ITF 56 | House Hacking


Jonathan Tom learned about FI at an early age and started out by investing in index funds. It took him some time to see real estate investing as an option, but once he did, he bought his first property (just last April!) and house hacked it.

In this episode, Jonathan walks us through his journey as a medical student-turned-doctor and part-time investor. He breaks down how he acquired a house and rehabbed it into a cash-flowing property, highlighting the importance of adding value. He also shares tips so that you can have smaller utility bills.

Listen to the podcast here


Life Hacks From The House Hacking Doctor Jonathan Tom

Z, what’s going on?

If you have been on my Instagram, which you might not have been, I have been shopping for cars and had people casting votes but I did have a disappointing experience going out to test drive a car. The journey continues but stay tuned.

Is that why you were still late and you were running back from your car extravaganza?

It is because all the car lots are in BFE Thornton. It is really far away and there are lots of traffic. I miscalculated and I am sorry.

What do you get in? The Porsche, BMW, or Maserati?

I don’t know. I was driving Alfa Romeo because I was trying to get something that nobody has, which is just me. I like to be a little extra but I might end up getting something a little more eco-friendly so it might be like a plugin Audi or something.

You are fancy.

Yes. I have a house to pay for. Don’t worry, Craig.

I have to race you with my 2011 Suzuki with the duct tape on the side.

What is new with you, Craig?

We are doing rehab on my current house hack and we are almost done. The kitchen is going in, so I’m excited. I have a designer helping me out there. A couple of the rehabs are coming to an end and going to get those rented out. I turned this house. It is got a total shit show for me into a sober living house. My buddy runs a sober living house where they are going to have to get him on the show.

I have talked to them. They’re super interesting. I love that you are doing this.

It’s like a win-win. It pays above the market. They are going to make a ton of money off of the house and it is for a good cause because what they are doing is amazing. We will get into that more when we have them on the show. Let’s go in on exciting stuff. What we got going on is Mr. Jonathan Tom. He is an interesting character because he is a house hacking doctor. He lives with a bunch of people, which is pretty cool.

He seems to be up on life hacks. Read until the end because he talks about a couple of cool tricks, especially if you’re on the younger side of getting out of college and maybe not making a lot of money.

At the very end, even after the final four, he talks about three hacks that probably saved him over $1,000, free refrigerators and big stuff, so let’s bring him on.

Jonathan Tom, welcome to the show. It is good to have you here. How are you doing?

It is great to be here and join you guys.

You are our first guest that filled out our little application and got through the whole thing. Congratulations on that.

That is one that I tried hard.

It is good because it is hard to pick guests. You have such an articulate response. We already know your story, which is a compelling one and that is why we have got you on. That is what we were going to talk about, Jonathan’s story. Jonathan, why don’t you take us from the beginning? Where and when did you first hear about financial independence?

When I heard about financial independence, it goes back to probably as a kid. My dad would always give us the Dave Ramsey quote about saving and putting money in index funds. I slowly grew up on that mindset. I invested in an index fund and stuff like that, and be a good child like my dad wanted maybe.

ITF 56 | House Hacking
Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!

Right before starting medical school years ago, my brother named Craig gave me the book Rich Dad Poor Dad, the classic. I read that book. It changes your life and it did that for me too. I got into BiggerPockets from my brother. I read more books about real estate and then I was hooked from there. The difference that I have realized about the Rich Dad Poor Dad mindset or the real estate mindset versus Dave Ramsey is that Dave Ramsey talks and teaches pay down your debt. Money is limited and I didn’t necessarily agree with that.

It sounds like Dave Ramsey was the shrine above your dining room table. Your dad liked David Ramsey. How did you make your money as a kid to then go ahead and save? Was this your allowance or did you get creative with it? These stories are always sometimes funny.

Growing up, my grandparents gave us money randomly, like dropping $20 bills if I cleaned the restroom or washed the car. I would keep that. I get birthday money from my parents, Christmas money and all that stuff. I would save it and then invest in a Vanguard account. I made my own Vanguard account. I put in some index money, which I had no clue about but I put it in there. I would work for my mom during the summers or work in whatever job I could get. I saved money and put it in the index fund because that is what I thought was going to help me financially independent.

