to cover that difference from the appraisal value to the purchase price?

Ken (14:33):

Yeah. The um, the appraisal actually did come in at a 285. Funny enough, there had been a reputation for a while that VA appraisals that the VA has their own departments where they go out and they do appraising on the houses and for a time, um, probably years before I bought, the appraisals at the time were coming in below bids and that generated a lot of, a lot of controversy alone ill feelings that stuck with net realtors who around at the time. And I heard that there was a reputation, but thankfully I did not suffer the effects of it.

Andrew Kerr (15:18):

Awesome. So when you finally got the house, you were persistent, you’re able to close now when you bought the house, did it actually need any work or was it essentially about move in ready? Where maybe there’s some cosmetics that you wouldn’t mind changing to make it your own, but were there any other big issues that needed immediate attention?

Ken (15:35):

Um, there were, there were some minor mechanical issues. Um, and the, there weren’t any curtain rods or anything like that. Um, no, the windows are still original with the house that was built in 1949 and um, they had, uh, and so they’d have these uh, crank windows that you spin, you spin a crank and it just kind of opens to accordion style and closes the same way there. Uh, I ended up having to pick up a couple of replacements, nods on that. Not too terribly expensive, but um, they’re just a little doodads. Rarely. Not much in the way of problems.

Andrew Kerr (16:18):

Yeah, just my little minor things coming up. Okay. So that’s good. So you bought the house, it’s a three bedroom, one and a half bathroom. You knew you wanted to be able to have some roommates. So how’d you actually go out about finding roommates?

Ken (16:32):

The first few things I decided to do, I tried advertising on Craigslist. I tried to advertising on Facebook Marketplace. Um, and the other thing is that, um, I also used the Facebook groups. There are multiple roommates seeking Facebook groups here towards the Denver Metro area. And that’s was where I ended up finding the most success. I am aware of now of more avenues I could have pursued. But uh, that’s just, it’s something that’s I’ve been having to learn as I go as far as marketing.

Andrew Kerr (17:06):

Oh, cool. Yeah. So I, I’ve done a lot of the like posts on Zillow and Craigslist and the Facebook marketplace, but I actually haven’t looked at any of those like room rental, individual groups, all that. That’s something I’ll actually have to start doing for my area. I’m glad you brought that up. Cool little tip even I can keep learning some stuff, so thank you.

Ken (17:25):

Yeah. Yeah. Just a search of Facebook group, roommates your city and see what comes up.

Andrew Kerr (17:31):

Cool. All right, so you use that to find the roommates. How’d you actually end up screening these potential roommates and tenants?

Ken (17:38):

So a lot of, um, the people that I’ve been reading on the forums that they had been very adamant about using a website called cozy, cozy.co.

Andrew Kerr (17:51):

Yup. I actually use cozy myself, so, yeah.

Ken (17:54):

Yeah, that was a common one. That’s a people recommended use where people will, prospective tenants, will just input their information, they’ll provide the upfront costs and I’ll make sure that anyone who does apply and does the background check, I tell them that is their application fee. They are only paying this company to run your background check, I’m not taking any extra off the pot. There has been some controversy and arson about application fees being more than just background or was an administrative fee that’s non-refundable that was being kept. And there’s been some hard feelings in some communities for that. So to try to sell myself as someone who is in a more understanding, um, sell myself in breaking into the marketplace that I need to advertise myself as a better deal anyway, I can and if I have to nix the, uh, the administrative fee, absolutely, I’ll do that. Why not?

Andrew Kerr (18:53):

Yeah, I mean that’s a good way to stand out when folks realize like, Oh, I just got to pay the, the actual credit and background check and it’s not going to him. It’s going to the company that actually does it. Like that seems like a pretty fair deal. So you use cozy to screen the tenants that you found through the Facebook groups and marketplace and Craigslist. So when you bought the house, what did your actual payment come out to with the VA loan?

Ken (19:17):

Everything came caboodle. Um, the uh, the insurance taxes and all that. It came out to roughly 1700 a month.

Andrew Kerr (19:25):

Okay. So your, your mortgage all in 1700 a month and now you’ve got two roommates in this three bedroom house. So are you living in the master and renting the other two rooms or did you say, Hey, I’m going to run out the master cause that’s the big room and all live in one of the bedrooms. How did all that work out?

Ken (19:44):

Yeah, uh, actually I did decide that I was going to rent out the master bedroom and just simply because I figured that it wouldn’t go for more than a spare that uh, it’s only $150 difference for my last lease, but $150 a month over a year, that adds up.

