Building Your House Hack ‘Stack’: The Path to Becoming a House Hacking Millionaire
If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a millionaire, then you might be surprised to learn that you can achieve that goal through the simple concept of house hacking. At 33 years old, Jeff was struggling with a negative $1,500 monthly cash flow, but just six years later, he owns eight properties and earns over $8,000 a month in cash flow. And the best part? He was able to achieve all of this while still working a 9-5 job.

In 2016, I was 33 years old working a 9-5 job. I owned a loft-style condo with cool spiral staircase that took me two years to find. My monthly cashflow was -$1,500 and that didn’t include other miscellaneous expenses like my car payments. At the time, I was over 30 years away from retirement with no passive income or landlord experience. I didn’t even own a hammer.

Fast forward six years: I’m 39 years old, and while I don’t own the condo anymore, I now own 8 properties. I even get paid to live in my own house, and my cashflow from my properties is over $8K per month. Even though I still work my 9-5 so I can easily qualify for properties, I’m less than 1 year away from retirement and have 6 years of landlord experience. Not only do I own a hammer, I have a whole toolbox, too.

How did I do it? I built my house hack stack one property at a time.

Three Learning Options!
  1. Listen to the podcast “#442: Building Your House Hack ‘Stack’: The Path to Becoming a House Hacking Millionaire” Denver Real Estate Investing Podcast
  2. Watch the YouTube video.
  3. Read the blog post. Note, the blog is an executive summary. Get the in-depth breakdown from the podcast or video.

How My House Hack Stack Started

Jeff White standing in an empty room holding a paint roller
Jeff White in his first house hack

My sister-in-law was renting out one side of a duplex when the owner suddenly passed. His wife was selling the place because she didn’t want to be a landlord. My wife Suleyka asked me if I could buy it and rent it out to her sister so she didn’t have to move. I said no.

However, it sparked my curiosity. I started to look into real estate investing, and the 1st book I picked up was Build a Rental Property Empire by Mark Ferguson. There was literally a two-paragraph section that talked about a concept called House Hacking. 

I became convinced that I wanted to buy a 2-4 unit property, live in 1 unit, and rent out the other units: a very simple concept to build wealth. Suleyka supported me all the way, and we packed up and moved in 2017.

What we learned from this property:

  • In our market, 2–4-unit properties are too expensive, quality is low, there’s limited supply, and most need every type of repair imaginable. 
  • How to deal with contractors, mold, cockroaches, mice
  • How to deal with tenants and evictions in the 1st week
  • Real estate is a very forgiving investment (low barrier of entry and you can still break even or make money)

2nd House Hack: How We Pivoted Our Strategy

Exterior of a split level house, Jeff's second House Hack in his stack
Jeff’s second house hack

We searched for a single family house with zoning to allow it to be broken up into a duplex. Chris Lopez found me a single family house with a separate mother-in-law suite ADU. I used a conventional loan that allowed me to put 5% down.

We combined two strategies: The upstairs portion of the house was rented to a family as a long-term rental while the basement level was rented out by the room. Instead of breaking even like the last property, my cashflow increased to $1,200 while living there. 

3rd House Hack: Rinse and Repeat

Exterior of a white house with blue shutters that has two separate entrances; Jeff's third house in his house hack stack.
The 3rd house hack introduced Jeff to Section 8

My 3rd house hack was a 2-level house that had 4 beds/2 baths upstairs and a upstairs and garden level 3 bed/1 bath unit. We lived upstairs and did rent by the room style in this unit.

I was first introduced to Section 8 housing with this house hack because I inherited a voucher holding tenant in the garden level unit.

Thanks to these strategies, I had a positive cashflow from this property of $1,500 a month.

4th House Hack: Covid Hits but Doesn’t Stop Us

For the next house hack in our stack, we found an even bigger home with 10 bedrooms that we split up like a triplex. I was able to get this house for only 2.6% interest. Due to the bad economy, people were looking for more affordable housing and turning to room by room style living arrangements.

Thanks to living with roommates and combining long term, Section 8, and room by room rental strategies, the cashflow for this property was $1,700 a month.

5th House Hack: 2 Houses on 1 Lot

Closing day for the fifth house hack in the stack: Suleyka, Jeff White, Preston Newberry, Chris Lopez holding a giant key that says "Congratulations from Capital Title".
Closing on House Hack #5

In 2021, we moved onto our 5th house hack. This property gave Suleyka and me privacy thanks to a small 1 bedroom/1 bathroom ADU in the backyard. The front house was 4 bedrooms/2 bathrooms and we used a rent by room strategy that paid the entire mortgage. Our interest rate was 2.75% thanks to the low rates at the time.

While the cashflow was only $500, it was worth it to have more privacy.

6th House Hack: Turnkey Single Family Rent by Room

Bedroom and living area of the sixth house in Jeff's house hack stack
Bedroom of the turnkey house

With this property, we were back to living with roommates in a 7 bedroom/3 bathroom house. We were able to lock in a 4% interest rate before the rates crept even higher. Unlike our other house hacks, we only lived here for 6 months before having a “change of life circumstance” that allowed us to move sooner than 1 year.

The cashflow on this property was $1,000.

7th House Hack: Duplex

Jeff White and Suleyka posing at closing for the seventh house in their house hack stack with First Integrity folders and tote bag
Jeff and Suleyka closing on House Hack #7

With this duplex, we were back to having privacy while doing a rent by room and long term rental strategies. Each side of the duplex has 5 beds/2 baths.

Even though we have a higher interest rate, we’re still cash flowing $500 a month. Plus, we’re enjoying our new neighborhood and going to new restaurants.

Reflections on How I Built My House Hack Stack

Building your house hack stack can be an excellent way to start your journey towards becoming a real estate millionaire. My experience taught me that with persistence, research, and the right mindset, anyone can achieve financial independence through real estate investing.

Remember, it all starts with one property. Don’t let fear of the unknown or the complexity of the process deter you from taking the first step. Educate yourself, start small, and grow your portfolio gradually.

As you gain more experience and resources, you can use the income from your existing properties to finance your next acquisitions. The key is to remain disciplined, stay focused on your goals, and always be open to new opportunities.

In the end, becoming a real estate millionaire through house hacking is not a matter of luck, but rather a result of hard work, patience, and strategic planning. So go ahead, build your house hack stack, and start your journey towards financial freedom today!

Need some accountability buddies? Join our monthly House Hacking meetups!

Help Us Out!

We want to know what you want to hear! What struggles are you having in your real estate investing journey? What has you stumped? What will help you level up your investing game? 

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Please send an email to [email protected] to submit your answers!

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Jeff White
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