To be clear, an index fund is not a bad way to go. There are a lot of people that had financial independence through only investing in index funds. It usually takes 10 or 15 years versus maybe 3 to 5 or so when you are doing real estate, but it’s a safe, passive and easy way to get there. It is mind-free. If money doesn’t interest you and you don’t want to be constantly learning, put your money in the index fund, and you would be pretty safe.

You do want to be careful about where these index funds are and what their expense ratios are. It is not any old willy-nilly index fund, but if you are using stuff in Vanguard, it is hard to go wrong. They have lots of good options. Let’s hear more about why your idea with real estate is different than that idea of money being limited.

First off, I agree that investing in index funds is great. If you have a basic knowledge of financial independence, it is a great starting spot. How I evolved after reading all these books was, my take on money was not this limited pay down your debt. It is not enough money in the world. It is more of an abundance mindset that money is not a static thing, but it is more of a dynamic thing that is going to come and go.

I have shifted to where money is abundant. It is going to sound awful but money is like fake play money. You never touch money. It is not tangible as pressing a couple of buttons on your phone and I get all these rent checks to my Venmo. I pressed a couple of buttons with my bank account and it is a crazy concept to think about. Once you shift your mind to thinking money is not on a pedestal of attainable stuff, it is your ideas on how much you execute on your plan. That is my shift of money. It is a free-flowing object.

I don’t know if this quote resonates with the subject but for some reason, it came into my head where it is like, “Poor people know how to spend money. Middle-class people know how to save money, especially the middle class because that is where a lot of people are and they are trying to get out of your savings. You would like to see that checking account or that savings account balance go up, and then the rich people know how to invest money.” The biggest difference is that rich people invest money, so it is not a big barrier to go from middle class to rich. You have to have something to invest in, even if it is in Vanguard or whatever it is.

The only difference between rich people and the middle class is education. I could have sat in the middle class. I’m not saying I’m in the high class but I aspire to be in the upper class. I read more books and it is as insane as you listen to podcasts. You educate yourself in a way. I didn’t think I would ever buy a house or be a real estate investor, but I was educated. I was not necessarily scared of real estate because I read about it. What is holding people back is this fear of the unknown.

Growing up through Dave Ramsey and all this stuff, did you ever think that there was more than saving money, putting in an index fund and your brother dropped this bomb on you with Rich Dad Poor Dad? Were you curious? How did that go?

I did not think real estate was an option. I’m just putting in index funds and I had a little Robinhood account thinking I was going to be like a little day trader on the side, but no. I got dropped a bomb and it changed my world. I didn’t like reading books. It’s bad to say that since I was in medical school or I’m a doctor, but I read so many books that half-year or right before medical school. I was almost reconsidering medical school.

What hospital are you at?

I’m in Riverside County. It is an hour and a half away from Downtown LA.

If you were in Riverside, stay clear of that hospital. You are going to get a doctor that does not read books and only knows financial stuff.

On scrubs, I have a mask on and glasses.

You get this bomb dropped on you with Rich Dad Poor Dad. You read the book. I’m guessing you probably read it two days because it is this big. What happens next?

I read all those books and then I had to start medical school. I can’t invest as a student with all this debt. I have no income, there is no physical way, and I would put it to the side for about a couple of years. I didn’t start picking up steam until my fourth year of medical school.

Did you question the fact that you went to medical school? That is five years of your time. It is a whole lot of money when you could have been investing in real estate right from the get-go. Did that thought ever cross your mind going through those four years?

The stock answer should be, I am in medicine because I want to take care of patients. It is not about the money. I do love medicine. I’m glad I went through medical school but there are times when I’m studying at 2:00 AM where every weekend, I’m not going out with my friends, and I said, “I could have done real estate and seeing where it went from there,” but I didn’t, and I’m happy taking care of patients.

That is another thing. I never fault anyone for going after their passion. If your passion is helping people through medicine, healthcare, and all of that, 100% go for it. If you are doing it to make your $300,000 a year salary, you can make a lot more than $300,000 a year in doing other things that don’t require all that school, time, and debt. It is the thought there.

I want to know where this real estate started because you said you have all these rent checks coming in and I’m like, “Where are the houses?”

