Are you tired of spending too much on housing? What if you could live for free or even profit from your home? Doing a house hack is a smart real estate investing strategy because it allows you to reduce expenses and earn income through your property.

    Here’s how it works – my friend in California was spending $3k per month on rent without gaining any equity. So he’s buying a 3-bedroom house for $4k per month and renting out two rooms for $2k a month each.  This will slash his housing costs and build wealth through real estate.

    House hacking involves strategically buying a property and renting out part of it to cover your own housing costs. It can lead to big savings and extra income. You can consider house hack vs renting rooms as the same – the gist is to find ways to cover your own housing costs with rental income.

    Read on as I explore how house hacking works, different strategies, and the potential financial upsides. House hackers easily become real estate investors through this model. Read on to get started!


    • House hacking is a real estate strategy to cut living costs by renting out part of your property.
    • Strategies include renting rooms, Airbnb, multi-generational living, ADUs, house swapping, renting storage, and co-living.
    • Property types include multifamily units, single-family homes with extra space, condos or townhouses, and garage apartments.

    What is House Hacking?

    House hacking is a smart way to lower living costs and make money from home. This involves buying a property and renting out part of it to others.

    It can be a spare room, a basement, or even a separate apartment in the same house.  In Arizona, I see many people do this with their detached casitas.

    This strategy can reduce your monthly costs and can even make some extra money. It is a smart financial move for anyone looking to make extra cash from their home.


    House Hacking Strategies for Real Estate Investing

    House hacking lets you make the most of your home with rental real estate income.

    Here are some simple house-hacking strategies that can help you maximize your space and minimize your expenses:

    Hack 1:  Renting out a room

    If you have extra space in your home, consider renting a room to a tenant. It can help you offset your mortgage payments or cover other expenses by earning monthly rent.

    Just screen potential tenants carefully and set clear rules and boundaries.

    Hack 2: Airbnb or short-term rentals

    If you have a spare room or an unused area in your home, you can list it on platforms like Airbnb and earn extra income by hosting guests.

    It can be a flexible option that allows you to rent out your space on your terms.

    Hack 3: Multi-generational living

    Consider multi-generational living if you have family members who need assistance or want to live together. It will help with cost-sharing and promote closer relationships within the family.

    Hack 4: Accessory dwelling units (ADUs)

    Building an ADU, also known as a granny flat or in-law suite, on your property can provide an additional source of rental income.

    ADUs can be rented out to tenants or used as guest houses, providing extra flexibility.

    Hack 5: House swapping

    If you’re open to exploring new locations, house swapping can be a great option. You can exchange homes with someone in another city or country for a specified period.

    It can help you save on accommodation costs while experiencing a new place.

    You can use sites like Home Exchange or People Like Us to find homes to swap.

    Hack 6: Renting out storage space

    If you have extra storage space, like a garage or basement, you can rent it out to individuals or businesses looking for storage space. It can be a simple and passive way to generate extra income.

    Check out sites like Neighbor or Sparefoot which provide a platform to list your space.

    Hack 7: Co-living arrangements

    Co-living is becoming increasingly popular, especially among young professionals and digital nomads. Attract like-minded individuals and share expenses while enjoying community by creating a co-living space in your home.

    You can find potential roommates through sites like Coliving or SpareRoom.


    Research local laws and regulations and consult with professionals such as real estate agents, accountants, or lawyers before implementing any house hacking strategy.

    These experts can provide guidance specific to your situation and verify that you are making the right decisions.

    House hacking is a smart way to save money, generate extra income, and leverage your home as an investment.

    Take control of your housing expenses and improve your financial situation by exploring these strategies and finding the right approach.

    Benefits of House Hacking

    House hacking offers a range of benefits that can positively impact your financial situation and lifestyle.

