ITF 36 | House Hacking

 

When you know what you want, sometimes you just have to go for it. This is what Bradley Dosch did when he first learned about FI in 2019. He educated himself about real estate investing while traveling, he bought a house and got right into househacking!

This week, Brad dives into how he found his first property, the renovations he did, and how the pandemic affected his rentals. He also highlights the importance of setting expectations upfront and building rapport with people by being transparent. First-time homebuyers should listen in because he dishes out great tips from financing your property to screening potential tenants.

Listen to the podcast here


 

Making The Move, A House Hacking Success With Bradley Dosch

I’m here with Z Money, AKA Zeona MacIntyre. How are you doing, Z?

I am doing great, Craig. Thanks for asking. My opinion doesn’t matter since you’ll read that on the show.

One thing you need to know is that Z’s opinion does not matter even if she’s dressed to the nines with her pearly necklace.

I am having a power talisman. It is curing me as we speak.

There have been some crazy things that have happened here, both in Boulder and Atlanta. We should take some time, although it’s hard and heavy, to at least recognize it. It’s too bad that these things are happening in our country now. We hope that there are lots of things that need to be fixed, and we can do anything that we can to bring recognition to help people fix it.

The reason I work towards having money is so that I can do good with it. That is great to have an engine like real estate that can give you more leverage and power to help.

A lot of people don’t know how to help in terms of actions to take. I don’t think anyone is going to start a nonprofit or movement that is going to do that, but at least we can build wealth. We can have the money to fund those, and it still feels good and right. The contribution is a big part of achieving financial independence.

Money comes and goes, and it flows. You will make more money as long as that money keeps flowing, so don’t hoard it all. They always say give away 5% or 10% of your income to some charity that you value. Don’t just give it away to anybody. Find one that you like and give it away. Z, do you have any charities that you donate to?

I’m weird about charity. I am more to donate to things that are directly connected to me. Anytime somebody has a GoFundMe that’s someone I know or Kickstarter, I get excited about that and give money towards it, but it’s a little more irregular. I’m still trying to figure out what is going to be my channel. With some victims in Boulder, there are direct donations to families affected by that. Sending money there again makes me feel connected to it.

Brad, welcome to the show. How’s it going?

It’s going well. I’m excited to be here. It’s my first actual show. Zeona, thank you very much for having me on the show. I appreciate you reaching out to me.

We had coffee when you were about to move over to Seattle. We’re excited to share your journey. You’ve got at least one house hack, and we’re ready to dive in. How did you hear about financial independence?

I had graduated from college in June 2019. Thank goodness I graduated before COVID. I was still up in Washington State. That’s where I went to school. I majored in Electrical Engineering. I’ve got to get a good degree with a good job that pays well. I was planning on moving out to Colorado for a new job as an electrical engineer with Lockheed Martin. It’s a good corporate job to start with my career. My mom was always interested in real estate investing.

She always throws it at me. I just deflected off like, “Whatever.” She mentioned it more seriously, and I was like, “I know nothing about this.” It was a funny story, and it’s a little bit embarrassing. It goes to show how little I knew it was. I looked at it like, “How much does the house cost?” Let’s say $400,000. Divide that by my salary. This is how long it’s going to pay off.

I knew nothing about mortgages or anything. I googled real estate investing, and sure enough, it shows the SEO on BiggerPockets particularly well. I was infiltrated with a bunch of knowledge and content. From there, I spent a lot of that summer 2019 traveling. While I was traveling, I was listening to all these podcasts and YouTube videos. I learned a lot that way.

You graduated college in 2019 in spring or summer. Your mom introduced you to real estate investing. Did she sell you on it because of financial independence? Did she say, “Your rental income, you would get none of these things, and you can retire with rental expenses,” or she’s like, “It’s a good investment,” and she didn’t know much about that?

She has more of a traditional mindset, like owning is better than renting a deal, which has value. It was never like, Rent the rooms out. Rent all the rooms then live in the basement or in the worst part.” It was more, “The house is probably going to appreciate over time, and it’s better than renting.”

It’s only Craig who was like, “Live in the worst room grumbling in the basement.” I’m not supposed to say that.

I did not have a room. It was a curtain with a room divider. We’re at 2019, you’re doing your research on BiggerPockets, and you’ve found BiggerPockets. What happens now?