Once you shift your mind to thinking money isn't on a pedestal but just attainable stuff, you will begin to see it as a free-flowing object. Click To Tweet

I did do one house. I started investing. I bought my home and I bought it during medical school with the physician’s loan. They allow medical students at the end of their fourth year to invest in the home. Before you even make any money, they give you a loan called the physician’s loan.

I have never even heard about this. That’s funny. I feel like I know all the types of lending. Can you tell us a little bit about what makes the physician’s loan a little bit different? Do you get less downpayment? Is it only for something owner-occupied?

An easy way to explain is the VA loan but for physicians. It’s a low downpayment depending on what state you are in. Only certain banks that are not government-backed loans do it, but there is 0% to 5% down alone and then you don’t have to pay PMI, which is the best thing about the loan.

My question is, why does this don’t exist? In my head, it is like, “The VA loan exists because those people serve their countries and risk their lives for years.” You have got low-income staff to get people who would not normally be able to buy a house, but physicians are typically known as people that get paid a lot of money. We appreciate all of your services but it doesn’t feel like there should be a special loan for physicians. Please, tell me more.

I don’t know why they create it. By suspect, banks love good investments and they see physicians as these good investments, high-income earners but if the other banks for conventional loans or student loans are so high, we would not be able to qualify for a loan. This physician loan eliminates the student debt and they also take into account that after medical school, you are not technically an attending physician. You are not making the $400,000, but you are making $60,000 for 3 or 4 years, however long you have to do your residency. That banks create this knowing that physicians need access to it alone and provide them another option.

I wanted to know if this extends for nurses or anybody else or is it purely physicians?

I did do some research. I didn’t do too much research because I qualified for it but it is also physician assistants, nurse practitioners, dentists, or doctors, for sure, even lawyers. I’m not even sure but it depends. You have to reach out to a bank, and each bank has a little different criteria.

This feels like a secret sneaky thing that I could have in my back pocket. It’s good to know.

I feel like what it tries to accomplish is that a lawyer, a doctor, and all these guys have to do a lot of school before you even start making money, and that is a huge debt. If you get out for the first 3 or 4 years, you are not making a lot of money, but in those 3 or 4 years, you are $28,000, $29,000, or $30,000 after all the schooling, and that is typically about the time when people are trying to buy their first homes. In my head, that checks out as to why physicians and lawyers have the opportunity to buy a home in their late twenties.

What did you do with that physician’s loan?

I’m in Southern California, about an hour East of Downtown. The bank I used with the minimum was 5% down. That was a minimum downpayment you can put in the State of California. I have had a friend in Texas who had 0% down like the VA loan or state-to-state dependent, but for my loan, we bought this home for $600,000 and I put down 5%, so it was $30,000.

Were there closing costs for all that?

Yes. The closing cost was about $10,000 to $11,000 but luckily, we negotiated half the roof cost and some sewage fixes, so we had to pay zero at closing. It was great. We got paid $300.

Did you have to go ahead and go in, fix the roof and the sewer or you would be in?

That was more of a negotiation tactic. It is California and it does not rain too much. The roof has another veneer and then we laid the sewer. It would be good for now.

When you do your due diligence period, it is your biggest negotiation tool, like the roof, sewer, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and all that stuff. The big systems are what you can maybe knock some dollars off, and that is negotiation tools. Get the inspection and look for that big stuff.

To add to that, I would say, in my opinion, it is pretty much always best to get the credit because, as he was saying here, you don’t always need to do it immediately. You can let things wear out a little bit more, then go and change them. The only time I would not do that is when it is a sewer. If you are fully replacing the sewer, there is sometimes a lot of surprises and additional expenses. That can happen with foundation, too but, in general, a furnace can live 50 years. There are some crazy things are going on out there.

A credit is a good way. The one thing you have to be careful of is that the maximum your credit can be is what your closing costs are. The seller will not be able to help you pay for your down payment. If you have $6,000 or $10,000 in closing costs, the maximum to give you in credit is $10,000. Anything more than that could reduce the purchase price. It sounds great. It does not help you too much because if you reduce the purchase price, even $10,000, that is $20 a month on their mortgage or something super small. I always think it is best to take the credit or even increase your closing costs by buying down points so they can give you more credit.

