House Hacking | Couple Wealth
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There may come a time in your career that you decide that you are better off accepting a new position.  Through all the excitement of starting a new job, it can be a challenging time if you need to relocate.

Relocating your family across town or across the country both bring their own sets of challenges.  Depending on the stage in your life, there can be additional stresses that come with the joys of relocating for a new job.

Young couples that don’t yet have kids or pets may find it a little easier to pick up and move.  Throw in a couple screaming children and it gets more complicated quickly. 

However, it relocating for a job is completely doable and can be very rewarding for your career and finances.  We’ll go through a few ways to hack your housing during your relocation to set you up better for your future.

What is House Hacking?

House hacking is a term associated with optimizing your housing expenses to improve your financial security.  Your rent or mortgage is usually the largest, recurring expense you will ever have in your life.  By minimizing your housing costs, you will free up your money to do other things, like investing or taking a vacation.

There are a few different ways to approach house hacking that will help you save more money.  This can include sharing your rent with someone else or simply maximizing your mortgage to work for you.

When you are relocating for a new job, it is a perfect time to reassess your housing situation to see where it can be improved.  Instead of doing exactly what you have been doing, take the time to see if there is a better way to save money and build your wealth.

When to Accept a New Job

Before diving into how to save money on your housing during a relocation, make sure that accepting the new position is in the best interest of your family.  Start by fully analyzing your finances to understand all the costs and benefits.

Is your spouse working currently and will they be able to continue to work?  If not, how much lost income will you see, even if you get a raise?  Will you have any lapse in medical insurance?  What are the costs to physically move?

Sometimes, you won’t see the financial benefits for the first year or two after accepting a new job.  The moving costs could offset the pay increase associated with a new position.  That said, your new position could set you up better long-term by paying better or having other benefits.

Take all of these factors into account and then make your final decision before accepting.  Even though it can be an exciting time, try not to rush into a relocation that may not actually be the best for you and your family. 

Even if you’re desperate to leave your current job, wait until you find the best offer before moving on.  Once you find the right title, pay, benefits, and location, you will be much better off.

Work Remotely Instead of Moving

In the post-pandemic world, more and more companies are accepting permanent remote workers into their workforce.  It is no longer strange to have people working anywhere in the country and be just as productive as onsite employees.

As you are looking for a new job, consider if you would be willing to work full-time remote.  If you like the idea of working anywhere you want, start your job search with those types of positions.  Once you get into the interview process, speak with the hiring manager to confirm if there are any restrictions on working remotely.

Landing a remote-work job can help you in two ways.

First, it gives you the ability to work for a new company with better pay while not needing to relocate.  This will save on moving expenses and the hassle of packing up your belongings. 

Second, you could relocate to an area that has a lower cost of living.  Instead of living in a city that is expensive, you could move to the suburbs that is less expensive.  This gives you more options with the types of housing available.

Know When to Sell and When to Buy

Even if you are forced to relocate at a certain time, it might not always be the best time to buy or sell real estate.  2021 has seen very high housing prices as many people are looking to get out of the cities and find a new house.  Home prices have increased due to the demand, making it a tough time to buy new property.

If you own a home and are planning on moving, take the market forces into account.  2021 would be a great time to sell your home because you would likely get a premium for it. 

A few years ago, it might not have been as great a time to sell our property.  In those cases, it might actually have been better to hold onto it and rent it out to build your equity. 

Of course, relocating for a job also requires you to find housing in your new location.  Again, take into account the price of housing to help determine what to do.  When prices are up, you may be better off renting for a year or two and then buying once they come down.

Don’t Sell Your Current Home, Rent It Out

If you own your own home and are relocating for a new job, don’t automatically list your house for sale.  Sure, it might be a good idea, but you might also be able to improve your finances by renting it out.

Keeping your current home to use as a rental is a great way to build your equity at no cost to you.  Essentially, you charge enough rent to cover the cost of your mortgage, hopefully plus a little profit.  Every month, your renters pay for the base cost of your home while paying down the principle on your mortgage.  You get the benefit while not having to contribute anything yourself!

Renting your property does come with a few considerations.  For example, will there be any large repairs that you would be responsible for as a landlord, such as roof repairs or replacing the hot water heater?  Do you have enough cash on hand to be able to cover those types of expenses?

Also, you’ll want to make sure that you are able to rent your property for at least 1% of your mortgage.  If you have a $200,000 mortgage, you should look to rent it for at least $2,000 per month.  This is generally a good rule-of-thumb to give you a good idea if it would be a good investment.

Invest in a Multi-Family Unit

Relocating is perfect time to reassess how you structure your housing costs.  Do you have a mortgage or are you renting?  Are you responsible for the full payment of a single-family home mortgage?

When you do relocate and are looking to purchase a new home, consider a multi-family house.  A multi-family unit would allow you to cover most, if not all, of your mortgage.  Renting it out to other tenants could reduce your mortgage payment drastically.

Plus, it will help to build your equity faster by having other people contribute towards your mortgage.  In hot real estate markets, you’ll also have the security of knowing that tenants can help cover your housing cost no matter what.

Get a Roommate

Similar to investing in a multi-family unit, adding a roommate can help to defray some of your housing costs.  Granted, your spouse may not be too keen on it, but it is a great house hacking tip. 

If you have a spare bedroom, basement, or detached building, you can rent it out.  If you don’t feel comfortable with a complete stranger, offer it to a friend or family member who is willing to pay rent.

If you have spare space you can rent out, you could easily charge several hundred dollars per month that can be put directly to your mortgage.  This lessens your burden and helps to build your equity faster.

Go on an Adventure

Relocating for a new job might be the perfect opportunity to do something a little outside of your comfort zone.  To really cut down on your housing expenses, consider some alternative housing options.

This could be buying an RV, camper, or mini house to live in instead of a full home.  At a fraction of the cost of real estate, you’ll be able to save money and enjoy more of an adventure.  Plus, an RV could give you the freedom to travel to see areas that you otherwise would not have seen.

In this new world of remote work, think outside the box and get creative with what you would like to do.  Could you work remotely on a cruise ship or from another country?  Maybe it is time to start traveling while still fulfilling your job requirements.

As you accept a new position and decide to relocate, it is the perfect time to see if there is a better way to reduce your housing expenses. 

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