Tech & Science dictionary

house hacking

[ hous hak-ing ]

What is house hacking?

House hacking is an informal term that most commonly refers to a real estate investment strategy in which a person rents out their primary residence or part of it in order to cover its cost and sometimes generate additional revenue.

The most common example is living in a multi-unit property that one owns, such as a duplex or triplex, and renting out part of it.

The term house hacking is also sometimes applied to other strategies that involve generating revenue from property, such as renting out extra bedrooms, a basement, or other extra space, such as a garage or shed.

Another investment strategy often considered to be house hacking is the practice of living in a property while fixing it up to flip it (quickly resell it for profit).

Promoters of house hacking often note that renting out a primary residence can allow one to avoid the higher taxes and investment rates often associated with renting out investment properties.

The term house hack can be used as both a verb and a noun. A person who engages in house hacking is sometimes referred to as a house hacker.

Related words

hard times, income inequality, side hustle

Where does house hacking come from?

toy car, house, money under looking glass

The term house hacking is thought to have been coined by real estate investor and podcast host Brandon Turner, who has used the term since at least 2015. Of course, the investment strategy that house hacking refers to predates the term itself.

The phrase uses the informal sense of the verb hack meaning “to make use of a tip, trick, or efficient method for doing or managing (something).”

Awareness of the term and the concept it refers to increased during the later 2010s and early 2020s, when it was popularized by Turner and others.

Examples of house hacking

House hacking sounds cool until you realize it means getting a roommate. My introverted self could never. 🙃
@DelyanneMoney, May 6, 2022
House hacking functions much like any traditional home purchase does, only with more emphasis put on researching the property and its rental potential.
Aly J. Yale, Business Insider, May 2022

Who uses house hacking?

The term house hacking and the strategy it refers to are used in the real estate investing community.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of house hacking like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of house hacking that will help our users expand their word mastery.