Craig, you are wrong. There are two kinds of credit. There is credit for closing costs that you can do that way and there is a limit to that, but there’s an escrow account. I had a client who got $30,000 in escrow. The cool thing about that is that if he didn’t use it in a full year. He gets it back in a check from the title company but if you do use it, it is like a line of credit that’s at the title company and every time you do a fix, you have the title company pay the check.

I have never heard of that. You are teaching me something.

We were all learning.

ITF 56 | House Hacking
House Hacking: Index funds are not a bad way to go. Many people had financial independence, which only invested in index funds.


Jonathan, teach us something. You buy this house for $600,000. You are putting $30,000 down. The seller is paying the closing cost because it sounds like you had a pretty good agent that negotiated some stuff for you. Did the closing process go smoothly?

Yes. My wife and I were in Hawaii for most of the closing time and then with the negotiation, we didn’t have to do too much. Our agent was calling us in the morning, and then we told them, “Can we do this?” He handled all that. We would sign the papers on our phones. It was much easier than I thought with the closing process. Especially with technology, you can do anything with your phone and the internet.

At what points did you close? What month or year did you close? Let’s see how that looks.

We closed around the end of April 2021, I believe. We started rehab on the house in May 2021 and then the rehab was quite a process.

What made you pick this house? Did you have a certain strategy for how you were going to rent it out or did some things stand out as being maybe value add stuff? What was the reasoning for this one in particular?

I’m a big proponent of forced appreciation or value-add opportunities, especially from all the books and teachings in this market. You got to find a way to add value and your niche. My niche was rent by the room. This house was appealing to me because that was a 4-bedroom, 2-bath, but there was a second living area and this craft room that was not being used. We converted that area to a master bedroom and a bath, so now we have a 5-bed, 3-bath. What’s exciting to me was it sits on a huge lot and I want to build an ADU. It has its little private entrance where we can build a private driveway. That is where I’m hoping to continue my investing strategy.

Do you know how much it will cost to build an ADU?

I got a quote from my contractor. The number is a little SKUed with the lumber being so heavily inflated but this sat around $200,000. I know it is an intimidating number, but I was thinking if I’m spending $200,000, which I’m not doing right now, the numbers work out.

If you need $200,000 to build this ADU and you spent $30,000 to buy this house, why not go buy a couple more houses? You will have houses that will give you more cashflow, appreciation, tax pay down, and all of the beautiful things that real estate gives you.

That is running through my head as well, which I may buy another home at the end of 2022. We asked her, “Are you going to wait on the construction of the ADU,” but that was the quote that I got. There is a law in California that allows the ADU to be rebuilt before 2025 and not have parking restrictions where you have to add parking spots and stuff like that, so it needs to be built before 2025 or get a permit process.

It is always a funny thing when people want to build an ADU. I thought about it and I’m like, “In my head, it never makes sense unless you legitimately want to stay there and you want to make that your primary home or forever home and you would love it but you still want to house-hack it like there is an emotional thing there. In my perspective, and maybe you can shed light on this, is it seems like you could spend $200,000 better elsewhere if your goal is you want to become financially dependent, and your goal is money.

I want to ask for one follow-up on that. Have you looked into if you have to do that in cash or would you get a second mortgage or do some HELOC?

I like to keep my options open. I could get a HELOC or a second mortgage. If I were to do that, then I did some numbers if I were to get a second mortgage for, let’s say, $200,000 by cash and I rented out the ADU for $1,500 or $2,000, depending on which floor plan I decided. It would still be a 50% cash-on-cash return if I took off that second mortgage. I understand that putting $200,000 cash is not the most intelligent thing to do at this point versus buying another house, especially with California’s ADU. It does not add too much value, especially the $200,000 you are putting in.

It depends on what your ultimate goals are. If you can get someone to finance that 100%, do it. Why not? Especially if you are going to get $2,000 a month from $200,000. That is effectively the 1% rule right there, and then you are going to have a good cash-on-cash return there. If it is your forever home and you want to maybe live in the big house and do the luxury house hack type thing but don’t want to share any space or walls, and it makes a lot of sense, run through your options. That is for sure.

I would love to know what your mortgage payment is, how you are renting out the rooms and for how much.

