After first learning about house hacking in the fall of 2016, Jeff White closed a 4-unit property in August 2017 and got to work. Now, he has 5 house hacks and is a member of the FI Team—all while holding down his W-2 job!

In this episode, Jeff walks us through his bumpy start, how he dealt with tenants who were on a tourist visa, and his transition from multifamily to single-family homes. If you’re an aspiring house hacker, stick around because he shares tips and presents the advantages of not quitting your day job too early.

Listen to the podcast here


 

Retire Already Jeff White! 5x House Hacker & FI Team Agent Works B’c He Enjoys It!

Z, what’s going on?

Craig, I have a bone to pick with you. I noticed that you changed it to The FI Team Radio, and I was wondering if you were going to say FI Team Podcast. What is happening there? Nobody does this with me.

Did I say radio?

No, you didn’t but all of your social media does, and even your little jingle song.

I didn’t even realize that.

Nobody told you.

This is like a conspiracy theory that we need to uncover.

We could talk about that later. In this episode, we have our own Jeff White from the FI Team.

Jeff is a near and dear friend of mine. I met him when I first moved to Denver and we’ve been house hacking alongside each other. Every year, we both pick one up and talk about the next one. We’ve remained good friends. He’s one of the agents on the FI Team. He’s crushing it. He’s already done a few closings, helped a lot of people, and does some house hacking consulting on the side as well. He’s knowledgeable in the space. He’s pretty much as knowledgeable as anyone is. I’m excited to dig into a story here.

You guys have made your boyfriend vibes. It’s cute.

We’ve got the bromance going on.

Let’s bring him on.

Let’s get him on.

Mr. Jeffrey White, welcome to the show. It’s so good to have you. How are you?

I’m doing fabulous. Thank you so much for having me. I’m a big fan of the show and what you guys are teaching.

Do you listen to the show?

Yeah. I’m not just saying that. I haven’t listened to all of them, I’ll be honest, but I have listened to more than five.

Jeff, we will accept your, “More than five.” Hopefully, next time we talk to you, it’ll be at least ten plus. For those of you that don’t know Jeff, why don’t you give us a little explanation as to who you are and how you found out a little bit about house hacking and financial dependence?

Build a Rental Property Empire: The no-nonsense book on finding deals, financing the right way, and managing wisely. (InvestFourMore Investor Series 1)

My background starts back in fall 2016. I read a real estate investing book from a guy named Mark Ferguson, who is a realtor in Colorado. It seems like everyone is in Colorado. It’s a great stage. He wrote this book on how to build a rental property empire and it talked about one paragraph and the whole book mentioned this phrase called house hacking. I was like, “I never heard of that.” I knew about traditional forms of investing. From that one paragraph about house hacking, I went into trusty Google, typed in house hacking, and the first thing that popped up was BiggerPockets, Brandon Turner’s article on what is house hacking and how to do house hacking. That’s where the story begins.

That article that Brandon wrote is the origin of the term house hacking, how to hack your housing and live for free. If anybody wants the origin story, that’s it right there. Mark Ferguson is a baller. He’s written 9 or 10 books. He flips a bunch of houses. He is big in real estate and cars. I recommend following him. His Instagram is @InvestFourMore. He’s a good dude. This was the fall of 2016, and you’ve discovered this term, house hacking, from this one little paragraph in the article. What did you do about it?

After reading the article, I was like, “The next step is I’ve got to get pre-approved with the lender.” I knew that step and also find a realtor that specializes in finding these types of properties. At the time I was so focused on multifamily. I was like, “I must get a 2 to 4 unit. That’s all I wanted to do. That’s it. I’m not looking at anything else.” I didn’t even know that there are other things with basement apartments or anything creative like that at that time. I was like, “House hacking is 2 to 4 units.” That’s when the surge started in January 2017.

From there, I searched for a few months. I looked at multiple multifamilies and found one. I went under contract on a one over, a duplex over on East Colfax. It’s about a $360,000 purchase price, 2-bed, 1-bath each unit. It was already Section 8 on one side and I was still living on the other. Going through the inspection process taught me a lot of things. It’s the first time I ever encountered bedbugs. I didn’t know they existed here in Colorado. This particular multifamily had a huge infestation.

During the initial inspection, I didn’t say anything, but when the inspector wrote his report, he mentioned it. I sent a survey out there and they found a whole bunch. That deal went away. I was not comfortable dealing with that because I was like, “They eat you but not like a cockroach that feasts on food or a mouse or something like that. It’s pretty easy to get rid of the food source.”

