House Hacking: Turn Your Housing Costs Into Profits!

Today, we’re going to get a little creative. 

With me, I have a special guest who will share insights into a strategy that, until now, I knew almost nothing about.

Our guest explains how he’s able to turn one of life’s biggest expenses – housing – into something that costs him absolutely nothing at all.

In fact, he actually lives in a nice house for free and turns a profit!  So, forget rent vs buy; because today we’re talking about House Hacking.

But don’t worry, this is not about sharing a poky apartment with 8 other people to save money! 

Instead, it’s about using some knowledge, creativity and effort to dramatically lower your cost of living and improve your savings rate.

This strategy won’t be for everyone.  But it should get all of us thinking about what’s possible and once again questioning the standard approach.  

 

Introducing our Guest:  Mr FIwithme

Mr FIwithme is a young teacher from Melbourne who is also a new blogger on the scene (you can find him at Come FI With Me).  With his partner, they’re pursuing Financial Independence for the purpose of freedom and having more choices in life.

But they also have a strong focus on philanthropy, and are pursuing this alongside their FI goal.  

Mr FIwithme reached out to me recently and we chatted about a few things.  I browsed his new blog and noticed something unusual in his spending update.  He was spending zero on housing!

Not only that, but he’s turned it into an additional income stream to propel him towards FI.  That’s an amazing outcome when you think about it.  Much lower living costs going out the door, PLUS an extra income stream coming in!

So, let’s dive in, pick his brain about how all this house hacking stuff works and see what we can learn…

 

Hey Mr FIwithme.  Thanks for joining us!  Can you tell us, in a nutshell, what is this House Hacking strategy of yours?

It’s quite simple.  I rent a house from the real estate agent, then I sublease the rooms individually.  I also provide some services to the housemates, such as cleaning, management of all bills, fixing things, and all liaising with the real estate agents. 

Because the rent that I pay for the total house is less than what I get for the rooms combined, I end up in the green.  It’s just like if I were to buy a 5 pack of doughnuts for $5, eat one for myself, then put icing on the remaining four and sell them for $2 each. I’d end up with $8 – $5 = $3 profit, plus a doughnut! 

 

Great analogy!  So, how did you get into it?  And what gave you this idea in the first place?

I have lived in share houses for many years.  Last year, our landlord decided to sell the house and put us onto a month-to-month lease. 

All my housemates moved out because they didn’t want the uncertainty of month-to-month, but I stayed on and negotiated a 6-month lease, taking on the full lease myself.  I then subleased all of the rooms at cost price (so I was paying the same as everyone else and wasn’t making any money).

I rented the rooms at cost price because I wanted to be fair.  But I soon found that despite us all paying the same, I was doing the majority of the work; dealing with the agent, managing the bills, cleaning the kitchen, taking out the rubbish, gardening, etc.

It was me who had to find new housemates when some suddenly left, and I was covering the rental shortfall when this happened too.  I also had to fight off the new owners and their lawyers when they put in a false claim that there was asbestos in the house to try to kick us out before the 6-month lease!

In short, I was doing a lot of work and not getting any compensation for it.  I realised I may as well make it official and set up my next share house with me as the head tenant and ‘house manager’. 

 

The Benefits of House Hacking

What kind of difference has this made to your housing costs and ability to save?

The numbers:  I rent a 5 bedroom house for $550 per week, and I rent out the 4 rooms that I don’t live in for a combined $785 (not including bills).

This means that each week (when the house is fully tenanted) I’m up $235, plus I save what I’d usually be spending on a cheap room myself, putting the total benefit to me at a bit over $350 per week. 

There are costs that I bear out of this, like I just bought a second-hand washing machine for the house yesterday, I’ve organised a heap of the kitchen appliances, etc. But I’ve kept receipts for all of these purchases and they’re tax deductible so that helps too.

 

How profitable can this strategy be?  And are there other benefits besides financial?

It’s not about maxing out the profitability.  It’s more about finding the right property then renting out the rooms at a price that is fair for the sub-tenants and worthwhile for myself.

