I bought the house I currently live in during the summer of 2008. It’s a great house, just perfect for me. It’s in a great neighborhood, the yard/patio is fantastic, it has central air and the interior is very comfortable. Even though it looks like I may have bought it during the peak of the market, I don’t regret the purchase for a minute.
My house is unique in that it has a fully contained basement suite. My renters get to come and go from my back door, and they have their own space complete with a kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom. We share laundry as the machines sit in an area downstairs outside of their suite. It is absolutely perfectly set up.
I rent it out for about the same as my original mortgage payment was. That means that all I’m out every month is about $500 for utilities. I include satellite tv and wi-fi, mostly because I’m using those anyway. It makes it easier to market it with everything included.
I’ve gone through 3 renters in the less than 2 years I’ve owned it. Each time I’ve had to rent it, I’ve only had to advertise it for a few days before someone snatched it up. The rent is cheap, everything is included and it’s in a great neighborhood. It’s a win-win for both me and my tenant.
The thing I especially like about living above my tenants is the fact that they basically can’t do anything down there without you knowing. Are they smoking pot? Having a party? It’s pretty hard to do that stuff without me figuring it out.
Just by living there, I’ve filtered out the crap tenants. I’ve shown it to young single guys who immediately lose interest once they learn I live upstairs. I’m also very clear on the lease about what’s acceptable behavior and what isn’t. I haven’t had a major problem yet.
I’ve found that it’s important to enter into it as a business relationship. Sometimes the tenant will end up being your friend; that’s the nature of sharing a house with someone. That’s fine, but insist on getting all important things in writing, giving them receipts for the rent, etc.
I make almost enough to cover my mortgage for about 5 minutes of work a month. How long do you have to work to pay for your mortgage?