I was still scared that I didn’t know what to do, but I was taking baby steps. In August 2021, I moved out to Colorado and understood the Airbnb that she wanted to find. I’m staying there short-term until I can buy a place. There was some motivation to get moving because I didn’t want to keep paying rent to this Airbnb. Even before I moved to Colorado, I got in touch with an agent and a lender. Going from BiggerPockets, Scott and Mindy were helpful to me back then. I asked this agent a bunch of questions, and that helped. We got the ball rolling. From there, I now know making an offer.

How did you find that agent? You said Scott is the CEO of BiggerPockets and Mindy is the Community Manager of BiggerPockets. They’re both very much involved with a lot of the users. How did you find that agent, and how did you know he or she was the right one?

I recommend that you find an investor-friendly agent who at least knows what he’s talking about. For me, Lockheed Martin had this corporate program where if you use one of our agents, you’ll get a few thousand dollars back in closing. I was like, “Let’s do it.” I didn’t know about the tip to use an investor-friendly agent. I reached out through Lockheed Martin’s corporate program and got connected with some agents. He was good. I was lucky that he was great. He has investment properties, but it’s not only his focus. He negotiated a great deal for me. He was super helpful as a first-time homebuyer.

Start to listen to podcasts that are related to it, and you’ll get the hang of it. You will learn a lot that way. Click To Tweet

You got a little bit lucky with your first-time agent, which is great. It is always best to go with an investor-friendly agent, but it sounds like you got an investor-friendly agent, even though you didn’t have that intention. That’s great. Talk to us about how it went from there.

I was also lucky with my job. I got every other Friday off schedule, which was pretty sweet. I liked it. Every other Friday, I was going around and driving neighborhoods. At first, I was like, “What’s the best area to buy all this?” After a while, I realized that I wanted somewhere close I could live to my job. I hate long commutes.

If I would’ve known that in March 2020, it wouldn’t have mattered, I maybe wouldn’t have cared so much. I wanted somewhere close to my job. I figured this is a huge company, and there are lots of companies out there. If I can get a job here, I must find a good place to live. From there, I kept looking at houses and ended up making an offer pretty soon.

I wanted to highlight that you’re finding something close to your job. That’s a great financial independence move. I know that might not have been your focus. You were looking for convenience, but in general, what people spend the most on and a pie of expenses in a year is housing and transportation. If you can get the housing out of the way by house hacking, near living for free or very cheap, and if you can get the transportation out of the way where you’re close enough to walk or bike even, that can be a huge saving. I want to highlight that for readers because it’s a great tip, and you did it by accident.

I try to live with that too. If huge companies have a good idea, it’s probably a good idea. From there, I spent 2 or 3 weeks looking around. After three weeks, I was like, “I got to do some and go for it.” I found this good place where I worked. It was ten minutes away from work. I remember telling my agent that I wanted to make an offer, and I was so scared. This is the first time I’ve ever done it, but I got to do it. I made the offer.

The place is listed at $360,000. I was the first one there in the open house. I got in there five minutes early, talked to the listing agent, and got some good rapport going on. After that, there were a ton of people. I was like, “I want to make an offer.” I had my agent standing, listening to the offer. It was competitive. I offered a listing, which is $360,000. I heard back that there were quite a few offers that were much higher than mine, but the listing agent thought I would be a good buyer for some reason. I don’t know what it was. Maybe my charm or good talking skills went a long way there.

I’m curious what stood out to you in this house because you were not maybe looking for a traditional house hack. Was it the layout, or was it more fixed up? Were there any things besides the location that stood out?

At this point, I knew I wanted a house hack. I was looking for a basement that could be a separate living area. I didn’t necessarily know a separate kitchen and entrance, but I wanted a basement where I could live and rent three rooms out. That was common in this neighborhood I was looking in. That’s what I was looking for.

What was this place? Was it a single-family house, condo, or townhome?

It was a single-family house. It was Littleton, Colorado, near Columbine High School. It had a basement. That single-family house had three bedrooms on the main level and one giant living space in the basement with another bathroom down there. When I moved in, it was a non-conforming bedroom. I lived there for six months without a conforming bedroom, but six months later, I put an egress window in there. That was four bedrooms.