Our PITI is $2,800 and we were renting out the rooms. It is a 5-bedroom, 3-bath. My wife and I live in the master and then we rent out the four other rooms to residents and some medical students. We were getting about $3,500 each month and I’m giving a few of my friends a pretty sweet deals.

What do you think that master is going to go for?

At least $1,200.

Are you going to get $4,700 on a $2,800 mortgage? It is insane. You are probably making almost $2,000 over your mortgage when you are getting rent by the room. Is there any regulations you have to worry about in Riverside County?

No. I’ve read that there has. It is less than six different groups of families or something like that but this is a five-bedroom, and it will fit.

It sounds like you have got yourself a killer deal there and they said you could not house that in California. Taxes are too high and all that stuff for you. You figured it out.

There’s just so much second thought and hesitancy from people just thinking what other people think. Click To Tweet

You had to be a little creative.

I’m curious about your physician loan. Are you able to use it again or is it a one-and-done thing after a year?

It depends on each bank and their policy, but the bank I’m with is you can do two persons. My wife is also a physician, so we were hoping that at least use four, and then hopefully, maybe refinance out of one eventually and then continue jumping up into nicer homes.

Let’s say, over the next two years, you each use your two. At that point, will you and your wife be making that larger income so that your debt to income ratio on a traditional mortgage would be okay? Can you use the doctor loans as a bridge gap?

Yes. You can use a doctor’s loan for up to ten years after residency. Residency after medical school is about three years for me and my wife. The number is usually ten years until they give you a loan.

That is how you use yours up and you are ready to get your next conventional. If you want to get house hack number five, you will be able to do a conventional loan because you will be making to get some, so keep giving your patients financial advice here in COVID, and you will be good.

If he owns four properties by then, he will have a lot of rental income to show. What’s the plan now? You had it starting in April 2021, so you are a few months in. What is your next purchase or step?

I was debating the ADU versus buying another house, but I need to convince my wife to maybe let us buy another home and go through a renovation process because she did a pretty good job in renovating this entire house and picking all the tile. It looks beautiful. I got to convince her to move and do it again in another place.

Did you renovate it?

I did not do the manual labor, but she paid for all the lighting, tile, and all the pretty much the stuff I can’t pick. We cannot do any handiwork. We tried to put up towel racks and made a hole size on a corner.

What did it cost you to add that bathroom?

We have updated both bathrooms and the kitchen. We also added the master and the bathroom, and it cost about $70,000.

You are like a rush cat. You based your $100,000 all-in, $70,000 rehab plus a $30,000 downpayment. When you move out, you make about $2,000 a month or so. It is $1,500 x 12 so maybe it is $30,000 to $40,000 a year in actual net income on $100,000 investment. Even with that big investment, you are still making 30% to 40% cash-on-cash return, not including the great appreciation you are going to get being in California.

Do you know what your ARV is now? What it’s worth after, approximately, because you could also get it reappraised, get a HELOC or do a cash-out refi and put in that ADU.

I double-checked on that and then it is around $775,000 for a 5-bedroom, 3-bath. If I were to take out that second loan and refinance, I would be able to pull out roughly close to a month. I have to do the numbers in but I would be able to pull out at least a significant portion of what we put in.

That is the magic of real estate. Jonathan, we were probably going to head over to our final four. Are there any final words that you want to say?

I want to talk about my goals. Everyone says invest for cashflow and don’t do the appreciation, but I’m more investing to win. I want big-time appreciation. I want to build wealth, not necessarily cashflow because I don’t want to give myself $100 or something like that, especially working in the hospital so much. I want to build an appreciation and hopefully, one day, trade-up these properties for a property that is $5 million or $6 million and build up that way. That is my goal. It is not necessarily to be the traditional financial independent for the cashflow. It is more of the appreciation and building wealth.

I say this a lot to my clients, cashflow is great when you are first starting. If you don’t have an alternative like yours, you are going to be working as a doctor for a while and you are committed to that, and if somebody is looking to replace their income and they say, “I need $3,000 a month to leave my job or $5,000 a month,” they can say, ‘I need five houses that make me $5,000 a month.’”

In that sense, they need that certain amount so you can do the math easily. Appreciation is where we make our big wealth in real estate but it is a little bit speculative and risky. If you can put yourself in a position like you have in a market where there is a lot of appreciation but not always cashflow, but you figured out a creative way to get cashflow, that’s amazing. Great job.

