Ben Leybovich is a real estate investor, author, speaker and entrepreneur who has discovered the power of House Hacking. As this technique outperformed all of his projections, he decided that it was something that needed to be shared with others. In his book, House Hacking, he does exactly that. As our Author of the Day, he chats about his experiences with house hacking, explains how one can live for free with this strategy and tells us who would benefit from this book.
Please give us a short introduction to what House Hacking is about.
House Hacking is a technique that synergies that which is homeownership with that which is a real estate investment. Those people who live in very pricey markets, as well as those who want to get their foot in the door of real estate investing can use House Hacking to essentially subsidize their cost of living with income generated by their house. In the current real estate cycle a properly executed House Hack is the best opportunity in real estate for most people!
What inspired you to write this book?
I relocated my family from Ohio to Arizona a short while ago. Upon arrival I realized that I needed to utilize House Hacking to achieve my financial goals. As the matter of fact, the end result has been so far superior to anything I'd hoped that I realized that I had stumbled on a powerful tool. I realized that just like my family and I, lots and lots of people could be able to improve their quality of life and at the same time decrease their cost of living if they know how to properly execute House Hacking. I just want to teach people what I know!
Why is house hacking such a lucrative business?
It's not so much that House Hacking is a business model. It is a form (approach) of homeownership. But, done right, House Hacking can allow us to create income and wealth with our primary residence, which buys us a lot of flexibility and freedom. All of us need a roof over our heads, and most assume that the burn has to come out of our pockets in the form of rent or mortgage. In this book I teach you how to have someone else pay for your stay in the most upscale and romantic locations... Who wouldn't want that...?
Your book's title claim that, with your strategy, one can live for free (or almost free) - please explain.
The cost of living in a house is a function of the debt service and other expenses. Someone has to pay those. Most people work hard at their jobs to earn the money (post-tax) to pay for their burn. House Hacking, through rental/booking revenues, facilitates other people paying for your stay; either all of it or most of it. And the more romantic the location of your home, the more likely house hacking to succeed.
Who do you imagine your audience to be?
House Hacking will benefit several groups of people:
- Folks in high-priced markets who thought homeownership was too expensive. House Hacking solves this problem with income.
- Newbie real estate investors. I prove with concrete numbers in my book that a properly executed House Hack is by far the best investment opportunity in the current environment.
- Folks seeking Locational Freedom. An ability to say: I'm done here -- I want to move. House Hacking can (as it does in my case) underwrite the cost of moving to a much more upscale location/house.
- Retirees. Folks that have worked hard all of their lives; saved some money, but would welcome an opportunity to underwrite the cost of their retirement stay.
- Many, many others...
Do you have any interesting case studies of people you know house hacking has worked for?
This book is based on my own case-study. I am living in a house hack as we speak, and absolutely outperforming my projections! The very reason I wrote this book is because as I am pursuing the technique of House Hacking I am very aware of the power it represents. It's a phenomenal opportunity!
What has the reaction to your book been like so far?
Besides writing and house hacking, what other secret skills do you have?
I am a real estate investor with a decade of property ownership experience. I am highly published on-line. When I tell people that House Hacking represents the best opportunity in this cycle, my advice is based on lots of experience :)
Why don't traditional investment strategies work in today's market?
Other investment strategies can and do work. I am involved in multiple things. But, investing is a tool that creates solutions to financial challenges. In this cycle, because of financing requirements and competitive nature of the marketplace, House Hacking has the most benefit with the least effort.
In between running your business, managing your properties and speaking engagements - how did you make time to write?
I love to teach. The reason for this book is that it represents the absolute best advice I can offer to folks at this juncture in the real estate cycle.
Why should everybody who is serious about real estate investing read this book?
Folks should read this book because it will shorten their learning curve...a lot.
While still in college, you were diagnosed with MS. How has this influenced your life?
MS diagnosis forced me to look for passive income opportunities, such as real estate and on-line revenues. House Hacking is just another tool in the bag of diversified passive income streams.
What are you working on right now?
One project at a time. Right now I am launching my book. After, there is another platform I will be building on-line. And of course, always looking for real estate!