You say non-conforming bedroom. Can you explain to everyone what that is and how you can turn it from non-conforming to conforming?

I’m not a legal expert or anything, but a standard bedroom has to have a closet and an entrance. The biggest thing is egress. It means you can escape outside. It’s either a window or a door that goes straight outside. When I first moved in, there was a window, but it was very small. You couldn’t escape through it comfortably. I had an egress window come out there and cut the concrete in the foundation. They put up a code up the window that the fire department says it’s safe to escape through in case of emergency. That makes it a legal bedroom.

ITF 36 | House Hacking
House Hacking: If you enjoy doing that stuff, do it, because if you’re not going to do it well, or you’re going to be frustrated all the time.

 

What did that cost you?

That costs $4,500. Completely hands-off, I didn’t do any of the work. I didn’t feel comfortable cutting into the foundation on myself.

You’re wise to do that. Did you pull permits for that, or did you go under the radar?

The company I got pulled permits for it.

That’s why it was a little bit more expensive. I’ve seen them in the $3,000 to $3,500 range, but they don’t pull permits. It’s a little bit higher risk, and you get rewarded for that by having a cheaper price. I like that you do it the right way.

I learned throughout the journey that a lot of these companies with the website, office, and salespeople have a lot more overhead than you’re paying for. It was one of those companies, but they did it the right way. I realized that they were stopping out the work underneath me. I was like, “I could have done that myself.” It was good to do it the right way.

You bought this thing for $360,000. How did you finance it? How much down did you put?

With the negotiation and all that, I ended up purchasing for $366,000. Another thing that I learned from BiggerPockets and my mom too was that you didn’t have to put 20% down, which even to this day, so many people don’t know on an owner-occupied house. It’s such a hack. It’s crazy. I only put 3% down on a conventional loan as a first-time home purchase. This is not even FHA. This is conventional money.

Back in 2019, I thought the rate was 3.5% owner-occupied 3% down. My agents use the inspector from the house to negotiate that the seller pays my closing costs. At the closing table, I needed 30% of the $366,000, which is $20 less than $11,000 on my first house. That was pretty sweet. Plus, my company Lockheed Martin gave me $5,000 to move to Colorado, which I didn’t even need. Half of it was a bonus I got from my company. I was hooked. It was pretty good.

A lot of people don’t know about the 3% down conventional. I’m glad that you discovered that even your realtor may not have been an expert. However, it seems like you were in the BiggerPockets community. People want to jump to that FHA loan because that’s the most common one to use, but if you’re buying a single-family home, the 3% down for your first one is the way to go. It is the best option. It’s not even my opinion. It’s a fact. Save that FHA for the multifamilies and keep that in your back pocket. You put $11,000 down on this $366,000 purchase. It sounds like you put at least $4,500 into it, but you alluded to doing other rehabs as well. What other rehab did you do?

Closing it was the easiest thing for the whole house. We moved in October. My girlfriend, Chloe, was heavily involved in those. She was very supportive in this whole process, especially since this was our first time living together. I was like, “We’re going to rent the rooms out.” Big shout out to her for the renovations.

With the inspection before moving, we’re going through the list like, “What do we need to do?” The inspector says, “There could be some water damage in the upstairs shower.” I’m an optimist, and Chloe was more realistic. I was like, “We’ll fix all these things in 2 or 3 weeks, and we’ll rent the rooms out,” 2 or 3 weeks and then 2 or 3 months.

We did a lot of renovations over the holidays and New Year. That water damage was pretty significant. There is a lot of black molds everywhere. We ended up taking apart the whole shower. I did not foresee this at all. We took it apart, and there was a lot of water damage. We figured it out ourselves. The big thing we did was fix that shower. There was a lot of radon in the basement. It was upon the twelve. We put in a radon mitigation system and many more.

On the shower, what exactly did you do to remediate that mold? Did you rip up the shower pan and cut it into drywall or place all that? What went into that? It can be scary.

I was scared for sure. We did it all. It was these ceramic white square tiles. I got my chisel and hammer out and started taking them off, and I realized it was all mold. It was one of those three turn handles that the gasket is gone. A bunch of water came on and was supposed to be off. We took off the tile and realized that it was going to be everywhere.