    Let’s explore some of the advantages:

    Financial Benefits:

    • Reduced Living Expenses: You can significantly lower your living expenses by renting out part of your home. Your rental income can cover the monthly mortgage payment, property taxes, utilities, and even maintenance costs.
    • Rental Income: House hacking lets you earn rental income, which can provide an additional source of money to save, invest, or use for other financial goals.
    • Building Equity and Wealth: You are building equity in your property as you pay down your mortgage with the help of rental income. It can lead to increased wealth and financial security over time.
    • Mortgage Paydown: Renting out a portion of your home means tenants are helping to pay down your mortgage. It speeds up the process of becoming a homeowner and reduces your overall debt.
    • Appreciation: Real estate has the potential to appreciate over time. You benefit from rental income and any increase in property value when you house hack. It can further enhance your long-term financial gains.
    • Tax Advantages: House hacking may come with tax advantages, such as deducting certain expenses related to your rental income. Consult with a tax professional to understand specific deductions available in your area.

    Lifestyle Benefits:

    • Learning Property Management Skills: House hacking provides an opportunity to gain valuable property management skills. You will develop practical knowledge that can be applied to future real estate endeavors, from screening tenants to handling maintenance requests.
    • Potential for Long-Term Passive Income: House hacking creates an opportunity for potential long-term passive income. You can start a sustainable rental business that generates ongoing income without requiring your full-time attention if it’s done right.

    House hacking is a powerful strategy that can positively impact your finances and lifestyle.

    You can pave the way for a more secure and wealthy future by reducing living expenses, earning rental income, building equity, and developing property management skills.

    Drawbacks of House Hacking

    While house hacking can be a great strategy, it’s important to consider potential drawbacks before getting into it.

    Here are some common challenges to be aware of:

    • Lack of Privacy: Sharing your home with tenants or roommates means sacrificing some privacy. You’ll have less control over who enters your living space and may need to establish clear boundaries to maintain personal privacy.
    • Property Management Responsibilities: Being a landlord comes with responsibilities. You’ll need to handle tenant inquiries, address maintenance issues, and make sure that the property is well-maintained. It can be time-consuming and may require additional effort on your part.
    • Higher Initial Costs: Purchasing a property suitable for house hacking may require a larger down payment or higher upfront costs than buying a single-family home. Consider the financial implications of this as you plan your house hacking strategy.
    • Potential Tenant Issues: Dealing with difficult tenants can be challenging. Late rent payments, conflicts, or eviction can be stressful and time-consuming. Conduct thorough tenant screening to minimize the risk of tenant-related issues.
    • Limited Flexibility: House hacking may limit your flexibility to move or change your living situation. You may have to consider the impact on your living arrangements when making future decisions depending on the terms of your rental agreements or leases.
    • Market Dependency: Your house hacking venture’s success is tied to your area’s rental market. If the market experiences a downturn or an oversupply of rental properties, finding tenants or command higher rental rates may become more challenging.
    • Legal and Regulatory Considerations: Staying compliant with local laws and regulations can be complicated. It’s important to understand and follow applicable rental laws, zoning rules, and safety codes. Failure to do so can result in penalties or legal issues.

    Despite these challenges, many people find that the benefits of house hacking outweigh the downsides.

    Decide if house hacking is the right strategy for you by reviewing your circumstances and conducting research.

    How to House Hack?

    House hacking may seem challenging at first, but it can be a rewarding and successful endeavor with the right approach.

    Here’s a simple guide to get you started:

    1. Determine Your Goals:

    Start by clarifying your goals for house hacking. Are you looking to reduce living expenses, generate rental income, or both? Understanding your objectives will help shape your strategy.

    2. Choose the Right Property:

    Look for properties that have the potential for house hacking. Consider factors such as location, property type, and the rental market in the area.

    Work with a real estate agent specializing in investment properties to find options that align with your goals.

    3. Run the Numbers:

    Analyze the financials before making any purchase. Calculate your potential rental income and expenses, including mortgage, taxes, insurance, and maintenance, and estimate your cash flow.

    Confirm that the numbers make sense and align with what you want.

    4. Understand Local Laws and Regulations:

    Research local laws and regulations related to renting out properties in your area. It includes understanding zoning restrictions, rental permits, safety codes, and tenant rights.

