How to Live Rent Free and Perhaps Profit While Doing So
You have to live somewhere.
Wherever you live, you’re going to have to pay for the privilege, whether in rent or in a mortgage.
Not necessarily! Sometimes, you can live for free. And sometimes, you can even pay yourself to live somewhere.
How do you manage such a thing? It’s more simple and straightforward than you may think. You purchase a multi-family dwelling, you live in one of the units yourself, and you rent out the others.
Owner-occupied multi-family investing isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s a common investment practice that comes with real risks and real potential rewards.
Imagine that you purchase a five-unit dwelling, and that your mortgage is $2000 a month. You live in one of the units, and rent out the others for $600 each. Not only will your mortgage be paid for, but you will be receiving $400 in profits each month. If you save the surplus in a separate account, you’ll have money for repairs, maintenance, or shortfall due to vacancies.
Multi-family dwellings aren’t for everyone. However, they can be a great way for a seasoned investor to keep cash flow high, and an ideal way for a novice investor to learn the ropes and get a feel for being a landlord.
First off, you will have to figure out what kind of property would be right for you, and in which location. To do this, you will need to learn everything you can about what your local real estate market has to offer in terms of multi-family dwellings. You’ll have to compare prices, compare neighborhoods, and compare buildings, and check out area comps to find out how prices for different properties stack up against each other.
You will also need to find out about the rental market. How much rent can you expect to receive for the neighborhood? For the property? For the building condition? If the property has upgraded cabinetry, new floors, and appliances included, you certainly can charge more. But, can you get more in the neighborhood you’re looking into?
You’ll then have to balance everything you’ve learned against your budget and your expectations. How much can you really afford to invest? Can you afford to carry some of the mortgage yourself? If not, can the property you’re considering command a high enough rent to pay the mortgage? Then there’s the question of lifestyle. Would you feel comfortable in the home? You will be actually living on the property, so you’ll have to balance your needs and wants with those of your tenants.
- Keep in mind that you will be responsible for repairs, maintenance, and any other issues that come about.
- Make sure you have a financial contingency plan in case of vacancies.
- Look for a property that you could turn around and sell for pretty much what you paid for it if need be, even if you never lifted a finger to upgrade it.
- Look for properties in up-and-coming neighborhoods, and avoid declining neighborhoods, even if the price is right.