Owning is better than renting. The house is probably going to appreciate over time and it's better than renting. Click To Tweet

I usually recommend that you don’t tear everything apart with rental properties, but I didn’t know that. This is my first project. We took all the tiles in the shower and down to the studs. We even took out the tub, which was in pretty bad condition. This is everything we do ourselves, which I would not have done again. We even removed the subfloor because it was totally rotten underneath it. We replaced the subfloor. We put in new plumbing. We did it ourselves and put in the new tub, surrounds, and backer board. We did that all ourselves. I don’t know why we did it ourselves. We didn’t do a very good job, but it works. It still functions.

What did that cost you doing it yourself versus what do you think it would cost to hire out? Why do you say you would never do it yourself? It sounds like you did a good job.

Money-wise, it only costs about $1,500 to $2,000 of materials, but time-wise, it’s 2 to 3 months of nights and weekends. I wouldn’t do it again because I don’t think it’s worth my time, and I don’t have any experience in that. I didn’t have a lot of fun doing it, and someone else can do it much more professionally and better than I would. I’m trying to run this house like a business rather than a hobby.

I would also point out that it’s not only your time, but the 2 or 3 months could have been the time that you have. It’s like opportunity loss there. I agree. I’m all about having contractors.

I’m with you too. Maybe it’s a mistake or not. If you enjoy doing that stuff, go ahead and do it, but if you’re not going to do it well or be frustrated all the time and you’re going to have to call somebody to redo it again in six months anyway because you didn’t do a good job, hire it out and save yourself time. I’m now at the point where if I try to fix anything myself, hit me over the head with a shovel or something. I do not want to fix anything myself.

I will give myself some credit that we did a good job. We learned a lot. We can get into a lot of stuff on our own. Having that experience and knowledge gives us more scale when we go and hire stuff out like, “You did this wrong,” or even watching like, “What are you doing this for?” Having that knowledge helps us not to be taken advantage of. It’s a double-edged sword. You got to decide for yourself.

Let’s go into the numbers a little bit. What did your mortgage end up being? I imagine you have all the rooms rented at this point. What are they rented for?

With my financing, the monthly payment was $1,988. That includes PITI as well as the PMI, which did the pay until you reached that 20% equity. On top of that, I paid for all the Wi-Fi, utilities, and all that. That’s included in the rent. With utilities and all, my monthly payment was around $2,200 a month. There were three rooms. I rented the smallest one for $700, the middle one was $750, and the biggest one, my master bedroom, for $800. When you do the math, it’s $2,250. In an ideal month, that’s $50 of cashflow.

COVID threw a wrench in our renting plans because we had started renting these rooms out in February 2020. I decided to go the Airbnb route for all the rooms. It was working out pretty well. I started low with the prices and worked my way up as I got more reviews, and then March 2020 happened. I was like, “I need to switch to long-term.” I was able to get two rooms to a long-term. I didn’t feel comfortable putting strangers into the house with COVID.

In February 2020, you did Airbnb, and you were averaging $700, $750, and $800, or is that when you transitioned to full-time?

It’s when I did full-time.

Were you able to fill those rooms and have no issue with COVID?

I filled it in right before the lockdown happened. I saw COVID happening, and I was like, “I need to transition to long-term.” This varies with Airbnb numbers. We ended up doing two of the rooms, the one for $800 and $750, which were always filled. I was always getting $1,550 in rent. The third bedroom was left vacant with some hopes of doing Airbnb because we were not able to get it filled long-term, and we didn’t want to bring in people with COVID, especially during late March or April at this point. Over the summer, we started Airbnb as cases got lower. That started cashflowing pretty well.

Do you live in the basement at this time?

Yes.

Are you renting the basement out now?

I don’t live there anymore. I rented out the whole house as one.

ITF 36 | House Hacking
House Hacking: Even with a listing agent with just talking to them, building rapport, caring about them it would really help. It was just communication and giving them plenty of warning and setting expectations up front.

 

I wanted to get a feel for what the numbers may look like for you because you’ve got $50 in cashflow at the end of the day, but you’re living for free, in which that’s $1,000 a month for the basement. You’re making a net difference of $1,050 a month by house hacking. You had to put down $12,000 plus another $5,000 or $7,000 for repairs. Let’s say $20,000 all in. In $20,000 all in, you’re making about $10,000 or $12,000 a year. That is a 60% cash-on-cash return right there.