Andrew Kerr (20:03):

Yeah, that definitely adds up. All right. So you’ve got the two roommates, one’s in a spare, one’s in the master, you’re living in on the third room. What are you getting rents for? The two rooms?

Ken (20:14):

The old hole. Um, at the time it was the 1250 has since then, just last month with my, um, master bedroom, uh, roommates and net moved out to find her own place, uh, close to work.

Andrew Kerr (20:27):

Okay. And then are you going to remarket that out or are you going to look at living in the master and, and rent out the uh, uh, spare that you are in?

Ken (20:36):

So, uh, I’m actually bringing in a contractor to do a redo on the master bathroom. It is a tiny little thing. It is a toilet, the sink, 10 square feet. I’m looking to have some extra space carved out in front of a adjoining and make a, making an upgrade from a half bath to a full bath, throw in a tub. throw in shower. Uh, real vanity and um, you know, hopefully be able to turn that around for more than what I was getting.

Andrew Kerr (21:08):

Oh, cool. Yeah, that sounds like a good plan. But I just want to pause for a second. Go back here. I mean, literally you went from struggling after the financial crisis to living in a hostel, living on a friend’s couch to now you’re in Denver, a high cost of living area with a real estate market that just has exploded. You’ve got a mortgage payment all in at 1700 a month and you’re bringing in 1250 a month. I mean, you’re basically living in a house for $450 a month. You’ve got a place to live, less than 500 bucks and a high cost of living area. And then on top of that, your tenants are helping you pay down your mortgage. I mean, this is like you, you literally went from a very big financial challenge to now it sounds like you’ve got a pretty secure place financially that you’re living in.

Ken (21:55):

It is a huge weight off my shoulders. Let me tell you.

Andrew Kerr (21:59):

Yeah, I mean, talk, talk about a big financial win for you.

Ken (22:03):

Yeah, absolutely. And it’s a, it comes down basically to being able to have the, uh, uh, fortitude and character and what not to allow oneself to continue to live a, not like a broke college student.

Andrew Kerr (22:21):

Yeah. So now essentially with the savings are, is this how the savings that you’ve had in the lower housing costs, is that what you’re going to then use to fund the, um, little expansion of, of the half bath there?

Ken (22:35):

Uh, yeah. Um, that’s the, the short version is my nest egg is going to fund that. Um, because of, uh, the, the roommates were paying in that act. That’s true. Plus I actually ended up going into a 401k and net now this time around after the nest egg pays off the, pays off the bathroom, know, redo, then the extra rent is going to go to replenish the nest egg again and they’ll go from there.

Andrew Kerr (23:06):

Awesome. Awesome. I mean, so I think this is just an incredible story where, I mean, you had so many challenges and you persevered and now you’re in such a better financial situation. I mean if you’re sort of thinking back through, you know, the last several years and also you know, your experience here with the house hacking, I mean, what do you think one of your biggest sort of successes were or or wins were over this period of time?

Ken (23:30):

The moment that I realized that the planet was actually working was in mid to late summer of 2018. I uh, um, it hasn’t taken me a couple of months to get, uh, to get leases signed. The for a true base to come in. And granted these were short term movements though they were willing to be staying for three months, but again, three months is three months. It’s better. And so just a little bit of celebration to welcome to the house. I ended up picking up a third cup, some roasts. Um, now you get a little bit of, um, what’s the word for, it’s a dry rub. Big ole coke big old dinner and we just sat down in the living room to a table and it just, all the weights of everything that had come before just really felt like it lifted. And I went to my biggest grin on my face. I’ll tell you.

Andrew Kerr (24:33):

Yeah, for pretty, pretty cool dinner to have and just sort of think back. I’m like, man, this actually started, this was really working out, you know, one thing you mentioned actually I want to ask you about, so you mentioned leases, so I noticed sometimes in room rental situations folks won’t actually do leases, but it sounds like you actually had your, your roommate tenants sign leases.

Ken (24:53):

I do. Um, I think it works really well also as a kind of VA’s screening in a sense. Like if someone is not willing to um, sign up anything before they’re having character references that I can call on employments in that I can call and verify then that they’re granted. I am not living in the nicest part of town. It’s a, it’s not particularly high crime or anything like that. It’s not like there’s murderers every other day or whatever. But in the, I am, I’m technically priced out of Denver County and to nearby Aurora Adams County. It’s a lower cost of living area. It’s still close, but it’s definitely not the greatest neighborhood. So in order to keep myself protected, did not just, um, not just my stuff, my own personal safety. Having somebody who put that kind of accountability on themselves to say, no, this is who I am, this is what I’m bringing in, these are the people who vouch for me. That is a, that is an absolute necessity for myself.