The prices I’ve set for the rooms are market rates (around $200 for a good sized room with air-con, $150 for a smaller room), and it’s a nice modern spacious house with three bathrooms. 

The first non-financial benefit is how I now feel differently about all the things I used to do for free: manage the real estate agent, pre-pay all the bills then calculate and collect from the housemates their portions, clean up the kitchen, take out the trash, etc.

Now that I’m providing this stuff as a service for the housemates, and I’m being adequately compensated for the time, I’m totally fine, and even happy to do it!

It’s also enabled me to help other people from feeling put out or taken advantage of too.  For example, my experience (generalisation) is that in share houses, it’s often the women who end up doing a lot of the cleaning and the guys slack off.

This started happening in my house with a female tenant, so I’ve started to pay back some of her rent at the end of each month as a thank you for her help with the cleaning.  This keeps her happy and also helps me to keep the house in good order. 

Another final benefit is reduced house politics.  In houses with no clear manager, someone ends up doing the work for free, which causes resentment, and then there are always ‘house meetings’ and debates about who is going to clean what, who manages which bill, etc.

It’s also hard to find a new tenant, because you need to go through all these interviews and find times when everyone can be there, then debate who will be the best new tenant.  It’s just a mess.  I’ve found this approach much clearer and more harmonious for everyone.

 

The Risks of House Hacking

What would you say are the main risks involved?

The first is financial.  Renting out the house and not being able to fill the rooms.  It took me about a month to fill all the rooms, so I was footing the bill for the whole house for that time.

I then had someone move out in the middle of the pandemic (they went back to their home country due to the virus) and again I had to cover costs until I was able to find a replacement.  I’ve also had to cover some of their utility bills that have come through since they moved out.

They’ve helped with this a bit, and it isn’t like they tried to dodge these bills after they moved out, but I covered for them because they had to move out due to financial hardship.  It seemed like the right thing to do given our relative situations and the fact that the house provides me with a buffer with which to cover things like this.

The potentially bigger risk is that you end up with one or more people in the house who are super hard to manage or disrespectful of other housemates.  You can put measures in place (reference checks, contracts) but there’s no way to 100% avoid this.

I haven’t experienced this as yet, which I expect is a mix of good planning and good luck.  But I’m not going to pretend that it will never happen to me.

 

Is there a certain type of person or skill set this is best suited to house hacking? 

Yes, this approach definitely wouldn’t work for everyone.  You have to be assertive and a good communicator.

I act as a mediator between the housemates and have on several occasions had to speak to people about appropriate use of the public spaces, either out of my own initiative or prompted by one of the other housemates.

If you don’t feel comfortable having these kinds of conversations, this isn’t the right approach for you.  You also need to be financially savvy and have a bit of general-purpose nouse.

You need to develop ways to split the bills that are fair and match the situation, be on top of all the payments, communicate with the real estate agent, put in place contracts with your sub-tenants, etc.

Splitting bills in particular can get quite complicated when people move in and out and you’re splitting costs across different people with split time periods.  Anyone who feels comfortable in a management role that requires a mix of financial and people skills would be a good fit.

Finally, I definitely wouldn’t try this if you haven’t lived in a sharehouse before.  I’d been in six different share houses over eight years before trying house hacking.  You need to know how things in a share house work, and have a good basis of understanding for shared living before jumping in. 

 

Getting Started with House Hacking

How can someone get started with this strategy?

The best guide for whether or not you’re ready to get started is your own sense of preparedness to take this on. 

I was nervous at the outset, especially about not being able to fill the rooms.  But taking a good look on Gumtree and Flatmates.com it seemed like there would be decent demand and I was willing to take the risk.

It’s also important to model the downside too, think to yourself, ‘How much would I be paying out of pocket if I could only fill one room?’ and that kind of thing.  Try to get a sense of how you’d feel in a worst case scenario and whether it would be overwhelming for you.

The other key thing is being clear with the real estate agent about what you’re doing, and try to cultivate a relationship with them wherever you currently are.

For example, in my prior rental in which I was acting as manager but paying cost price, I was very helpful to the real estate agents whilst they were trying to sell the house. 