Even though the house hack wasn’t ideal where the only cashflow was $50 a month, at least you were living for free. Maybe if you added five bedrooms, it might have been a little bit better. The whole point is it doesn’t matter what property you get. It matters that you’re saving on rent, living for free, and getting those rent savings. Z, what do you think about that?

Plus, Chloe was living for free. You were not charging Chloe anything except making her do manual labor, which is a trade-off. That’s a cool thing to point out. I’m curious too about the Airbnb room. How did you get your roommates on board with that? They were in the space with the Airbnb person.

My roommate is Ross. It all comes down to communication. Being a guy, even with a listing agent, we’re talking to them, building rapport, and caring about them. It was upfront communication. I was always very sensitive to their needs throughout their stay, even when Airbnb tenants weren’t there. It was communication, giving them plenty of warning, and setting expectations upfront.

How did you go about getting these tenants?

One of the tenants moved in February as an Airbnb guest. He liked the place, and it was close to work for him, so he decided to stay. I got the other people off the Facebook Marketplace for the other venture.

What was your screening process for each tenant?

I use Zillow Screening App. It costs the tenants $30 to do a background check, credit check, and criminal record, or something like that. That was nice for me. I could see their background and credit. On top of that, I asked for the paychecks. It wasn’t super thorough, I’ll admit, but that’s what I did.

That gets you 60% to 70% of the way there. If you want to get 100% of the way there, you’re calling references, landlords, employers, and all that stuff. As an investor, I suggest you do that to mitigate your risk, especially as a first-timer. It’s not that much effort to mitigate your risks all the way up to that like 85%, 90%, or 95% chance of being good. I’ve talked to many investors. Any single investor who had a bad tenant, that tenant’s credit score was not good. The credit score is probably the number one indicator of a tenant.

That lines up well with what we observed. There was this one time, and he was fine overall, but there were some problems we had. The other thing is even looking at his room and his car are a total mess. It’s an indicator, but they could have been a lot worse. It turned out well.

I wanted to pipe in because I’m now dealing with a hard tenant. I’ve had too many years of easy tenants. It’s going with my intuition and having a chat with them. Maybe it’s getting a little fast and loose. I’ve had this tenant that has been behind on rent, and I’m trying to get them to leave at the end of the month. It has reminded me like, “You can’t get overconfident. You need to go through your little steps.” I’m going to be super strict with my screening from now on. That’s how you learn.

I’ll share an experience that I had. I probably said this in the show before. There was one time when I was pretty lazy and cocky on my screening. It was my third house hack. I was on top of the world. I let these people in without a credit and background check. I figured it was month to month. What’s the worst that could happen? I’ll kick them out in 30 days if they don’t pay whatever.

These guys were doing drugs in the basement. They were up all night. They were the worst tenants I ever had. I had to kick them out immediately. It’s the one time I let my standards down. I have heard that mistake before too. Sometimes, you have to touch the fire to make sure it’s hot. I’m telling you, the fire is hot. Don’t let your standards go down.

The thing that would have told me was the credit score because they even told me that their credit wasn’t that good, but they were working on it. I talked to the landlord about the damn credit report.

People want to jump to that FHA loan because that's the most common one to use.  Click To Tweet

You got yourself a pretty good deal here. You’re living for free, which is always the penultimate goal of the house hack.

Throughout this whole time, we’re doing renovations to the place. A lot of the rent and all my paychecks in my job are going into running in the display. Looking more into this house needs a lot more work. We did a lot of that work. On top of that, we stabilized pretty well in terms of Airbnb and our full-time tenants. We were learning a lot about systematizing it and getting them a good experience and learning how powerful this whole house hacking in real estate investing game is.

It started powerfully. You said you systematized your Airbnb. To me, that means you had your systems in place, so it was very little work for you. Can you explain what you did there for that? Zeona can chime in too. She’s the Airbnb queen.