They’re feasting on you, or me in particular, versus a cockroach or mouse that feast on food or dead organic material. They scared the crap out of me and I did this also with my partner, girlfriend at the time and we were not comfortable. That was back in April 2017. We got out of that contract and went back on the market looking for a multifamily. It took us until July 2017 to find a four-unit over in West Denver pocket which is about fifteen minutes west of downtown. It was exactly what we’re looking for and it needed a little work. I had some sweat equity but going into it, we thought, “It’s cosmetic, paint, carpet, and simple stuff,” only to learn that there’s way more to it than just that.

I want to go back to the bedbugs because often when people find things like bed bugs, mold, or any number of bigger problems, it can sometimes be an opportunity. All that stuff can be eradicated somehow and it scares a lot of people off. I get that it was your first deal but I’m curious if you found out what it would have cost and tried to go down that route or you saw bedbugs and was like, “Nah.”

That’s more of the latter. I saw bedbugs and I was like, “I’m not comfortable.” Initially, I was like, “Exterminators are pretty simple.” The fact that the current tenants on the other unit that we’re currently there, told the owner multiple times, over a year about these bedbugs and the owner basically did nothing means it’s probably ingrained in that property and spread out. It wasn’t out of nowhere like, “This happened. It’s pretty easy to exterminate.” This one sounded like it was a huge problem that the current tenants were complaining about.

Moving in, it wouldn’t be as simple as going to spray some stuff and it’s good to go and you can move in. Normally, looking back on it, it was the right decision for what we were going for because they had some other issues as well. It wasn’t just bedbugs but that was definitely like, “This is it. We’re out. We’re not going to deal with it.”

You touched on something that I was about to touch on where if the landlord didn’t talk about bedbugs or didn’t fix the bedbugs, what else went wrong with the property that the landlord didn’t fix? If that landlord owned that property for 10 or 20 years, there’s probably a multitude of other things that also weren’t good.

I even remember that the CO2 was leaking from the little exhaust pipe from the water heater when we did the initial inspection. The inspector was all freaked out from that so I know something small and careless out there not even caring about the safety of tenants was a red flag. I’m happy that was not the one we picked because it led us to a much better one that fits or we’re looking for.

It sounds like it’s trying to kill people in there. Leaking CO, maybe that’s why the one side was open.

You didn’t go through this first funnel, which sounds like a good decision. What happened here on number one, how’d you proceed from that?

Number one was in West Denver. It was fifteen minutes from downtown and this one appeared to just be cosmetic. It’s dated. Multifamilies in Denver are mostly dated because they’ve been rentals the whole time but we liked it because we’re like, “We’ll go live in one unit and rent out the other three.” They already had existing tenants there. This goes back to doing your due diligence and working with an investor-friendly realtor as you have on the FI Team, Craig and Zeona, where I didn’t do a final walkthrough on it. It was a 4 unit, 660 square feet, and 3 out of 4 units were rented.

We never did a final walkthrough so we only got 1 lease out of the 3 and my realtor said, “You’ll get it when it comes.” I believed him, we closed and I didn’t get anything. In our first day walking through the place when we got to meet the people living in one the bottom units, had no lease, that’s why we never got it. They’re paying cash directly to the owner. It was $500 for a 2-bed, 1-bath and there were eight people living down there. Everyone was going back and forth on a tourist visa so they did not want to sign anything showing them that they have a lease. That’s probably what happened and they’re like, “We go here every few months.”

It sounds like the seller didn’t uphold the deal. Was there any recourse that you could have taken? Did you take on that? Did you swallow the pill and chalk it up as a learning experience and figure it out?

Yeah. It was a learning experience. I didn’t want to go at it, especially at that time since this was the first one. I have a huge amount of reserves to try to go pursue legal action. Looking back, I had recourse but I didn’t go through that. I was like, “Let’s learn from it.” Luckily, my girlfriend can speak fluent Spanish, and we were able to give them notice to quit three days and everyone moved out.

It worked out fantastically because they didn’t want to stay, we want to start fresh, we don’t want to go to the whole squatter rights or anything like that. Everyone was happy so that worked out fine, but it’s a big obstacle in our first week there. After getting them out, they left out all their stuff because they’re vacationers none of it was theirs. It was the previous tenants. We had to rent two dumpsters to throw out all the stuff that was leftover. Our first week was evicting someone and throwing out stuff before we even started on anything else.