It sounds like you have got the best of both worlds. You got a good cashflow property with rent by the room and it is likely going to appreciate being that it is in California. Even though it is an hour outside of LA, Riverside is still a growing county for sure. Let’s be honest for a second. I say this all the time. You have probably heard me say it. The cashflow makes you free, and appreciation makes you rich. What do you want? Where are your goals at? It sounds like you enjoy and like your job. Your passion is not real estate. It sounds like it is helping people through medicine, healthcare, and then doing the appreciation thing.

I have got a buddy and he is in our little men’s group GoBundance. He is on another level and he is probably where we all want to be. He is in LA and has about $50 million in real estate but only $1 million of passive income a year, which honestly is a lot but relative to a $50 million net worth, that’s not that much. That is a 2% cashflow or return on investment on your net worth. His goal was like you, though. He buys these multifamily properties in the best locations in the best cities. His cap rates are super low but he has made a lot of his wealth that way.

ITF 56 | House Hacking
House Hacking: Be sure to get a house inspection. Checking your roof, sewers, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing can be used as negotiation tools and could knock some dollars off your deal.


That’s a fun time. What I’m trying to do is build wealth through very nice properties. It is less headache.

Let’s do the final four.

Jonathan, what are you reading?

I didn’t like reading books but to make my attending physicians happy, I am reading all these emergency medicine books, not necessarily even real estate books. I follow shows such as yours or BiggerPockets to keep my mind fresh about real estate. I do that when I’m cooking, cleaning or around the house.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Probably the best piece of advice that applies to everything is from my dad. He said, “Don’t care what other people think.” We spend too much time thinking about what other people think or what they are going to think of. If I say this or do this, there is so much second thought and hesitancy on people from thinking what other people think.

I’m a quote junkie if you have not noticed. Charlie Munger, who is Warren Buffett’s right-hand man, has this quote that was like, “Twenty-year-olds care what other people think. Forty-year-olds don’t care what other people think. Sixty-year-olds realized that no one ever thought about you in the first place.” The quicker you can get to the 60-year-old mindset, which sounds like where you are, the more successful you are going to be.

People will spend so much time thinking about what people think but they are a little sideshow in their life. They don’t think of you more than ten seconds that you are in front of them. It is crazy that we spend too much time caring about what they think.

The one thing we glanced over this entire time, which is very relevant, is you are a doctor, your wife is a doctor, and you were living in a house with four other people. What do your doctor friends say about that? Do you and your wife care about what they think?

My wife is awesome. She is all aboard on this house hacking. It sounded crazy to her, but I had to read Rich Dad Poor Dad. That is the way that seems to everyone’s life. It did help when we bought the house, and I bought her a nice purse. That is for deals. In our next house, she is getting a Chanel purse.

If you haven’t, we had Todd Baldwin on our show. That would be a great one for you to read. If you are not familiar with him, he is a pretty ultimate house hacker out of Seattle. It is also a very expensive market but he has figured out a way to make it work for him. It might be someone that you can look at a few years down the road and model from.

That was episode 46 on the show. Is there anything to do with purses there? What was your trigger with Todd Baldwin?

He was talking about wanting to continue renting by the room and not caring what people think. What’s happening is in residency, you are still a college student. It is a great time to capitalize on that where people are being thrifty. They are not making a lot of money and maybe no one was as creative or risk-averse as you to be like, “I’m going to take on a bunch of debt.”

Let me clarify one thing. After years, we would not be renting out five-room unfortunately. It made sense. You are not in the hospital or were in the hospital 12 or 14 hours a day, 6 days a week.

When you are in residency, theoretically, you are getting paid this lower amount. Are you responsible for making your debt payments on your student loans? Can you kick those out until you start getting the real sellers?

Some programs lower your payments and stuff like that but you are responsible for paying all your loans.

Is it interest in principal, not interest only?

Yes. We were not paying any loans. Thank you to the government for freezing everything.

They extended that until the spring of 2022.

Is it for the doctors?

No, it is for everyone. We don’t have student loan debt anymore, Craig, so we forgot about that. Let’s go to question number three. Jonathan, what is your why?