I don’t want to compare myself to her at all. I’m not on that level. March, April, May, I was at home a lot, working from home. It was easy for me to be on top of it and do everything myself. As the snow starts melting, I like to get on the mountains. I’m managing a lot of this from the trail from the campground. When I get a request, I message my tenants. I’m like, “Here’s a guy. It’s okay with me. Is it okay with you? Here’s what he was saying. Here’s more about him,” because they matter just as much if not more for the guests. Once I got their approval, it was easy working with them. My tenants were cool. I would say, “They’re coming around this time. Can you please let them in? Can you please show them the bedroom?” That was all I needed the tenants to do. I would handle any questions that they had from there.

I’m curious about cleaning and communal areas with your other roommates. In Airbnb generally, the standards are pretty high. The house has to be well functioning, clean, and also furnished or mostly furnished. How did you overcome some of that?

First, I’ll answer with ourselves as with Chloe and I and other tenants. We had a system where pretty much every day, this one party would cook first, and we would cook dinner right after them. We always made sure to clean up right after ourselves. The other guy was using DoorDash every day, which is honestly convenient he did that. In terms of Airbnb, I was transparent that this is not a high-end luxury Airbnb. The prices reflected that. I was transparent about that. It’s communication on what to expect.

I’ve got two questions for you. Every time you got a booking, you had to communicate with your tenants to make everything happen. Was that automated at all, or did you have to go and text them?

It wasn’t automated. I don’t want to act like it’s some crazy system I set up. It was communicating with them via text.

Did you have to pay your tenants or incentivize them to do this for you at all?

Maybe I should have, but I didn’t. We were good friends with these tenants that rented out. We went on hikes and backpacks together. It was okay. I didn’t cross any boundaries, but I’m looking forward to the next house hacks. I’m not sure I want to develop that close relationship with these tenants.

I always say, “Be friendly, but you don’t need to be friends.” It sounds like you’ve had a pretty successful first house hack. Z, is there anything else you want to ask on that first one?

What is the family paying now that you’ve moved out and made it a little simpler to manage?

After we renovated and lived in the house for twelve months, we fulfilled that owner-occupied financing contingency. Chloe and I moved back to Washington State. We knew about the power of the rent by the room strategy, but I didn’t want to have to manage it from Seattle. I decided to get a property manager and take the keys from them and manage it.

It’s not my family. It’s one couple of two people living in a four-bedroom house and paying $2,395 a month. After all the maintenance and the property manager fee, I’m only cashing around $150 a month. I know it’s not a ton of margin, and I’m not going to retire off that, but that’s what the rent is. A lot of saving grace has been the appreciation, and the market isn’t spectacular. I never tell people to rely on that, but that has been a saving grace. The tax benefits were nice in 2020. I got a lot of experience in paying down loans by then.

How much do you think it’s worth? Have you thought about trying to get it re-appraised or do something so that you can have your 20% shown and get rid of that PMI?

This is what I’m working on now. It’s a little bit awkward with transitioning from good owner occupant to investment because you don’t get that advantage anymore. The property management company sent me a BPO, a Broker’s Price Opinion. It’s a CMA. The guests in the house are worth around $475 or $460 somewhere in there, which is easily 20% equity on my part.

ITF 36 | House Hacking
House Hacking: If you want to get like a hundred percent of the way there, call references, landlords, employers, especially as a first timer, just to really mitigate your risk.

 

I don’t want to refinance just because I have to refinance into an investment-style loan, which doesn’t have a lot of benefits to remain. I’m working with my bank to get the PMI removed now. I’m hoping that can happen, so I was saving $110 a month. Something that I should have done is as soon as I moved out, I should have opened up an owner-occupied HELOC so that I could get a much higher LTV and have that buying power as I left, but I didn’t do that.

Could you get a HELOC now?

I’ve been calling everywhere. I cannot find a bank that will do a HELOC on an investment property. I will gladly take any referral for me.

It’s hard now. I’ve also been calling around. Do you have something magical, Craig?

I have someone that said they have someone. I have not used them yet, but I’ve got a handful of investment properties that I would like to take HELOCs out on. I will keep you posted on that. Look at that power. You don’t know that real estate is going to appreciate $100,000 in a year, but it did. You put down $20,000 to get $100,000 in wealth returned. There is a 500% plus return on your investment when you encompass it all.

