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HMW #111: How to House-Hack a Single Family Without Roommates

alan corey house hack new investor primary residence Jul 19, 2023

Read Time: 7.25 minutes

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House hacking is the biggest wealth creator for real estate owners, so learning how this is done if you find yourself in a situation where you want to create a ton of wealth from your most expensive asset, might be a pretty good move, right?

Typically, this strategy utilizes multi-families where you live in one unit and rent out the other units to cover most or all of your mortgage. 

I (Alan) started house hacking with a 1-bedroom condo. I used a heavy curtain to cordon off the living room to create an additional rentable semi-bedroom unit. I'm not suggesting my way is for everyone, but it helped that my roommate and I were both 22.

Lauren started with a single family house and a roommate. Tom started with a duplex and lived in one half (the "ugly unit" according to him) and rented out the other. 

I'm currently office-hacking, as I have a retail strip mall with a vacant room I use for my office. The other rents cover the mortgage and then some so it's free for me to use. 

However, house-hacking can also be accomplished with a single family home as well through a combination rental income offerings that aren't roommate-based. Now, you've requested this article because I can only assume you've had a bad experience with a roommate before? 

Wow, that is unacceptable. And a huge barrier to creating wealth, so let's work around the ol' ice tea roommate feud to make you some money.  Because guess what...?!


You can make money on your primary home without having a roommate.

But you haven't house hacked yet because you think:

  • It's too much work.
  • You are not ready to be a landlord.
  • It can only be done with a roommate with strong tea opinions.

Are you sure?  I'm pretty sure you have dismissed house hacking in the past and said "I'm too old for roommates."  I get it, this is why I'm helping you lower your living expenses in your new property. I'm in your head, I know these are you thoughts.  I've had these thoughts. Everybody has these thoughts. And thankfully there is a solution:


Step 1: Find a property with rentable assets besides bedrooms

Renting out bedrooms is one surefire way way to make money, but you can also make some side coin using these creative solutions:

And the best part? No roommates here! Sure, there are some possible inconveniences, but you are getting paid for that inconvenience. That's how making money works!



Sorry, you are right. I should have lead with that. It indeed takes some effort to change your financial life.  It also takes effort to drive to the gas station to buy a lotto ticket. Making money is not void of effort, but I'm trying to make it as easy as possible for you.


Step 2: Have a place that people will pay you to leave

Similar to Zillow's "Make me Move" price for selling your house, create your own "Make me Vacation" price on Airbnb.

This is not a feature of any Short-Term Rental site, but you can make it one. Take some professional photos of your home, list your home your online for a minimum one-week booking, and install a lock on one of yours closets to use as a makeshift owner's closet where you can cram all your personal items into at a moment's notice. That's it. You are ready to make money on your house, while you are out of town! (Side note: check with your insurance company too.)

You can either price it high enough so you are happily willing to move out at that price or just list the availability during times you know you are out of town. You can get your vacation budget covered this way or be forced to go on vacation with each booking. Win-win, no?



Love the enthusiasm! There you go, it just took talk of sandy beaches, snowy mountains, and time away from the office gossip. You'll get more and more vacation time the more you house-hack. Here is a third way to get paid to move out your place, at least temporarily:


Step 3: Short-shift between properties

This takes two properties to pull-off, or at least an RV in the driveway. Maybe even partner with a friend or relative to buy a second property and put this short-shifting plan in place. It's similar to step 2, except you purposely wanting to live a nomadic type of life, in the name of capitalism. Usually that doesn't go hand in hand, but we've found a way!

The idea is you "shift" between "short-term rentals." Similar to the above, you list out all the properties you have for short-term bookings online, or you create a group of other property owners to share your vision and you put all your properties up for rent on a short-term basis.  And which one is not booked, you "shift" into for the week. Lauren has been executing this strategy for years. 

You are forced to be nomadic a bit, but it's also maximizing your cashflow. This could be fun if you are have a go-bag and variety of places to lay your head each night. You can even trick your parents into thinking you just miss them and want to spend the week in their basement.


And if you read this and say "no f'ing way" then I say to you. Have you considered roommates? Not a bad option either.  

Sweet, you know your options. You know it takes some effort and work. But you also see the benefits of turning your expensive mortgage payment into a business that pays for itself. That's the name of the game in house hacking, and you now have a playbook. It's on YOU to take it from here and change your life with a little discomfort and delayed gratification. 


Correct. No harm done. Just you making some extra money on your single family.


  • Identify assets outside of just bedrooms you can capitalize on
  • Be open to renting out when you are not using the home
  • Be a flexible short-shifter for maximum income
  • Realize roommates can be okay in the end


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