I was really accommodating with letting them bring people through to check the place out, always kept it neat and tidy, and was really friendly to all involved.  And it goes without saying that I always paid rent on time. 

Real estate agents like good tenants, so when that lease was up they asked me, “Do you need another place and what are you looking for?”  So I gave them my requirements, which included specifying a few suburbs and locations, adding, “I need it to have the same number of hundreds in the weekly rental price as it does rooms” (e.g., $400ish for a 4 bedroom, $500ish for a 5 bedroom, etc).

Within about 10 minutes they got back to me with a property, and within a couple of days I’d checked out the place and signed the lease (after re-negotiating the rental period).

I will note that the house I’m in now is only a short-term situation.  The landlord here wants to sell too.  But I was happy with that because the return over the 9-month lease was enough to justify the inconvenience of likely moving again soon.

The takeaway from all this is to be a good tenant, a good housemate, and a good manager.  If these three factors align, you should be able to get started with house hacking.

 

Okay, what about tenants?  Is it better to do this with strangers or friends?

Three of the rooms here are filled with strangers and one with a mate from uni (distant mates, not super close).  The main thing is to be fairly transparent with everyone, and even more open with friends.

With all tenants, I clearly mentioned when we met that I act as the house manager, and perform all the management duties and take on all of the risks so that they don’t have to.

I wouldn’t suggest going into numbers, but they should get the impression that you are making money, or at least saving rent yourself, on the property.  And they should feel that this is a fair trade for the time and stress that they save. 

With friends, be even more open.  The way I brought my mate on board was, we just bumped into each other at the pub.  He mentioned he was looking for a room, and I mentioned I had one free. 

He was interested and we talked about where it was, etc.  Then I said very clearly that I was setting up the house for a place to make money and as a side hustle. 

I said to him, “Just to be clear, if you move into this house I will be making money off you.”  He was fine with that and still through it was a good deal, so we went from there. 

 

How exactly do we go about advertising and getting sub-tenants?

Just on Gumtree and Flatmates.com.  One person has come through Flatmates and the others through Gumtree.

You can find links to the advertisement copy that I used in the cross-post on my site, as well as the emails I sent to people to request info (e.g., reference checks, bank statements, etc).  You don’t want to skimp here. 

Then I just met people and got a sense for what they were like.  I recommend going for quieter people who don’t drink or party much.  Checking references is important in some situations.  Asking for referees, even if you don’t call them, also helps to set a professional tone.

When it comes time to choose housemates, I have two main bits of advice. 

1.  Don’t be impatient.  You need to wait until you have a good feeling about someone before you let them sign on.  Don’t let the fact that you want the money rush you into signing someone on. 

Waiting for another two weeks and footing the bill is much better than signing on the wrong person and having to deal with potentially months of issues.

2.  Pay to keep your ad at the top of Gumtree.  I wasn’t doing this for about three weeks and I had limited interest.  As soon as I paid for the sponsored ad, I got about 5x the requests and was able to fill the rooms quite quickly.

 

Choosing A Property and Key Aspects

How do you find the right properties for this house hacking strategy?  And which locations are best suited?

As mentioned, the golden rule for a profitable house hack is to ensure that the total cost price of the house has the same (or less) number of hundreds in its weekly rent as there are rooms.

Second, ensure it’s close to public transport, walkable to shops and ideally, a University.  The people you’ll be renting to will most likely not have a car.  So, get onto google maps, put yourself in their shoes, and see if you’d be happy to live there if you had to commute to town for work, or do your shopping on foot. 

 

In your view, what are the most important aspects to understand before diving in?  

Aside from all the points we’ve covered above for house hacking to be profitable, and the personal skills you need to make it work, there’s one other thing I’d like to emphasise… Don’t be a dick!

House hacking puts you in the position of landlord, and this is also a position of power. 

There may come times that the people you have as sub-tenants experience financial difficulty, emotional distress or other similar challenges.  When this happens, put yourself in their shoes and don’t do to them what you wouldn’t want the landlord to do to you. 