How did you feel going through all this your first time? You can remember back then because a lot of people show real estate as being this rainbows and unicorns thing but it is an emotional rollercoaster so I’m curious. Help us feel what you felt, Jeff.

I was like, “This is way more stress than it should be.” I knew that. In my mind, I knew this was not normal and a lot of these problems could have been avoided before we closed so I knew it was not something that should be recurring. Also, I know in real estate, sometimes things don’t work out the way you want. You’ve got to run with the punches and learn from your mistakes. I didn’t have any experience at the time so I was running with the punches, dealing with it, and finding a solution. The nice thing about real estate is it’s a forgiving type of investment, you can make mistakes and learn from them without being a huge cost if you make a good decision.

Your very first property will be your biggest learning curve. Be sure to take advantage of its growth opportunities. Click To Tweet

I’m curious. After this experience with this realtor were you like, “Screw it. I’m going to become my own realtor. I don’t need these people.”

Not at that time. At that time, I didn’t even think about becoming a realtor until way later. I was like, “I like being an investor.” I thought being a realtor was maybe not the right thing at that time because I was like, “I don’t want to be an investor and a realtor. I want to be an investor. I did not cross and collateralize two professions.”

Can you give us the rundown of all the numbers for that place? Having four units, even if you had to evict one person, there’s probably some other things going on in there.

They’re quick numbers. It’s a $630,000 purchase price. I used FHA 7% down and it was because of a self-sufficiency test, which we could talk about or go into later. It wasn’t a typical 3.5%. It’s a 7% down on $630,000 so about $42,000 right there. All the repairs, dumpster rentals, dealing with all that stuff was and fixing up our unit that we were going to live in and the bottom units, and we kept the tenants in the back so all in all, it was about $40,000 of repairs and improvements. Plus, the $42,000. It’s $82,000 total cash out of pocket. We rented out the bottom unit at $1,300 and the back unit we’ve kept at $2,050 and we lived in our unit ourselves so it’s a total of $3,350.

I am curious about the self-sufficiency test. I’ve heard it come up a decent amount, especially these days with higher-priced homes. Can you go in and explain a little bit about what the self-sufficiency test is, especially with the FHA loan?

It’s pretty straightforward. You have an appraiser that not only appraises the property but approximates the gross rents that the property will achieve based on his or her market analysis. They take those four units. The FHA self-sufficiency test only applies to 3 to 4 unit properties, not for duplexes or single-family.

For this one, it is four units so he took the four units’ total gross rents, multiplied that number by 75%, because I’m living in one and that number has to be greater than my mortgage payments with the FHA MIP and all that. My total mortgage payment, PITI plus the mortgage insurance, has to be less than the 75% of the gross rents appraiser’s estimated number. If it’s not, you have to come up with a higher down payment to bring your mortgage down and that’s pretty much the self-sufficiency test.

Is that all four units or is it just the three units that you’re not occupying has to cover the rent?

Four units times 75%. It depends. The appraisers are not going to know if you live in the smallest unit or let’s say, a duplex or a 4 unit that’s 3 bed, 2 baths, or 2 units, 2 bed, 1 bath. They’re not going to necessarily know so they do the gross number and multiply that by 75. They don’t ask that.

What was your mortgage? It sounds like you only have those two rented. Did you end up getting the third one rented?

The family in the back are good tenants. They had a lease and all that. They’ve taken two of the units. They’re at $1,600 and we raised $2,050. We kept them. They’ve been great tenants ever since. They’re a little bit below market, but they’re good tenants and we like them. The total gross rent while living there was $3,350 and our mortgage was $3,400.

It’s pretty good.

You’re straight-up breaking even on this quadplex. If you’re in the Denver area now, I would not expect to see those numbers. That was years ago but still getting into multifamily, if that’s the route that you want to go and that’s where you are on that comfort continuum, then you can still definitely do the multifamily. You may be paying a little bit in the first year towards your mortgage and when you move out, I’m sure it will still cashflow at least a little bit. That’s number one. Jeff, is there anything else to say about that one, or is there anything else you want to add?