For the readers, to be accurate, we did a lot of renovations. I run the numbers with the down payment and all the renovations. We’re close to $50,000. I was not expecting that a lot more in, and it’s not required. I always share my journey that I was always working so hard on renovating and fixing it up. People are rightfully deterred by that. I wouldn’t want to do that again, or not too much. I would do it again, but I wouldn’t want to do it again if I were an average. I always tell people that it’s not required or even recommended to buy a fixture up there as a house hack.

Even still, you’re putting $50,000 in, and you’re getting $100,000 out in the first year. No matter what way you look at it, it’s an insane investment, which is awesome. You can’t depend on that, but you can depend that real estate will likely go up in the long run in 10 or 20 years. Your rents are going to continue to go up while your mortgage payment is going to stay the same, or go up with a tiny bit with taxes and stuff. That’s where the magic happens when you’re ten years into the investment property, and it’s starting to cashflow.

Where are we going from here? Are you looking to buy another house hack there in Washington State?

We are living with Chloe’s parents. We are living for free. I want to buy another house hack, but the nice thing is there’s not a huge rush. In good or bad, I’m not as motivated. I want to buy another house hack because I can get more cashflow, and the appreciation in Seattle is just as good and maybe even better than Denver.

It’s a crazy market, so having the power of living for free and not needing to buy a second house hack right away is helping me out. I’m still in the process. I am pre-approved. Another big update is I’m finally and officially an eXp agent. I’m trying to use my commission and represent myself on the next transaction. All that paperwork is still going through, and I’m waiting until I was finally set aside to go out there and start making offers.

It’s wise to get your license if you’re going to stay in this real estate game for a little while. It’s wise to get your license after the first one. That was a good move. Why did you move back to Seattle? I know that’s where you’re from, but it was a short stint in Denver.

It’s mostly personal reasons. Our close families and a lot of our spheres of influence are here. Neither of us loves our jobs out there, especially Chloe. With all of the other personal stuff going on, we thought it was the right decision to make a move back here.

Did you quit your job at Lockheed Martin?

Yes. I knew we were going back to Seattle, but with COVID and everything, I was working around the things. I asked them, “I’m moving back to Seattle. Can I work remotely?” I managed to ask the higher-ups, and they said no. I went into that negotiation. I am, by no means, financially independent yet, but I am financially secure because of house hacking, saving, and investing. I can withstand not working for a few months. I had that in my back pocket that, “If you say I can’t. I quit.” I spent the next three months looking for a new job and finally started one. I get paid more here.

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You’ve had quite the journey. You graduated in 2019. You started learning about real estate investing and took action much quicker than a lot of people. You got into your first one, rent by the room, get out, and COVID threw you a curveball as it did many other people. You adjusted pretty quickly and did some rehab. That appreciation plus the cashflow has given you quite a good return on the investment. Now, you’re back in Seattle looking to rinse and repeat. You’ve got your license and helped other people do the same. Are there any other words of wisdom you want to share with everybody before we move into the final part of the show?

I hope my story is an inspiration to people in a similar spot. If you want to talk more, I’m always open to talking about house hacking or anything financial independence-related.

It will inspire a lot of people. It’s always fun to see the people that are starting out because it makes it feel so much more real. The emotions are so real on that first deal in the ups and downs. You articulated that nicely here. Let’s head into the Final Four. Z, let’s kick us off.

Brad, what are you reading now?

I’m going to cheat and give two answers because I’m listening to one book and reading one book physically. The book I’m reading now as I got it for free off in an Instagram giveaway. It’s called Think Like A Monk by Jay Shetty. It’s a lot about mindset and mental stuff, which I’ve been getting a lot more into. Mental health needs to be something. I was like, “I don’t need that.” Being personal about it is helpful.

The second one is Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss. That’s what I’m listening to. I found in myself that I love books and topics about communicating with people and human psychology. It’s been so interesting. I visually related to How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie, which I loved. I liked that stuff. Those are the books I’m reading.

That one on negotiation is so good and meaty. I listened to it too. It would have been better to read it because it’s so much information. It was one of those ones that I wanted to start back as soon as I finished it because it’s so much good stuff. It’s a listen every year kind of book.

That book has saved me tens of thousands of dollars. I negotiated my car price down, my house, and my salary. All of these things I used were based on Chris Voss’s techniques. It works. You just have to have faith in them.