People spend so much time thinking about what others think. In reality, you are just a little sideshow on their life. They don't think of you more than ten seconds that you're in front of them. Click To Tweet

Everyone’s why is more time and spend time with kids but I don’t have kids. My why at this point is making my wife happy, giving her opportunity and zoning things that she wants in life and not having money ever hinder our life’s wants and needs. If we want to go take a trip, we can go take a trip. If we want to buy a nice house in the future, we could buy it and not have to be second-guessing like, “Is this okay to do this? I’m going to go make this trip.” That is my why at this time. It will change in 2 to 3 years, I’m sure.

Final question, what is your favorite smell?

Call me weird, but after rains and that cement, I love that smell. Maybe it doesn’t always rain in California. That is why I love it, but that is my thing.

Jonathan, if people want to learn more about you, where can they find you?

They can find me on Instagram, @JonOTom, if you have questions about the physician loan. I may not be the most educated person on it, but I can stay to the right resources, at least.

When you first got on, you said you had some hacks for people. What are these hacks?

It is a little bit of a game. If you can find any little life hacks or manipulate the game, I’m all about that and there are some things. There is a lot of government assistance programs. America is all about giving away money. You can get free refrigerators by qualifying for a low income. At the time when we bought our home, my wife was on Medi-Cal because she was a student who didn’t make any money.

We bought our home and applied to the utility company and they have this Energy Assistance Program for low-income people. They want to encourage green energy. If you have an old fridge, you can have it replaced. Don’t tell anyone but I picked up a fridge off the street and put it in my garage. I told them that we needed to replace and they gave us a $700 fridge for free.

What is that program called? How do you go apply for that?

Energy Savings Program. All utility companies have that. It is a federally-backed program. The gas company also, you can get free installation in your attic. They do a lot of things and it is a great deal. I would take that out. If you don’t want to pay for your internet, there is also internet. It is called the Emergency Broadband Program too. They give me $50 a month and I’m not paying for the internet. There are lots of things you can do.

Is it high-quality internet?

Yeah. It goes to your bill. I have Spectrum, the basic internet.

He has Spectrum, which is like Comcast.

It is on the West Coast.

Jonathan, it has been a pleasure having you on. You shed some light on a lot of different topics that I don’t think we’ve hit on. I learned a few things from both you and Zeona. This is a fun episode. Thanks so much for coming on.

Thank you. I learned a lot too.

We’ll see you soon.

That was Jonathan Tom. Z, what do you think of Jonathan?

That was a great show. I love hearing about the physician loan because I was telling my partner about this. Every single episode, I learned something new. Sometimes, it is small but this one is such a clever nugget that I can apply to so many of my clients and people that live in my homes because I rent to a ton of nurses, so why not turn those nurses into buyers?

It is amazing. The physician’s loan is something that can be super helpful. Honestly, the little tidbit that you gave me where you can hold cash and escrow for a year and the year that gets the money back is big. We will be helping our clients out with that piece. This episode was full of knowledge and I enjoyed it. Jonathan has got a cool story. His wife and he are on their way to becoming perennial house hackers and real estate investors. It is exciting to see where their journey will go.

ITF 56 | House Hacking
House Hacking: Cashflow is really great when you’re first starting and don’t have any alternative sources of income.


Before we leave, Craig, what is your favorite smell? I’m curious.

I like a lavender essential oil. It always makes me feel good and sleepy. I feel like I sleep well when there is some lavender in my life. How about you, Z?

Mine is super cliche but I love smelling roses, like going and stopping and smelling roses. Everything is good about that moment, especially if you get a good smelly one because sometimes, they were left down. It is a surprise.

If you want to get on Z’s good sides, send her a box of smelly roses. Is there anything else you want to give the readers before we head off the week?


We will go drive your Audi, Maserati, Alfa Romero or whatever car, and you are going to be driving next time we go somewhere.

We can be styling.

You are going to be styling with the top down. Everyone, thanks so much for reading. If you haven’t already, please leave us a review on iTunes and wherever else you tune in. Share this with your friends that may be interested in financial independence into real estate investing. We were trying to reach as many people as possible and help as many people out. Let us know. Reach out to us on Instagram. I’m @TheFIGuy. Zeona is @ZeonaMcIntyre. Let us know how we were doing. With that being said, we will see you all on the next episode.


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