Interestingly, since I’ve been in this current house, I’ve found it much easier to not be a dick (than in the previous house where I was renting out each room at cost price).

When I didn’t have any financial buffer between the rent I collected and the rent I paid, I was super stressed out about people not paying on time and would be on their backs about it.

Now that I know that there’s a buffer, I feel like I have space to be a more compassionate head tenant.  For example, one of the housemates lost their job due to COVID and couldn’t get any government support as they weren’t an Australian citizen. 

I told them that no matter what, they wouldn’t be out on the streets because they couldn’t pay rent, and that if we needed to we could re-negotiate reduced rent for as long as they couldn’t find work.

They were very grateful for this as they were feeling really stressed.  It felt good to be in the position to be able to help out. 

I’d encourage anyone house hacking to approach it this way, and it aligns with an overall goal of pursuing FI ethically, and it aligns with our ethical stock portfolio for FIRE, and our approach to regular donations too.

 

Do you have an end goal in mind here?  Or are you happy doing it as long as the payoff is healthy and you’re getting rewarded for something you’re good at?

I very nearly bought a house last year.  In November, I withdrew my savings from the First Home Super Saver Scheme.

I found a great house, found a builder to do it up, got financing, and was willing to pay a price higher than what it eventually went for at auction.  But after a lot of reflecting, I decided not to pull the trigger. 

I’ve run the numbers time and time again, and reflected upon what’s important to me.  I’ve come to the conclusion that at this point in my life, the potential for leveraged growth through a property just doesn’t outweigh the benefits I get from the freedom of renting, and we can reach our FI goal either way.

Ever since I discovered house hacking, those house-buying benefits seem even smaller.  I may buy a house at some point, but it won’t be until I’m really ready to settle down, and I don’t anticipate that will be within the next 10 years even.  Until then, I’ll try to keep house hacking.

 

If you had to sum up your strategy in a few sentences, what would you say?

Here are the key takeaways:

  • Look for a property with the same number of hundreds in the weekly rental prices as there are bedrooms (eg. $400 per week for 4 bedrooms)
  • Close to public transport and shops (walking distance)
  • Know yourself and only take it on if you’re confident in your financial, management, and people skills
  • Do your homework (set up contracts, check references, etc)
  • Be fair, and don’t be a dick!

Good luck on your house hacking journey!

 

Dave’s final thoughts

Wow, this is certainly an interesting way to approach housing!

The numbers still blow me away.  It’s not something I’d ever considered personally (maybe I wasn’t smart enough to think of it!).  But it’s another great example of how our living costs and savings rate are more within our control than we tend to believe.

I think framing it as a side hustle is useful, because it does take work.  But as we can see from this post, if you approach house hacking in the right way, you’ll be very well rewarded!

I hope you enjoyed this collaboration on House Hacking!  Do you have any questions about this strategy for Mr FIwithme?  Post in the comments and with any luck he’ll stop by to answer them for you 🙂

 


** Reminder:  Pearler (the new FI-focused stockbroker I mentioned recently) is looking for more investors to test their platform and give feedback.  Currently, Pearler is early stage and invite-only. 

I’ve been using them this year and trying out Auto-Invest – where you setup direct debit to automatically invest in ETFs, LICs and more.  No other broker has this feature, and it’s pretty cool! 

Trades are $9.50 (for purchases up to $17,500) and they’re working on other exciting things which can’t be revealed yet.  If you’d like to join Pearler and try Auto-Invest before doors officially open, go here.

Note:  I like Pearler and what they’re doing so I decided to sign up as an affiliate partner.  As such, this blog earns a small referral fee if you choose to sign up using the link above.

28 comments

  1. House hacking sounds like a clever idea, but it’s not for me. I’m way past the share-house stage of my life anyway, and didn’t really enjoy it for the 1 year I did it.

    Pearled sounds cool they – are they wanting beta testers to buy real shares with real money? I’ve just signed up to SelfWealth this week (with your referral link, so 5 more free trades coming your way Dave!) and don’t currently have much spare cash to test invest with. Is it worth me signing up for Pearler or not really?