    Compliance with these regulations helps you have a legal house hacking experience.

    5. Set Clear Rental Terms:

    Establish clear rental terms with your tenants, including rent amount, payment schedule, and rules or expectations.

    Have written agreements to protect both parties and have a smooth landlord-tenant relationship.

    6. Manage the Property Efficiently:

    Whether you manage the property yourself or hire a property management company, efficient management is important.

    Stay on top of maintenance and repairs, respond promptly to tenant inquiries, and keep accurate records of income and expenses.

    7. Continuously Evaluate and Adjust:

    House hacking is not a one-time event. Regularly evaluate your financials, monitor market conditions, and adjust as needed.

    It might include adjusting rent prices, making property improvements, or refinancing your mortgage to optimize cash flow.

    House hacking requires dedication, research, and ongoing effort. You can successfully implement this strategy and unlock the financial benefits of house hacking with the right mindset and proper planning.


    Property Types that are Best for House Hacking

    Several property types can work well when it comes to house hacking. Here are some options:

    Multifamily property:

    These buildings have multiple separate units, such as duplexes, triplexes, or apartment complexes. You can live in one unit and rent out the others, which helps cover expenses while maintaining your primary residence.

    Single-family homes with extra space:

    If you have a single-family home with additional bedrooms, a basement, or an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), you can rent out those spaces while still living in the main part of the house.

    Condos or townhouses with rental potential:

    Some condominiums or townhouses let you rent out rooms or units, making them suitable for house hacking. Just check any rules or restrictions the homeowner association (HOA) set.

    Garage apartments or granny flats:

    These are separate living spaces built above or behind a garage or as a standalone unit on the property. Renting out these spaces can generate income while you live in the main house.

    The best property for house hacking depends on your specific goals, budget, and local market conditions.

    Research and consider factors like location, rental demand, and potential rental income before deciding. Consulting with a real estate professional can also provide valuable guidance.

    Finding and Managing Tenants

    Finding and managing tenants is an important aspect of successful house hacking.

    Here are some simple steps to help you with this process:

    1. Advertise Your Rental: Start by creating an attractive rental listing. Take clear, well-lit photos of the space and write a detailed description highlighting its features. Advertise the rental on popular platforms like rental websites, social media, and local community boards.
    2. Screen Potential Tenants: Conduct thorough tenant screening to make sure that you will find reliable individuals when you receive inquiries from interested tenants. It may include checking their credit history, employment and income verification, and contacting previous landlords for references.
    3. Set Clear Rental Criteria: Set clear rental criteria upfront to avoid confusion or misunderstandings. Determine your expectations regarding rent payment schedules, pet policies, smoking restrictions, and other relevant factors. Communicate these criteria to potential tenants.
    4. Conduct Interviews: Once you’ve screened potential tenants, schedule interviews to get to know them better. Ask questions about their lifestyle, interests, and reasons for wanting to rent your property. It will help you see if they fit your space well.
    5. Create Written Agreements: Create a rental agreement or lease once you select a tenant. Clearly outline the rental terms, including rent amount, payment schedule, duration of the lease, and any rules or restrictions. Both parties should sign and keep a copy of the agreement.
    6. Maintain Open Communication: Build a positive landlord-tenant relationship with open communication. Respond promptly to tenant inquiries or concerns and address maintenance issues promptly. Regularly check in with your tenants to confirm that their needs are being met.
    7. Handle Rent Collection: Establish a clear process for rent collection. It could include setting up automatic payments, providing multiple payment options, or collecting rent in person. Consistency and clear communication about rent payment expectations will help avoid any misunderstandings.
    8. Address Maintenance and Repairs: It’s your responsibility to address maintenance and repair requests from tenants as the landlord. Promptly respond to these requests and take necessary actions to make sure that the property remains in good condition. Consider establishing a system for reporting and tracking maintenance issues.
    9. Be Fair and Respectful: Treat your tenants with fairness and respect. Follow fair housing laws and regulations regarding tenant rights and privacy. Maintain a professional relationship while being attentive to their needs.

