Multi-family house hacking is incredibly effective tactic you can use to live for free.
But what if you don’t actually want to live in a multi-family property?
What if you have your heart set on living in a classic, suburban, detached single-family home?
The good news is – there is more than one way to come up with your monthly mortgage payment. Housing is the largest expense faced by nearly everyone, so eliminating (or at least reducing) it can have a great potential impact on your savings rate.
Here are seven ways to have someone else cover a size-able portion (if not all) of your housing payment, so you can put more of your money towards investments (or your 1980’s action figure collection, or your prize-winning purebred dog, or whatever else floats your boat)!
1. Bring in a Foreign Exchange Student
My partner, Deni Supplee, faced this very dilemma: she and her husband loved their suburban single-family home, and didn’t want to go anywhere. But their children had all moved out, and both the house and the mortgage payment were, well, big!
So she got creative. Deni and Jerry missed having children in the house, and wondered if there was a way to temporarily offer a home to other children while being compensated for the work and expense.
After some research, she found a foreign exchange student placement service that offered an attractive monthly stipend to host families (message me at brian “at” sparkrental.com if you want more details about the service she used). The placement company screened Deni and Jerry (to make sure they weren’t axe murderers), and paired them with Alex, a 15 year-old Chinese exchange student.
It’s proven a win-win: the foreign exchange student placement service now pays over half of their (hefty) mortgage, and the house has come back to life with a young person sharing it with them!
2. Bring in a Housemate
I’ve done this myself. I bought my first home as a single man, but had no intention of making the mortgage payment all by my lonesome.
After advertising on Craigslist for a housemate, I met Erika: a clean, fun, personable young woman who enjoyed good wine and bad jokes as much as I did (and do!). We spent a wonderful three years living together before my then-girlfriend, now-wife Katie moved in, and Erika met her now-husband and moved out.
Erika paid nearly three-quarters of my mortgage payment, and she was still paying under-market rents. Her payments freed up my money to buy other rental properties.
Since then, we’ve remained close friends, and the four of us even traveled to Italy together. There are plenty of roommate horror stories out there, but with comprehensive screening, you might be fortunate enough to find both a lifelong friend AND help with your mortgage.
3. Rent Out Storage in Your Garage
Have a detached garage? Why not rent it out?
Deni has done this one as well. Sure, it was full of the usual garage junk, like most people’s garages – but over one weekend, she picked the items that she couldn’t live without, and moved them to her basement.