There’s no way around it: Buying a house is expensive. In fact, the average cost for a home in Guelph is now over $700,000. As housing becomes increasingly less affordable, creative home buyers – first time buyer, especially – have adapted and are finding new ways to own a home without breaking the bank. This is where “House Hacking” comes into play. It is a real estate trend that’s growing out of necessity, since many people find themselves living in cities where they are simply priced out of home buying.

What Is House Hacking?

Simply put, House Hacking is a strategy that involves renting out portions of your primary residence to generate income that is used to offset the cost of your mortgage and other expenses associated with owning a home. When done correctly, it allows people to live in expensive areas completely for free, or even generate positive income through home ownership. However, just like everything else in life, House Hacking does come with a cost. In order to save on the financial side, homeowners must be willing to take on a little more work and sometimes sacrifice a little creature comforts in the process.

Pros & Cons of House Hacking:

Pros

1. Cash Flow

This is one of the main benefits of house hacking rental properties. The extra income accumulated each month after all expenses have been paid. You can use your cash flow either to pay down your mortgage or to invest in additional properties. Unlike our list on how to save money, cashflow provides you with extra money

2. Financing

House hacking can also help when is comes to obtaining a mortgage for a multi-unit building. This is because the property is seen as owner-occupied since you are living in one of the units.

3. “Landlording”

With house hacking, many first-time home buyers and real estate investors can get valuable landlording experience with a relatively low amount of risk. This includes advertising your vacancy, tenant screening, tenant management, understanding rental agreements and contracts, dealing with unanticipated housing issues and repairs, negotiating with contractors, and bookkeeping.

4. Starting Point for New Real Estate Investors

Since you’ll be living in your property as your primary residence, all of the benefits of owner occupancy will be at your fingertips. House hacking is a great real estate investing strategy if you’re looking to take action immediately. Not only will you have a great pulse on your property, but you’ll also get a feel for everything it takes to expand your real estate portfolio down the line. After all, you won’t be able to occupy every real estate investment as a primary residence and get to learn through taking action

Cons

  1. You have to be a landlord

You don’t really have much of a choice. Whether you get roommates or rent out an entire unit, you have to act like a landlord. Not only do you have to act like a landlord but you need to be a legal landlord. Make sure you do some reading up on your local laws and make sure your lease agreement follows all laws. The Landlord and Tenant Board is a great resource for lease agreements and general information on landlord and tenant rights.

2. You live near or with your tenants

A typical landlord will not always live in the same area as their rental property. This creates some distance between them and their tenants. However, when house hacking, your tenants are simply a wall away. You may run into issues with a lack of privacy or never truly feeling “at home.”

3. You will likely have to give up part of your home

When house hacking, you will likely be required to give up a portion of your house. Whether you are renting out an extra room or have converted your basement into an apartment, these areas of your house will no longer be accessible to you.

4. It’s likely going to be a (more expensive) detached home. House hacking in a condo or townhouse where you share common walls with strangers isn’t really viable. In some cases, it’s not even permitted by a condo corporation or municipal by-law. Therefore, the best choice is a detached home, which, is also the most expensive type of home to buy.

Get in touch with Beth and Ryan to start your house hacking journey today!