    Find reliable tenants and manage your rental property effectively by following these steps.

    Good tenant selection, clear communication, and prompt attention to maintenance requests contribute to a positive landlord-tenant relationship and a successful house hacking experience.

    House Hacking Mistakes to Avoid

    Be aware of common mistakes that can hold back your success in house hacking. Here are some of the pitfalls to avoid:

    • Insufficient Research: Do thorough research on the market and the property you’re considering before getting into house hacking. Look at rental rates in the area, vacancy rates, and demand for rentals. And consider the potential for property appreciation. Proper research will help you make the right decision.
    • Skipping Due Diligence: Be sure to complete the due diligence process when purchasing a property for house hacking. Get an inspection to uncover any hidden issues that could cost you later. Review the investment property expenses and rental history.
    • Failing to Plan for Emergencies: Unexpected expenses can arise when owning a property. Set aside funds for emergencies such as repairs, vacancy periods, or unforeseen costs. Having a financial safety net will help you navigate any unexpected challenges.
    • Not Having an Exit Strategy: It’s important to have an exit strategy in case you need to sell the property or end your house hacking arrangement. Consider your long-term goals and how the property fits into them. Plan ahead to have a smooth transition if needed.

    Increase your chances of success with house hacking by avoiding these common mistakes. Remember to thoroughly research the market, carefully manage tenants, and plan for financial contingencies.

    House hacking can be a rewarding and profitable investment journey with proper preparation and a well-executed strategy.

    House Hacking Loans

    There are different loan choices to consider when financing your home. Each type has its own rules and requirements. Let’s take a look at four common options:

    FHA Loans

    The Federal Housing Administration backs FHA loans, which are a good option if you have a lower credit score or need more money to afford a big down payment.

    You’ll need a steady income and meet the lender’s credit requirements to qualify for an FHA loan.

    Conventional Loans

    The government does not back conventional loans. These loans usually require a higher credit score and a larger down payment than VA and FHA loans.

    Looking around for the best deal is important because lenders set the terms and requirements.

    Conventional loans are a good option if you have a strong credit history and can make a significant down payments.

    USDA Loans:

    USDA loans are designed for homebuyers in rural and suburban areas. The U.S. Department of Agriculture backs these loans.

    Your income should be within certain limits, and the property you’re buying must meet specific location requirements to qualify. USDA loans often require no down payment and have low interest rates.

    VA Loans

    VA loans are for veterans, active-duty military, and some National Guard and Reserve members. These loans are backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, making it easier for veterans to buy homes.

    You usually need a Certificate of Eligibility and meet specific service requirements to qualify. The great thing is that VA loans often require no down payment and come with competitive interest rates.

    The requirements for each loan can change, and different lenders may have slightly different rules. Talk to a mortgage professional or loan officer to help you find out which loan option best fits your unique situation.


    House hack is a real estate investing strategy that can help you make the most of your home and generate extra income. Cover your housing expenses or even make a profit by buying a property and renting out part of it.

    House hacking offers advantages but there are disadvantages to consider in your analysis as well.

    House hacking can be rewarding and profitable with proper research, careful planning, and effective tenant management.

    Consult real estate professionals and resources for guidance on how to get started and navigate the process successfully.


    House Hack FAQs

    Is house hacking legal?

    Yes, house hacking is generally legal. However, it’s important to follow any safety codes or regulations that apply to your specific area.

    Consult local ordinances and seek professional guidance to confirm your compliance with the law. Do thorough research and understand the rules and regulations before starting your house hacking journey.

    What is the difference between house hacking and traditional real estate investing?

    House hacking involves living in the property you are renting out, while traditional real estate investing involves purchasing properties solely for investment purposes without living in them.

    Can you house hack with an LLC?

    Yes, you can house hack with an LLC.  Just be aware of the advantages and disadvantages.  You can protect your assets and limit your liability in case of any legal issues related to the property by house hacking through an LLC.