Family House Hacking: When Your Mother Becomes Your Landlord


Family House Hacking

“When it comes to the rent versus buy debate, I think buying is better than renting.  However, I am incredibly biased since I share the cost of living with my brother and cousin.  We live in a house my mom purchased 18+ years ago”

-Peerless Money Mentor


Rent vs. Buy Discussion

Family House Hacking

A couple weeks ago, Financial Samurai posted an article stating why real estates will always be more desirable than stocks.  I shared the article with my closest friends and asked for their thoughts on the topic.  We have financial conversations often in our GroupMe chat.  From the wedding industry being a cash cow to the high salaries of coaching assistants, we discuss a range of topics.  Today the topic of conversation just happen to be housing!

The first friend who read the article pointed out that Financial Samurai failed to mention the ongoing cost of maintaining a home.  Which was true but the article was written to tout the pros of home ownership, not the cons!

My second friend had this to say after reading, “You would be paying much more for housing if your mom chose to be a renter.”  He then pointed to point #10 in the article that is extremely relevant.  Here is what Sam wrote:

 “All the people who are anti-housing could have been saved if their parents decided to invest in real estate 30 years ago. Life is so much easier once housing is cheap or free. If you’re willing to provide an education for your children, perhaps you should also be willing to provide housing just in case they need it.

The second friend had a valid point.  How could I argue against home ownership, while enjoying the benefits of it?  While I do not own a home, I stay in a house my mom purchased my freshman year in high school.  A purchase that was made almost 18 years ago.

So you’re probably wondering, “How did you end up back at your mom’s house?”  You are 31.  “Shouldn’t you be out on your own?  Yes, I should but let me tell you how this happened!

How My Mom Became My Landlord

When I was an active member of Broke Phi Broke, my brother reached out to me to ask if I would consider moving back to the family home.  He stayed by himself in the family house my mom kept after remarrying.

My ex fiancee had left me and I could no longer afford to pay the rent by myself once the lease ended.

The amount of debt I had placed a stranglehold on my cash flow.  A grip that has loosened somewhat but remains present today.

Initially I balked at his offer.  I told my mom and him that I did not need their help.  My master plan was to live out of my car.  For showering and switching clothes, I would use my Planet Fitness membership.

While the idea seemed brilliant to me, my family thought otherwise.  After some tough talk from moms, I opened up to the idea.

My mom is brutally honest, she shoots straight, without any chaser.  She told me, “I did not raise no damn fool.  This is a chance for you to rebuild!”


Family House Hacking

After dealing with issues of pride, I decided to accept the offer.  When my apartment lease expired, I would reluctantly move back into my childhood home.

It took some adjusting since I had been living by myself for six months.  Things like the dishes not being washed irritated me.  Also, I missed my privacy and being able to do what I wanted.

My mom routinely visited to check on her investment.  When the house was not clean, she would threaten to evict us!  Fortunately, for us, she never followed through!

In retrospect, I now know these things were worth giving up.  The benefits of me sharing the living cost with a sibling, far outweighed the costs.

Benefits of a Tailwind

Moving back home with my brother (and now cousin also) has been extremely helpful in my financial journey.  Recently I did a writing assignment for Business Insider sharing all my expenses.

My share of the rent is $300 a month.  Someone from Business Insider told me she thought it was an error at first 🙂

Luckily for me it is not an error!  The mortgage on my mother’s four bed room house in Baker, Louisiana is $633 a month.  The rent my cousin, brother, and I pay covers that expense.  It is a win/win for all of us!

If you are wondering how much we pay in utilities, the cost ranges from $50-$100 a month.  The electricity bill goes up in the summer.


Family House Hacking

Mom, thanks for making the decision to invest in real estate 18+ years ago.  I know that we do not always see eye to eye but I love you.  You taught me how to read and write.

You recently pointed out that I would not be able to write a Rockstar post if it were not for you.  I cannot refute that!

Most importantly, thanks for giving me the gift of life.  Happy Mother’s Day!

“And there’s no way I can pay you back
But my plan is to show you that I understand
You are appreciated”


2Pac - Dear Mama

No Description

2019 Update

This article was published last Mother’s Day, and since then, there has been some changes to my living situation.  For the past couple of months, I have been living by myself.  As a result, I am now solely responsible for paying the rent and utilities.

Although I sometimes miss hearing the voices of my siblings, for the most part, I enjoy the solitude.  Plus, I don’t have to worry about anyone eating my leftover’s anymore :).

To cover the increase in expenses, I have turned to using my writing skills to pay the bills.  I’ve discovered that writing one article can cover 23% of my rent, after factoring in taxes.

Community Feedback

  • Would you move in with a sibling to lower your housing expense?
  • What is your living situation?  Do you house hack?
  • What do you think about home ownership?
  • Do you own any real estate?
  • What did get your mom for Mother’s Day?
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Author: Jerry

Jerry is a Business Insider Contributing Writer who is obsessed with personal finance. He believes you can improve your financial situation by applying principles taught by the financial independence community to your financial life.

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10 thoughts on “Family House Hacking: When Your Mother Becomes Your Landlord

  1. I enjoyed this post very much. Since I have a son, I don’t believe in parents providing housing. But since I am also a daughter, I can understand how supportive that could be 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by, BusyMom! I am really glad you enjoyed the post. It is definitely a tricky situation. My mom raises our rent frequently and reminds us often that, “Every king needs his own castle.”

  2. I would choose mom’s roof – tenant, or freeloading anyday over the car. It gets really uncomfortable in the car after a night – not to mention physical safety.

    I love the way your mom sets it straight – to REBUILD!

  3. Awesome post Jerry!

    – What is your living situation? Do you house hack?

    Currently living with three roommates in a three bedroom apartment. I have my own room, but two of my roommates share a large room. It certainly isn’t the most luxurious setup, but it helps to save money in a relatively expensive city. It is fun though!

    – What do you think about home ownership?

    Long term I would love to be a homeowner. But the down payment is a hard first step.

    Right now I am currently prioritizing all of my extra money towards paying down my student loan debt. I am trying to balance growing my savings account vs. paying down my student loan debt. I am a little torn…. because the interest rate on my student loans is under 4% after I refinanced…. but I still feel pushed to pay it off as fast as possible.

    Anyway, thank you for writing this!
    Nate Matherson recently posted…How to Pay Off Debt FastMy Profile

    1. Hey Nate,

      Thanks for taking the time to read and leave a wonderful comment.

      That sounds like an awesome setup you have. Does everyone get along? I might get some new roommates eventually. For now, I will continue enjoying my peace of mind.

      What expensive city do you live in?


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