    1. Haha that’s fair enough – sharing and house hacking isn’t for everyone, but can be quite effective as a housing strategy!

      Yes, Pearler is very much live buying with real money – it’s just invite only as they continue to improve the platform before opening officially. Given you’ve just started with SW, prob easier to continue there. If you decide later you’d like to try Pearler and do automatic investing, then you can always give that a go.

  2. How does house hacking work with Insurance?
    Do you need to take out special insurance to cover damage to the property if the house mates cause damage?
    I looked at doing a AirBNB a few years back with a spare room in my own house. I could not find an anyone that would insure the risks. The insurances would not accept any claims if the people were not relavites or on the lease.

    1. Hi Nat Gee, not sure about house hacking but in the case of AirBnB there is an in-built insurance. Check out AirBnB’s “host guarantee.”

    2. Hi Nat.

      I haven’t taken out any specific insurance. My understanding is that the scenario is just the same as if I were in a rental, I had a friend come around, and they broke something. If it was standard wear and tear then the landlord would pay for it (which has happened, e.g., a door handle just stopped working recently and he took care of it). In other cases, it’s up to me and my ‘friend’ to work out how to pay for it. So far one of the housemates broke one of the sinks, and he was good enough to pay for it. That’s also stated in the contract I have with them. I’ve selected what I deemed as good people to live with, and I try to be fair and reasonable too. In the end I something really bad could happen, and I could get sued, but that’s the case in lots of areas of my life, not just my living arrangement.

      Thanks for your question : )

  3. I house hack and I have found the numbers to be much better than this with the house I have bought. I rent out two rooms and a caravan out the back. This grosses $535-$550 per week. The actual house expenses are about half of that meaning I clear just over $1k per month and get my housing expenses for free… 🙂 Pretty much instant FI. (Once you have the house deposit anyway.)

    Also with insurance it depends on the state. WA is pretty lenient but NSW and Vic are a bit stricter. They are classified as borders rather than tenants in WA from what I’ve read.

    1. Wow Phil that’s an incredible setup! You aren’t bothered with the possible CGT rule since it’s your own house?

      1. Not really. I don’t plan on selling my place anytime soon. Also unlikely to be much in the way of capital gain here why I live.

  4. I am concerned about the risk of strategy from insurance.
    I heard about something similar to this years ago and I found it was not possible to be fully insured around the risk.
    The scenario that came up was what happens if you have a fire and someone dies or get injured. How are you covered?

    I was looking to rent out a room through Airbnb at the time which was around 2016. So things could have changed.
    It was my PPOR and I had a home loan. Speaking to the insurance company they do 3 types of insurance. Building and Contents, Strata Insurance and Land Lord insurance.
    None of these policies would fully cover the risk. Standard Building and Contents would not apply as the place was being rented as holiday accommodation. As it was just a house and not part of a complex with body corporate, they could not offer strata insurance. Landlord insurance did not apply as these were not tenants names were not on the lease and it was not being managed by an agency. If I was subletting they wanted an additional excess and my home loan had to be an investment based loan. Subletting was not an option if you were an owner-occupiers when I was looking. I also discovered the capital gain may apply if I ever sold the house as I had partly used an investment.

    If I had rented out the room, I would not have any coverage if the fire was caused by the person or public liability if they were injured.

    In the article, MR FIwithMe is doing this a renter. I could not see how he could get personal and public liability against himself to cover death or injury to someone his is subletting too.

    Dave, I am not trying to bag your or the article. I just think before you jump into this you should make a call to your insurance company to make sure you a going to be covered. Even if you are not the owner of the property. I would be keen to better understand Mr FIwithMe thoughts on this risk.

    1. Hi Nat. Hopefully I answered this question in my previous comment. Seems like you’ve done some deep thinking about this issue. That’s great.

      I guess it comes down to risk tolerance and cost benefit for the individual involved.