The lesson learned on that one was don’t be so laser-focused on one type of investment for house hacking because that is what got us I don’t want to say trouble but we pretty much avoided other single-families that maybe would have suited us a little bit better because it was a lot of work. It’s a great experience but not to get so focused on one type of investment. In Denver Boulder, multifamilies usually are in rougher condition and have more upfront costs than a typical single-family that has a basement apartment mother-in-law. In other markets, there’s way more multifamily that’s probably in better shape so Denver is something to be a little more open-minded about.

You said, “Boulder Denver,” and, “In Boulder, you won’t find anything,” and you’re like, “A couple million.” We don’t have that many multifamilies and anything is at least a million but when I see them, I have a friend on a search and I’m like, “That’s $1.6 and this one’s $2 million.” It’s not the same.

Boulder is a different breed.

Jeff, I like your shoes.

I love these shoes. I try to make sure they match my outfit but it’s sometimes hard. I like to be tall.

Which ones are you wearing now? The new ones?

No, the flat ones.

If you’re reading this, Jeff has a bunch of heels in the background, and they look pretty good on him. Jeff, when you’re done with this property, what year is it when this thing has been all settled and all that?

House Hacking: A lot of people see real estate as rainbows and unicorns thing. But in reality, it is an emotional roller coaster.

 

We did the one year so this was August 2017 when we bought it and we waited until September 2018 to move out and we found another one and it was not multifamily.

Tell us about that.

Jumping into that, we learned a lot on the first one more so of what type of repairs and improvements you need to be successful and not to over-improve and try to find more turnkey type property that doesn’t require as much. We also realize that single-families with basement apartments are like a duplex as long as you find ones that are okay with parking, zoning, they still work fabulously for numbers, and all that and usually much better condition. That’s where we switched our strategy from that.

House hack number two was in Northern Colorado, which was about 15 to 20 minutes north of downtown for people out of state and it was a 6 bedroom, 3 bath single-family with an upstairs unit and downstairs unit. It’s like an uptown duplex where they converted the 1 car garage to a bedroom so it had a ton of space with a separate entrance. It’s well done and all the stuff we had to do was simple true cosmetic stuff of floor, paint and baseboards, appliances, and stuff like that. It was great.

Does the house have a separate kitchen? You had two there?

Yes. It had one upstairs. We moved into the basement, the true basement, and rented out the upstairs to a family. We’ve got 3 bedroom, 2 bath and they’ve got a $1,800 for that. There are two rooms on the main level that we’ve rented for $650 each so we had $1,800 plus $1,300 so it’s $3,100 and the mortgage on this one since the purchase price was $375,000 with a 4.875% if you can believe that, Zeona. Back then, that was the rate in 2018. I thought it was a good deal and the mortgage was $2,400 so this one worked much better from switching strategies and being a little bit more open-minded and a little more flexible.

Why did you say that directed at me? I was like, “I owned a property before you. I know about interest rates.”

I like to include everyone.

I’m coming for you. This seems pretty good so you ended up having roommates for this one, the other one you guys were living by yourself. How was that? Was that easy to negotiate with your partner? Was she on board at this point?

Once I showed her the numbers she was all-in. She was open-minded to the numbers and made a one-year sacrifice for long-term gain. We’re in the basement so it’s 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom. Four people share one bathroom so you can see how sometimes that causes a little strife and difficulties when someone’s in the shower for 40 minutes and another one can’t go to the bathroom or can’t use the bathroom. It only happened a few times because we all had different schedules luckily but it did happen and that was the biggest thing. We also learned from that which we applied one year later to our next one.

Real quick. When you left that first one, what did you rent your place out for that you had been previously living in?

$1,450.

That was pretty sweet cashflow for you coming out of it.

After we moved out, it worked out well and was easy to find. We fixed up nice, over-improved it compared to what people should do for rentals. The difference I would say between over-improve and rental grade is pretty much homeowner quality and rental grade. There are two different things and a lot of people when you live in nice apartments or live in a nice condo or house. You come from stuff that’s already updated. You’re going to want something similar and we applied what we had at the condo I lived at before to that. We definitely had black stainless appliances, soft close cabinets, and much nicer quality than what we needed.

That’s one thing I wanted to ask you about too, Jeff. It seems like you guys went backward in terms of lifestyle creep. You started off not house hacking and you had your own unit in the fourplex and now you’re living with roommates. What’s coming next? You’ve got the garage or the camper?

We didn’t take it as far as Craig. We didn’t go into the van.

No van life. I am curious to see how that transition went the opposite way that most people go. Did that hurt you at all or did that feel weird?