Andrew Kerr (26:02):

Yeah, I think that’s one of the perfect examples of like a screening tool. If you’re not willing to sign a lease, you’re obviously going to be a little shady. So it’s a great, great tool to have in there. You know, thinking back through this sort of house hacking and sort of changing around your financial situation, you know, what do you think one of your biggest challenges was? Or if there’s something you could go back and change and do differently, what might that look like?

Ken (26:27):

Marketing. Definitely, definitely marketing. It should not have taken me two, two and a half months to get someone into the, to see a room and it’s do a net to apply and to have a lease on it. We’ll definitely be using Zillow using more websites, advertising through the local hostel, down the street. For me. So far that has been the largest challenge by far. They, the close is a, is the marketing aspect.

Andrew Kerr (27:01):

Awesome. Yeah. I think that the more channels you can put your, your rental out at, the better success you have. And you know, my big approach is a shotgun approach. I tried to do all of them, like the Zillow, Craigslist, Facebook marketplace, as many as I can. I just think it increases my odds. So yeah, that, I think that’s a good lesson learned and thanks for sharing that with us. So I know obviously you, you, you’ve only, you bought the place in 2018. We’re here in, uh, end of October in 2019. But I mean, have you started to think about your, your next move? I mean, how long do you plan to stay in this house or would you do a another house hack again after this place?

Ken (27:40):

Yeah, there are. Um, right now there are two main projects that I want to put into the house and to make it a rent ready. If I were to move out and repeat the process, it’s another house. Um, I’ve, it’s definitely not out of the question. It’s definitely something that I’m thinking about that I’m pondering. But, um, it’s a, it’s more like a something five years down the road as it moves to next year or in the next two years. Um, my, my finances and my game plan for getting this house right ready just are not going to allow for that.

Andrew Kerr (28:21):

Cool. Well, I mean it sounds like it’s, it’s working out for you now and it’s cool that you’re already starting to think, you know, five years down the road, uh, for, for that next plan. I really appreciate you coming on and sort of sharing your story and especially some of the challenges that you had. I mean, I think it’s such a cool success story. You know, if we persevere and we don’t give up, we can really get ahead and I appreciate you being so open about your whole story, but before you go, what we’d like to do is ask all of our guests a set of final six questions we like to call this section “The Famous six.” So six questions, rapid fire succession. Are you ready for it?

Ken (29:00):

I’ll do my dangest.

Andrew Kerr (29:01):

Awesome. All right, so number one, what is your favorite personal finance blog book or podcast?

Ken (29:08):

So the three podcasts that I listened to them most are Stacking Benjamins, now Choose FI and Afford Anything. I don’t read a lot of blogs on. I drive all over the creation for my job. So podcasts are the way they are and I take my info.

Andrew Kerr (29:25):

Awesome. Yeah, I love the choose FI podcast. I’m only in I think around 60, 70 episodes. I just discovered at beginning of 2019. So it’s pretty cool knowing that they’re way out like episode 150 at this point where I can listen to two, three a week and I’m slowly getting caught up. Yeah, I love that one. Uh, so very similar. Question number two, what’s your favorite real estate related blog book or podcast?

Ken (29:50):

Hmm. I actually, the, I’m the only one that I listened to right now is a Denver Real Estate podcast. It’s by, um, you, Your Castle Real Estates because like politics, all real estate is local. Uh, I mostly want to listen to what locals are putting outs and uh, they, this guy has been putting out net contents fairly regularly for the past two and a half or so years and it’s definitely proven himself as a word for the shoulders.

Andrew Kerr (30:22):

That’s awesome that you have a podcast that’s such hyper focused on the Denver market. So that, that’s really cool. And I’ll be sure to link to that in the show notes along with the second bedroom of afford anything in, in choose FI for folks that want to find out more about those. All right. So number three, you know, what’s been your favorite travel destination that you’ve been to so far?

Ken (30:44):

Oh, some. I’m going to have to be a little bit of the rebel on this one. Um, I have lived in a lot of different areas and I’ve lived in North Carolina, Maryland, South Florida, and Washington state, Texas. Now Denver. Uh, I’m, I guess you could call myself a bit of a slow traveler. Frankly. My, I love living in the Denver Metro area. Um, I’ve traveled to a couple of places, but to be honest, I’m more interested in trying to set in roots and actually become a part of the neighborhood that I’m living in right now. Favorite destination is frankly not a priority for me right now.