      Lots of people seem to rent out rooms through AirBnB these days, so I guess there are a good number of people out there who seem to think that it’s worth the risk (or they just haven’t adequately considered the impact of tail-end risks!). Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

      1. Thanks, MRFIWithMe for taking the time to reply. It got me thinking about this again. I decided to call my insurance company to see what has changed from 2016 to 2020. Below are the notes from my call, I hope this detail helps people make a more informed choice. The details below is based on you subletting a place you are renting and that you have permission from the landlord.

        Land Lord Risk (Property Owner) , If the Land lord decides to this. They must confirm that they don’t sublet the house/apartment beyond a safe number of residents. E.g. if the place allows 6 people if they must not allow more people than this. This will vary per state and be based on size of the place. The house must have smoke detectors and they must be serviced by a company with evidence. Landlord can be at risk of being sued if they do not action any repairs in a timely fashion. Damage to the property will have a higher excess for common areas e.g. Kitchen, deck (Did not really explain why). You must also have documented evidence saying you have approved the sublet. Loss of rent can only be claimed against the person on the lease. The people who are sublet to must not be on any rental blacklist. If the property has been sublet to someone on the a black list no coverage. Locks and keys to the property must be changed each time the sublet changed with locksmith receipts. This is only required if a claim is made around break and enter. The head renter also must meet the below in screening and selecting sublets. If this has not been met no insurance.

        Head Renter (House Hacker)
        You must make the same checks that an agent would make in screening a tenant. This includes checking tenant databases etc. You also have duty of care that your are not putting the person under financial stress and that they can afford it. If the place has a body corporate you must also get written permission from them if the sublet people are going to use any shared facilities e.g pool, gym.

        You must not make any modifications to the property e.g adding extra rooms, blocking doorways, the condition of the property must match the inspection report when subletting. Any repairs must to reported to the landlord ASAP. You can be sued (low probability) if you did not report issues to the landlord e.g lose railing, faulty PowerPoint. You are responsible for making sure the house is safe at all times. It is recommended that you have fire extinguishers and a fire plan. You can also be sued if something was not safe and you did not take reasonable steps to resolve e.g Floor was wet from a leak and you did not mop up or put cones etc.
        You are responsible for all damage. If the damage is related to asking someone to leave. You also show that you adhered to a process if you are evicting or removing a sublet.

        The landlord can seek damages from you if you did not comply with the above. You can get your own contents insurance with public liability to be sure. This also may be tax deductible esp if the contents are shared amongst house mates.

        AirBNB is okay, provided you did not go outside of this platform. You must also not double dip on both insurances. They can take account any payment you get back from AirBNB insurance if you make a claim.

        My overall impression is the house hacker must follow the same process and guidelines that property manager uses. I think this could be very tiring and difficult to keep up with legislation. I think there are risks but I think they are manageable if you are keen and prepared to do the work. I still think if you are going to do this making a call to an insurance company is a valuable step. Just speaking to them and getting the above gave me lots to think about.
        Thanks Again MRFIwithMe and Dave

  5. What a creative way to tackle housing costs. I had heard of heaps of Americans doing it but I didn’t think it was a thing in Aus! So glad people are taking advantage, might not be for me, but all power to anyone doing it!

  6. It’s an interesting strategy, and I’ve actually been on the other side of a version of this. Unfortunately the version that I was on the other side of was me paying a much bigger share of the overall rent, the other people not managing anything, and basically just me subsidising their rent for no gain. They also hadn’t disclosed that they were going to be paying a much lower rent than I was. Oh and they monopolised all the common areas of the house, refused to pitch in for any of the joint chores, had their friends sleeping over in the common areas for a while, and were generally just not good housmates.

    All that being said there is nothing wrong with the actual strategy, although I do think that being transparent about it is absolutely crucial as well as providing an actual service rather than scamming people for subsidised rent. Which it sounds like Come FI With Me is doing in which case I have no problem with it.

    1. Damn mate that doesn’t sound like a great experience as a sub tenant. I think the way in which someone goes about it is crucial, by what they’re charging and generally how they’re treating all involved. I suppose some people would unfortunately approach it just like a heartless cash machine to crank the levers on.