Looking back at it, it wasn’t that big. It was more of a mindset. It was a one-year commitment. Let’s go live in a multifamily. We can improve it how we want, the first one. Living in a basement with roommates, most of your listeners and all of us included have lived with roommates one time or another. It was like, “Here are the numbers.” In the short-term sacrifice, we get to live for free and deal with a couple of roommates that we get to choose while we live there and it works out fine.

It’s interesting, the roommate situation at the second one. We barely saw that. We didn’t have a community type of thing. We’re like, “Let’s go hang out and do a ski club and go up every weekend in the winter.” We didn’t do any of that. We said hello. It’s more like the stop and hellos. That was pretty much the extent of our relationships. We weren’t buddies and pals and all that.

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What would you say are the lessons you learned in that one that you applied to the next time around? Have you done a third one?

We’re at number five.

We need to speed this up.

The lessons we learned on the second one was the same thing as the first one. We said, “We don’t mind roommates but let’s get a master. We’ll take the master next time,” versus us sharing it with two other people. That was one lesson. The other lesson was we’re going to do this whole unconventional duplex single-family house. Let’s find one that has a little bit higher quality finishes and more turnkey on the other units. The bottom unit that we were in had some old cabinets and it’s a more dated feel so we’re like, “Let’s try to shoot for one that’s a little bit better quality that has less electoral issues and plumbing and stuff.” Those are two lessons are the big ones.

I say this all the time but I’m curious to get your intake, Jeff. What would you recommend for house hackers? Would you recommend someone go in, do a bunch of work, do rehab and find something ugly and make it pretty or would you recommend someone go in and get something turnkey?

Closer to turnkey or if you’re going to do some that need work more the basic improvements of true cosmetics like floor, carpet, paint, appliances, some cabinet doors, and stuff like that because your first one is going to be your biggest learning curve. You want to make it easier on yourself. Unless you have experience or background in construction or dealing with work yourself or you have a true passion for it, which most people don’t, if you do, then that person or people could go for a more fixer-upper. The majority of us who are W-2 employees definitely start on the easier path because you already have one job, you don’t want to create another.

I would agree with that as well.

Number three.

We’re still up to Northglenn and my job moved. I was over in Westminster and my job moved down past Park Meadows Mall. If your readers are out of state, that’s about a 40 mile drive each way from my Northglenn house to my job. I was able to convince the underwriters to let me move in under one year so I’d have to wait the full year for number three. I was able to get it down to ten months because of my job being so far away. It was the longest ten months of my life. It was a 1.5-hour drive each way going back and forth, waking up at 5:00, and leaving work at 6:30. It was terrible because I was taking I-25.

For number three, we’re like, “We’ll get something closer to my work.” We found something close to the first house stack in West Denver off of Sheraton Alameda for your local readers. For your non-local readers, it’s also fifteen minutes west of downtown Denver. This one was true turnkey. It was built in 2001 and was a 7 bed, 3 bath. It’s a 4 bed, 2 bath upstairs and 3 bed, 1 bath down. They converted the two-car garage to a 20×20 bedroom or family room, wherever you don’t call it.

Zeona, we lived in the master so we got our own bathroom for the first time since living in the four-unit and we had a Section 8 tenant already on the bottom. The numbers are $485,000 purchase price, the mortgage was $2,500. The bottom tenant, Section 8, was a 3-bed, 1-bath, paying $1,941 per month and we did rent by room upstairs and the other bedrooms, and we got about $700 on average per room. We’re looking at close to what is $5,000 for total rents, and the mortgage is $2,500 so this one was definitely our best deal at the time.

I want to ask you a little bit about Section 8 tenants. What’s your take on them? I know a lot of people are intimidated by them. Give us all you’ve got.

Section 8 is a government funding program that is local. Each city has its own local housing authority so Denver, in particular, has the Denver Housing Authority. For Northglenn, it’s Adams County Housing Authority. Every city or county has its own specific one. It’s a program that covers the majority of the rents for low-income or fixed-income type tenants. The example of the one we had, the $1,941 only paid $200 of that and Denver Housing Authority covered the $1,741 the rest of it. It was a direct deposit to your account. You have a lease and everything’s the same as a normal tenant but they’re on a fixed or low income. That’s pretty much the only difference you could screen in the same way you do. You can advertise on GoSection8.com. It’s where you see a lot of ads for your readers and also some local cities have a separate website as well.