Andrew Kerr (31:23):

Well, it sounds like you’re actually living in your favorite destination of Denver.

Ken (31:26):

Okay, sure. I’ll take that.

Andrew Kerr (31:28):

Awesome. All right. So then, uh, you might’ve just answered this question is, uh, you know, what sort of next on the horizon as far as like any travel vacation, uh, plans coming up over the next, uh, couple of years for you?

Ken (31:41):

Um, so yeah, plans for the next couple of years. Um, uh, I am going to need to focus on my career a little bit more. Um, I’ve recently switched jobs of doing the same kind of work in the foray in a different company and I’m also looking to pick up um, extra skills in geographic information systems. Now I currently work as a utility locator, which means I use maps of all the utilities that are buried that a specific company owns and I’d go around and run them out. I figured I can use that field experience and some prior computer experience that I’ve just picked up over the years and try to be a dual guy who can both be in the field and be in the back off is doing different things right now, growing my income, um, is my chief priority at this point.

Andrew Kerr (32:35):

Cool. I mean, I think the more skills we can build to make us more marketable, increase our pay is definitely a good thing and definitely someone that the focus on. All right, so number five is what is your biggest bucket list item that you haven’t accomplished yet?

Ken (32:50):

Let’s go with marriage. Let’s do that.

Andrew Kerr (32:52):

That’s a good one. That’s a good one. All right. Yup.

Ken (32:55):

Yeah. Never done that before. Um, I just haven’t found her yet. I’m looking forward to it.

Andrew Kerr (33:01):

Cool. Well that’s definitely a good, good a bucket list item to have and um, hopefully it comes up soon for you. So now number six in the final question is what is your sort of favorite life hack?

Ken (33:14):

So, um, I, this also ties back into my, uh, my current job. I currently drive a work vehicle, no company provide vehicle that I can take home with me. This is the one of the biggest things as far as keeping life expenses lower that I do not have to pay for gas, I don’t have to pay for insurance and I can not take a grocery grocery shopping that trip on the way home once in awhile. And uh, when I am not driving for work, my other vehicle has pedals. Um, so I have a bike and I take that everywhere. I use RTD communicating my transportation costs low is definitely something that’s, Oh, a beautiful story. When I first moved to Colorado back in 2010 I bought a bicycle, just a cheap Walmart deal and I ended up doing a 25 mile round trip my first weekend in Colorado in the middle of summer. You can’t do that on the East coast where I’m from. And so getting cycling and keeping some of these links into my, um, lifestyle routine is then important. And if for me, ever since,

Andrew Kerr (34:29):

Yeah, sounds like a really frugal when, I mean, you know, we’ve got some of the biggest expenses. We have our housing, auto, you know, healthcare and taxes and I mean you’re hacking your housing and you’re sort of hacking your auto cost. I mean super frugal winds. Definitely very cool life hack is to find the job that can actually give you the work vehicle and cover the gas. So awesome. Ken, again, I really appreciate you being on. Thank you again for, for your military service. Uh, really appreciate that as well and I appreciate you being just so open about your experience and I know it’s definitely gonna relate with some of the listeners that are having those financial struggles or had them and just slowly getting out of them. But I mean you, you had a huge turnaround in your financial picture and the fact that you were so open with it is awesome. So thank you again for being on. I really appreciate it

Ken (35:18):

And thank you for the opportunity to, to share my story.

Andrew Kerr (35:22):

Awesome. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it man.

Speaker 1 (35:28):

Thank you for listening to the house hacking podcast. For more up to date information on house hacking to access links and resources mentioned in today’s show. And connect with the guest and host head over to www.fibyrei.com that’s www.fibyrei.com where you are house hacking journey begins.

 

More:

If you are interested in room rental house hacking, check out these other room rental house hack episodes:

Room Rental House Hacking with Tiffany Alexy – https://fibyrei.com/room-rental-house-hacking-with-tiffany-alexy/

Room Rental House Hacking with Adam – https://fibyrei.com/room-rental-house-hacking-with-adam/

From Room Rental to Small Multifamily House Hacking with John and Tahseen –  https://fibyrei.com/from-room-rental-to-small-multifamily-house-hacking-with-john-and-tahseen/

Room Rental House Hacking in NYC with the Millers on FIRE – https://fibyrei.com/room-rental-house-hacking-in-nyc-with-the-millers-on-fire/

 

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.