Everyone’s favorite subject lately is house hacking.  Here we can lay out some of the strategies that are viable for house hacking in the DC area.

  • Multifamily – Wildly popular in many northeastern metro areas, multifamily 2-4 unit properties are actually pretty rare in our metro area.  In DC proper, about 4% of housing is 2-4 unit properties, and in the suburbs, less than a quarter of 1% are. Often the highest and best use of these properties is for developers to purchase them and convert them to condos, so the actual amount that exist is in decline.
  • Roommates/Rent By the Room – By focusing on properties with extra rooms to rent out, we can help to bring in income to offset that mortgage payment. This could be as simple as getting a 2 bedroom condo, or focusing on 4, 5, or 6 bedroom houses to really maximize income.  DC allows for 6 unrelated people to live together, and Maryland and Virginia allow for 5 unrelated people to live together.
  • Accessory Dwelling Units DC – Commonly referred to as English Basements, you can either live in this unit and rent upstairs to maximize rents, or live upstairs and rent the downstairs.  ADU’s are only available to owner occupants, so you can not move out and rent out the 2 units to 2 separate tenants like you could with a legal multifamily.  Some of the common requirements for them are to have 7 foot ceiling height, front and rear exits, egress from the living space. The space needs to meet zoning and condition requirements, be inspected by DCRA, and to have a Certificate of Occupancy. For specific information on ADU’s in DC please visit the DC website here.
  • Accessory Dwelling Units Montgomery County – Commonly called basement apartments.  Some of the requirements for these include 7 foot ceilings, side or rear entrance (front entrance not allowed), off street parking, and being located a certain distance from other ADU’s. For specific information on ADU’s please visit the Montgomery County Website here.