Are they the worst tenants? Do you find that they’re noisier, messier, or break stuff easier?

They’re like any other tenants. You have to screen well. Usually, the more families because the Section 8 voucher that they get that covers, in that example I gave you, $1,741 have a certain number of kids and Housing Authority covers a bigger chunk for you. If it’s a combination of two, you get more. Usually, you have more families that have Section 8 so people with 2, 3, or 4 kids. In his particular case, it’s husband, wife with two kids and they were lower income.

I’ve heard that they tend to stay longer because it’s harder to get the placements and everything. Since this was house hack three, and presumably a couple of years ago, have you found that to be true?

They’re still there. When I bought that one in July of 2019, and they’re still there today. They probably will be there probably for another year so it depends. As long as I want to keep them there. They’ve been solid tenants, besides yelling at each other, sometimes late at night and shutting down at quiet hours. That’s the only issue we have with them.

House Hacking: Don’t be so laser-focused on one type of investment for house stockings.

 

It’s funny because I hear a lot of people that are afraid of Section 8 tenants and oftentimes it’s the people that have never done Section 8. Everyone that I know who has done Section 8 pretty much loves it because it is pretty much a guaranteed rent. They are pretty much required to treat your place well because if they don’t, they could lose their voucher then they lose $1,700 a month. Anyone in the right state of mind will not want to lose that. I would strongly consider Section 8 if that’s something the readers maybe want to do.

Also, another point as well. When COVID started back in April of 2020, the tenants were in lower-income jobs so the tenants both lost their jobs and their voucher covered 100% of the whole rent. It was nice to know that I had that security and backup plan in place for that particular tenant. If that rent was $1,941 and they lost their jobs, that’s a lot of rent for a majority of people even if you’re making a good income.

I want to ask you about having so many tenants really quick. Because you’re doing a lot of rent by rooms and different slices of the home, did you have any issues with COVID? Were all your tenants pretty solid?

They were all pretty solid. There is maybe one tenant that might have done something, the rent-by-room people upstairs. We already moved out by this point. One of them supposedly got something but they got tested and was fine but who knows. This was back in May or April of 2020 so it’s possible that they did have it. Luckily, everyone’s healthy and happy. By now, rent by room could be an issue for pandemics for sure but we were fortunate.

I was asking if they pay the rent. I wasn’t worried about another pandemic. That’s unlikely. I’m more worried if they paid your rent or not so why was that. How was that?

Everyone paid rent. We’re all caught up. Total gross rent collections compared to overall is 95% across every single rent by room and all people have lost their jobs and normal tenants who work. It was fine during the whole pandemic.

Jeff, your story is pretty clear here. You’re the quintessential house hacker where it’s like, “I’m going to buy a house every single year on the year.” How did you save up for that first down payment? How did you save for the 2nd and 3rd a year later? Was house hacking the primary driver? You do have $80,000. That’s no insignificant amount of money.

The first one was saved up from being a good saver and not spending. I saved up over time and I sold my condo too so I had some of the money from that and some other personal savings. For the first one, I didn’t want to spend $82,000 because that was a lot of money for anyone. Let alone the first one when I was already learning the most and trying to live.

The fact I could live for free was a huge difference-maker for me and my partner because we took the negative $1,400, we had to pay for the condo and turn it around to break even. We did Airbnb as well to help the cashflow on that first one that we didn’t talk about so we did end up positive for the year. She did make money on that first one the first year even though we had all these huge expenses.

Living for free and making a little bit of money is how we were able to save up the 5% for number two. Going from 2 to 3 it became even easier because we did have $82,000. It was way less cost to repair and improve it. The third one is much easier to save up for. The 4th one and the 5th one, as we’ll go into, are even better.

It’s going to be easier and easier as you go. The first one is the hardest one to save up for. That may take a couple of years if you don’t have an asset to sell or you’re getting started, maybe starting to work. Once you can start living for free and cashflowing, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th ones become inherently so much easier to save up for and it’s not even a matter of saving for the next house hack. It’s like, “What do I do with this extra money that I’m not house hacking with?” You want to keep investing in it.

I’m curious what your next plan is because you’ve got five now and maybe you want to give us an idea of what your cashflowing between the five and where you’re hoping to go.