What are some of your favorite techniques, and what are your secrets?

The mirroring and price anchoring are good. I have to go back and read it because now I have forgotten them. I remember going to a car dealership. We would get $3,000 or $4,000 off of a car and get $15,000 off my house. I negotiated my salary up to $7,000 or $8,000. This book was worth $20 or whatever I spent on it.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

I thought a lot about this one. I talked with my dad about a lot of the side hustles that my friends and I are starting. I’m a parent pleaser. I want to please our parents. One of my big struggles in life is I always think a lot about them. My dad was saying like, “If you find something that you believe in, passionate about, and you want to do, follow and do it.” It’s super simple advice. That’s true, but hearing it from my dad was special. I honestly never even thought about it. I care and believe in this financial independence house hacking so much. Even if I fail, I’m still going to try. That meant a lot.

It’s one of those things that sounds cliché, and you’ve heard it a million times, but for some reason, your dad said at the exact right time and place, and it’s like, “Holy shit.” It hits you right through with the heart. I’ve had that happen many times too.

Question number three, what is your why for getting into real estate?

I have a little assessor who’s ten years younger than me. He is going to school in Seattle and working not near here. It sucks not being around here as much growing up. I want to spend time with my kids. Our big thing is hiking and getting out there. Every day, I’m inside an office looking outside, and it’s sunny. I was like, “I wish I were hiking now.” Having that flexibility and freedom to be able to do that when I find what I want is a big driving factor. Besides that, it’s all of the other typical ones like getting to do what I want to do. Those are the big ones.

ITF 36 | House Hacking
House Hacking: Every time you got a booking, you had to communicate with your tenants to make everything happen.

 

Fourth question, what are some fun ways to answer everyday questions like, “How’s it going, or what do you do?”

I’ll do that sometimes. Someone’s like, “Do I turn right or left ear?” It’s simple, but it makes you think like, “What did he say? What the hell?”

Brad, where can people find out more about you?

I started a YouTube channel back in May 2020. I figured we were doing cool stuff, and I was always documenting the journey. If no one watches it, at least we can look back five years from now like, “Look at us. We’re doing this.” I’m on YouTube. It’s Brad and Chloë. It’s very simple. I’m also on Instagram, @Brad.And.Chloe. I’m trying to get into TikTok, but I’m not sure if TikTok is going to happen. For now, Instagram and YouTube are the big ones.

Why isn’t Chloe here? I feel like we got gypped.

I drag Chloe along this whole house hacking and financial independence thing. I’m the driving factor, but she’s super supportive and great. She challenges me to think more about what I do and not just do it. I have a lot of gratitude towards her.

Brad and Chloe sound way better than just Brad.

It’s a lot more interesting. Seeing another twenty-something-year-old White guy talking about finances makes it a lot more interesting with a girl and a cute dog. It’s marketing.

Thank you so much for coming on the show. We appreciate your journey and story. Go follow him on Instagram and on YouTube, and help give him a follow on TikToK as well so they can get motivated to start posting.

Thanks a lot, Craig and Zeona. I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.

See you then. Have a good one.

That was Brad. Z, what do you think?

It was great. It’s another one of those where it’s someone young. That’s great to inspire people. He’s probably 25 or 26. He seemed younger than that to me, but it’s hard to know because I didn’t ask him. It’s great to see how much luck can happen even when you’re not super prepared. He ended up getting that bonus of all that equity in his first deal. It seemed like some things were definitely working in his favor in this deal.

He did get a little bit lucky, but he put himself in a position to be lucky. Lockheed Martin is a good reputable company who I suspect cares about their employees. They’re not going to let a bad realtor in their program. I would hope. I’m thinking of that. He did luck out a little bit, but it all ended up working out. Real estate can be very forgiving as long as you check the boxes and buy a place that looks good where people want to live in

That’s great. That’s it for this episode.

What helps us is if you could leave a comment or review on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever it is so we can get the word out there and keep spreading this word and inspire more people to achieve financial independence through real estate investing. It’s much appreciated of you. We’ll see you all. Z, I will see you in Hawaii, which I am super excited for. Get ready to play tour guide.

I keep counting on the days. I’m like, “How many sleeps?”

We’ll see you soon.

 

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