The cost of housing has skyrocketed in many markets across the United States, making it a challenge for most people to save money. In this article, I’m sharing three creative ways to live rent/mortgage free while still building wealth.
1. House hack a multi-family property
The number one strategy for building wealth in real estate is house hacking. In fact, I’ve earned almost $1,000,000 by using this strategy to build my rental portfolio. What is house hacking? It’s a strategy where you get most, if not all, of your monthly housing payment paid for. The most common way to do this is by having rental income from tenants pay for the mortgage.
Another benefit of buying a multi-family property and using the rental income to cover the mortgage payment is that you only have to live there for one year to meet conventional and FHA loan requirements, meaning you can live there for one year and then move out and hold on to the property for years!
A third benefit is loan efficiency. Currently, lenders allow ten conventional loans per person up to four units, meaning you could purchase ten fourplexes for a total of forty units.
A fourth benefit is the low down payment options available to owner-occupants. Currently, FHA loans are 3.5% down, VA is zero down, and conventional loans offer 3-20% down.
My husband and I lived in one half of a duplex from 2010 to 2009. At the time of purchase, the mortgage payment was around $1300 per month, and our tenant next door was paying $800 per month in rent, leaving only $500 per month for our housing expense.
We still own that duplex today, and the value has doubled from $196,000 to $400,000. Even better, this property earns us $10,000 per year in net cash flow.
2. Short term rental alternative
This is another example of a house hacking strategy, and several investors in our community have had great success in reducing their monthly housing expenses by offering part of their property for short term lease on Airbnb or VRBO.
If you were to purchase a property with a mother-in-law unit or finished basement, you may be able to earn more rent by offering the space to short term tenants.
Another idea that an agent partner of ours from Texas does is rent out RV’s on her property for short term tenants. She earns $85 per night for each RV (she has two on the property) and the rent from those two RV’s covers her entire mortgage payment!
3. Become an on-site apartment manager
Did you know that there are apartment complexes out there that are too small to have a full-time property manager on site, yet still require an on-site manager? These vary from 10 to 50 units.
Back in 2008, I moved out of the first house I owned and decided to rent with my good friend Breanne. We were hoping to save money since she was a full-time student and I was saving for the next investment property, so I came up with the idea that we should be on-site managers for reduced or free rent.
Breanne happened to call a small apartment complex in Lake Stevens, WA, and told them what we were looking to do and it just so happened to be that they were looking to replace their current on-site managers who were moving. The complex was only 12 units so while they did not offer us free rent, we received a reduced rent of half the normal rate.
The job was easy, all we had to do was show vacant units to prospective tenants, collect the rent checks from the dropbox and complete a move out checklist when tenants left. I have several other friends who have been on-site managers at 20+ unit complexes and live rent-free.
Here at Addicted to ROI we design the life we want using real estate as our vehicle.
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