Mind you, this is self-management and I’m looking to switch over to property management. At this point, I have eighteen tenants total. Working as a realtor for the FI Team is way more enjoyable than I have my W-2 job. I don’t want to do self-managing anymore. Total cashflow with self-managing is about $6,000 across all the properties.

Do you have a goal or some kind of vision?

Keep going. I asked my lender on my third one, “What’s the record for most house hacks or most people I have moved every year with the strategy we’re doing?” He told me, “A seven.” I told him that I want to do eight. That’s what I’m holding myself accountable towards. We have three more ago, Zeona.

You and Craig are two little peas in a pod. It’s like, “There’s no reason. I want to beat that person. I want to be the big one.”

If Craig gets 8, then I might go 9 to do one more than him.

Jeff, we’re going to be house hacking until we’re 90. We couldn’t be flip flopping with each other. The only issue is you’re older than me so I may win.

The wife will carry on the legacy.

That’s true. She’s living longer than both of us for sure. Jeff, I’m going to ask you this question. Are you still working?

Yes.

Why?

Positivity is a very rare trait. And having that, even when you're stressed, separates you as a person who is destined to achieve great successes. Click To Tweet

I do enjoy my W-2 job and I do love the realtor side and working with house hackers and first-time homebuyers. I still enjoy it. I’m not at that point where I hate my job or want to quit yet.

I’ve been trying to influence. I will say subtly, but it’s not subtle. I’m asking you once a week or so.

I have to come up with new answers.

In all seriousness, though, it shows that this house hacking thing does not have to be a full-time job. You can work a full-time job while house hacking. It’s leverage. You’re making $6,000 a month on cashflow. That’s $72,000 a year, which is a pretty damn good salary in itself but on top of your additional salary, whatever it is, you’re probably making upwards of $200,000 a year between those two things. That’s incredible and it’s a way to propel you towards that financial independence.

I would say to your readers, don’t quit your W-2 job too early because both of you can talk about qualifying for mortgages. I’m sure you’ve talked about it being 1099 people and it’s much different. Lenders love their W-2 employees a lot because it’s easier for them to understand it. Not that you can’t do 1099. It’s slightly different and may take a couple more years.

They like predictable income. Should we wrap up into the next part of the show or do you want to give us any more words of wisdom?

I can talk about numbers 5 and 4 quickly.

Craig, do you want something quick and high level?

Yeah. Jeff, why don’t you give us the Reader’s Digest version of numbers 4 and 5.

One year later, we did number four and that one was a bilevel house in the front and a 4 bed, 2 bath in the back so it’s 10 bed, 4 bath and we rented out. The numbers on that one are even better than the third one. The net cashflow and that one is about $3,000 a month. That’s our biggest one. It’s a combination of rent by room and rented out as normal tenants. The fifth one is the ultimate one for house hackers. It’s the 2 houses, 1 lot. We live in the back, small house, 1 bed, 1 bath, and we rent out the front house to a tenant. For that one, our goal was not to maximize cashflow. We did that in the last one, “Let’s live for free,” and we are accomplishing that goal on this one.

How do you find a 10 bed, 4 bath?

It was a 9 bed, 4 bath before and the basement had an extra space. I was like, “Let’s add a closet here and we’ve got a bedroom,” and that’s what we did. It’s a cool one.

Jeff finds these weird houses that have an odd amount of bedrooms and bathrooms and I don’t know how to find them. I’ve been looking. Props to you. Jeff, any other glimpse of wisdom before we head to the final part of the show?

Tell your readers to be steady, improvement, and consistency. Look at the 3 to 5-year picture. You don’t have to do house hacking for ten years. You could start in your mid-twenties and do it until you’re 30. At 30, you’ll have 3 to 5 house hacks. In almost every market, you could choose, at that point, whether you want to pursue your passion and become a musician full-time or whatever your goals are, or invest in traveling or pretty much whatever you want or keep working or keep doing house hacking. The flexibility is yours at the age of only 30 or whenever you start.

Let’s head into The Final Four. Z, kick us off.

What are you reading right now?

The ONE Thing.

From Craig, I imagine.

I’ve heard it in multiple places but Craig was an influence around that. It’s a solid book. Multitasking is not the most efficient use of your time. Focusing on one thing at the moment and accomplishing that will achieve optimal results. That’s the message in the book I’ve gotten.

I always wonder how you write a book with one message. It’s like you’ve reiterated 20 million times. Good fluffing.