  7. It probably depends a bit on what state you live in, but I’d be quite concerned about the potential legal issues around what appears to be an informal arrangement (even if the real estate agent knows about it). No matter how good a relationship you have with the real estate agent, they’re running a business and, if they can get away with avoiding liability for something going wrong, they will. As far as building and public liability insurance goes, I’d imagine that would sit with the property owner rather than the tenants, though, and I’d expect each individual would arrange their own personal contents insurance. You’d want to be sure the insurance company would pay a claim, though, if your name isn’t on the lease and isn’t on any of the utility bills.

  8. Couple of things here….

    Subletting without permission is illegal in a Australia, and you can be kicked out on 14 days notice. It’s also pretty poor form – how would you like to have anyone you haven’t vetted in your house?

    Once you have permission, you would want to be very careful about insurance, especially public liability. Items stolen by people living there are not covered by your contents insurance.

    Anything happens there you will potentially be liable for, especially if say someone is electrocuted by your kettle.

    Typically once done properly with permission, you as head tenant are still liable for all damages.

    Whilst it all sounds nice and rosy – and it can be very effective if done properly, if not done properly it could financially ruin you very, very easily.

  9. We actually did do that for 3 years ( and we were in our 40s) in our own house a couple of years ago. What we had learned:
    – On average every person stayed 9 -10 months , which means there were some months we had 1 or none extra people. We also gave ourselves 2 months break every year.
    – As a female ( as author pointed) I ended up doing most cleaning , which I ended up preferring .
    – We never asked for extra bills so we didn’t have to chase them .
    – it covered our mortgage but not rates.
    – I VASTLY prefer strangers to friends .this way if issues arise it’s professional, no emotions involved.
    – We were picky so people we chose we ok and some became friends.
    – As most people are not mustachians, most don’t bother with conserving water or electricity so once aircon broke we no longer provided it , only fans.
    – I would do it again , on and off, with breaks in between.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience Elena, good to hear from someone else who has done it. Having breaks in between tenants is an interesting point. Probably a good idea to enjoy a balance of your own space vs sharing.

    2. Sounds like it worked really well for you Elena and you learnt some great lessons that you can employ if you’re keen to do it again : )

      Seems as though you were doing in your own place also (you mentioned it covered the mortgage). I hadn’t thought much about how practicing with ‘house hacking’ now acts as ‘practice’ for me for if/when I eventually decide to buy. I guess nothing stopping me from carrying on a similar arrangement if I ever own a place for myself in future.

      Thanks for sharing!

      FWM.

      1. Before we’ve done so called ” house hacking” ( ha ha it was always called having boarders) we started hosting people for free via couchsurfing community. We met so many wonderful people who loved travelling as much as we did.
        During the same time we sold our big house and decided to downsize and pursue FI ( without knowing about FIRE).
        We rented for a short time ( 7 months) between houses so thought, why not get a boarder?
        We asked landlord for permission, they said yes and we only had one housemate.
        When we bought the next house we waited 12 months to satisfy owner occupier requirements and then went full bore, filling out all rooms!!

        1. That’s great Elena. Sounds like a wonderful way to get into it.

          I’m a long time couchsurfer too! Met so many people through CS, it’s a fabulous community!

          Sounds like you’ve got a great set up in your new house with all the rooms full too. Congrats : )

          FWM.

  10. I don’t quite understand this post and what on earth Mr FIwithme is doing here. He is effectively already FI, by the sounds of it. I saw mention of having permission from the agent, but I did not see any mention of having permission from the landlord. Is the landlord privy to this? “House hacking” sounds like something that is all hunky dory and fine… until it’s not.

    “House hacking” certainly isn’t to my taste. My own space, privacy and sanity is worth more than all the money in the world. We are all here for a very limited time and it surprises me the lengths some folks will go to for money, money, money. Each to their own…

    Dave has it sorted the best out of any Aussie FI blogger that I have seen and I think I’ve pretty much seen them all. Dave is the only one living a truly enviable lifestyle out of the whole lot of ’em. He has worked out the concept of “enough” and doesn’t need to sacrifice his privacy or space for ever more money.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *