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House Hacking: The Most Beginner-Friendly Way to Dip Your Toe in Real Estate?
For some, house hacking is the key to getting started in real estate; for others, it's just a smart way to build cash flow into an otherwise uncooperative rental market. Wondering how to get your foot in the door? Here's what you need to know.
What is House Hacking?
The term "house hacking" was coined by Bigger Pockets, but in general, the practice has been going on for as long as people have been owning and renting properties. House hacking refers to renting out a part of your primary residence. Generally, that means owning a duplex, triplex, or quadruplex, living in one unit, and renting out the rest. For some, it means renting out one or more rooms of a single-family residence. In an ideal scenario, house hackers can essentially live for free--allowing the rental income from the space they rent out to pay for the mortgage and maintenance of the entire property.
Why is House Hacking a Smart First Investment?
As with any investment, the viability of house hacking depends on the market in your area. But for many who want to get into real estate investing but haven't yet taken the plunge, it's a smart step.
An Accessible Way to Start Small
Step one: talk to a lender. If you can get pre-approved for a single family residence, you can get pre-approved for a duplex (or larger).
Already own a home? Consider renting out an extra bedroom, or finishing the basement to rent out as an ADU. And even if you don't net massive positive cash flow at first, you'll massively offset your own cost of living, while gaining valuable experience as an investor and property manager.