That is a good book. You use a bunch of anecdotes and a bunch of studies, and then you get the premise of the book. It takes the whole book to tell you what Jeff said. If you haven’t read it, it’s one of the classic self-help books so I recommend you picking it up. Jeff, what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Be optimistic and positive even when things aren’t going your way. It’s more like a general piece that a lot of people reiterate in the course of their life. Stress sometimes overcomes people and then they get negative, lose their train of thought, negativity, being stressed out, beating yourself up, and haven’t been open-minded and being positive. Positivity is a rare trait and having that even when you’re stressed is what separates people from ending up being successful and not.

House Hacking: You don’t have to do house hacking for ten years. You could just start in your mid-twenties and stop once you reach 30.

 

What is your why?

Why is to have the option of living in a beautiful place like Portugal with my fiancé, selling coconuts on the beach, and having no responsibility at all except for enjoying life. That is my why.

Portugal’s cheap. You could just do that now.

Zeona is going to start asking me too, Craig, I bet.

I am Team Quit Job. I asked my boyfriend that all the time, but he’s making too much money so I better leave him alone.

If you’re reading this, I highly recommend reaching out to Jeff and telling him to quit his job. Let’s get the whole world out of him to quit his job. I’m always on Team Quit Job. Last question, how many chickens would it take to kill an elephant?

I’m going to go with one chicken.

You’re going to have to explain that a little further.

Because maybe elephants are allergic to some type of feathers, and it collapses a 5,000-pound elephant.

Let’s not put one chicken around an elephant then or maybe we do that and we start placing bets. We might start looking like Michael Vick and we don’t want to do that. One chicken to kill an elephant, we will test that someday. Otherwise, Jeff, where can people find out more about you and tell you to quit your job?

I’m on BiggerPockets. I’m Jeffrey White. I’m also on Instagram, @8ToFire is the handle on there. Those are the two places you can find me. Also, on The FI Team, Jeff@TheFITeam.com, if you want to email me. My phone number is (720) 951-6868.

Those late-night calls, Craig had a good time.

Jeff, thank you so much for coming to the show. This was a good episode. I always love hearing your story and always love chatting with you. We will be in touch soon I’m sure.

Thank you so much. It was a pleasure.

That was Jeffrey White. Z, what did you think?

It was great to hear his story because I know all the FI Team people and you’re collecting them. There’s a lot of them now. I had seen his name and I know he spoke at one of the house hack meetups that you do here in Longmont. It was great to dig into all his numbers, and it’s impressive what he’s building. Thanks for bringing him on the show.

Jeff is a good example of what you could be in five years after house hacking. He’s got $6,000-plus of passive income a month. He’s equipped and capable of quitting his job if he wanted to. He started a little later but he’s under 40 and able to quit his job. If you’re 22 or 23 reading this, you could have the same results where in five years, you can achieve the same type of numbers and you could probably be able to quit your job before 30. It’s just a matter of when you start. This episode is a great jump into your future. I absolutely loved it.

I love that the key is that even though he’s in his 30s, they didn’t do the lifestyle creep. They shared a bathroom, lived with people, lived in the basement, and did all the things, the little sacrifices that are temporary that got them from A to B. That’s key because I do work with people in their 30s that are not willing to sacrifice and it takes longer.

It’s hard going the opposite way on that comfort continuum towards profitability in a way from comfortability, especially after already being comfortable, but they did it successfully. Now I would bet that they are progressing towards that comfort side again so that they can live the life that they’ve always wanted to live. It sounds like he’s going to be selling coconuts in Portugal before we know it. Z, any words of wisdom before we head off?

Nothing I can think of right on the spot, Craig.

I thought you were better than that, Z.

Not now. I’m a tired girl.

We had a heck of an episode, so I don’t blame you. Thank you all for reading. If you guys could, please leave us a review or rating or whatever it is on iTunes. Let us know what you think. Feel free to shoot me a DM on Instagram, @TheFIGuy, and Zeona McIntyre, @ZeonaMcIntyre. We’ll see you guys all in the next episode. We’re looking forward to it.

 

Important Links

 

About Jeffrey White

Enthusiastic, resourceful, and goal-driven Finance Manager with experiences in a variety of financial organizations such as commercial finance, real estate banking, corporate finance, and insurance.

 

Areas of strength:

Portfolio Management
Risk Management
Credit Administration
Underwriting
Excel Modeling and Forecasting
Project Management
Business Development

 

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