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Interested in investing in real estate but can’t find anything affordable in your market? Would you like to own a home close to your job but the mortgage would dominate your entire budget and leave you with nothing left to spend on transportation, entertainment, or savings? You’re not alone.

As homes become increasingly less affordable in many US cities, many Americans have elected to buy further away from work in hopes of saving money and helping to prepare for retirement. While this may look good on paper, the results are often much worse than expected. Higher gas costs, vehicle maintenance costs, and lost productivity sitting in long commutes have an often unforeseen adverse effect on people’s budgets.

Is there a way to live where you want and still hit your savings goals? The answer for many is to “wait for the next market crash” before they buy. Even if that’s a decent strategy, when is that going to be? What do you do about rising rents every year in the meantime? There is a secret savvy and creative people have used to live in the best areas and still save money-House Hacking.

House Hacking is a term used to describe the strategy of using parts of your primary residence to produce revenue that will offset your monthly housing expenses. When done well, it can greatly reduce, or even completely eliminate, housing costs. When you factor in greatly decreased transportation costs like gas, car insurance, vehicle wear and tear, and the stress of a grueling daily commute, you can see why House Hacking has become so popular.

What To Look For In A House Hack Opportunity

Before we discuss strategies, I’ll give you a quick run down of what types of features to look for that make a good House Hack. These features make it easier to generate revenue in a property while simultaneously making it easier to live with the tenants. Whenever you see one of these features in a property, hone in and focus on these properties first.

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  1. Multi-family properties

Multi-family properties are two, three, and four unit properties. These properties can be purchased as a primary residence using low down payment loan options just like single family houses. Because they contain more than one residential unit, the other units can be rented out for income. This is the first type of property you should look for when deciding to House Hack as it is the easiest and most simple way to accomplish the goal.

  1. Finished basements (or other similar modifications)

Homes with finished basements or separate additions can also easily be split up and rented out. If the property has separate entrances, that’s even better. As long as the owner is living in one of the units, the property will be considered a primary residence by lending standards and income can be generated through the additional living space. Finding a finished basement or added on portion of the home is the simplest and easiest way I’ve found to accomplish renting out extra space in a single family home.

  1. ADU’s

Additional Dwelling Units are structures erected on a property that are not connected to the original property itself. Commonly referred to as “guest houses” or “in-law units”, ADU’s provide options for generating additional rent revenue without having to share living areas. Whether the homeowner is living in the ADU and renting out the house, or vice versa, these useful additions provide easy ways to generate revenue out of a primary residence.

  1. Houses with Multiple bedrooms

Houses with multiple bedrooms make better House Hacks because bedrooms are what generate revenue. If a house has 4 or 5 bedrooms, there are more opportunities to generate rent than if it has 2 or 3. While bigger homes with more bedrooms are conventionally considered more expensive, that’s not the case if you’re House Hacking! More bedrooms=more rent=less money out of pocket each month.

  1. Areas that can easily be converted to bedrooms

If a property doesn’t have more bedrooms, look for ways to make more bedrooms. Houses with lofts, dining rooms, living rooms, or dens often have spaces that can easily be converted into a bedroom. The bonus when you find something like this is you often end up paying a much lower…