Guide to House Hacking in Charlotte, North Carolina

Are you interested in house hacking Charlotte, North Carolina? The largest city in North Carolina has a reputation for also being very safe and offering a high quality of life, which makes it a very attractive place for real estate.

Charlotte has plenty of opportunity for house hackers looking to get into investment properties for the first time, and the wide array of different housing options on the market is also going to catch your attention. There is no shortage of multi-unit properties up for sale in Charlotte and with an average rent of $1,174 it doesn’t take too many tenants to fully cover the mortgage and put you in positive cash flow territory.

Many people have found Charlotte and easy city to fall in love with, and that just opens up the potential house hacking opportunities for real estate investment in this North Carolina city.

Let’s dive in!

Charlotte: Tenant Friendly, or Landlord Friendly?

From the state level, North Carolina is much more on the landlord-friendly side of the scale than tenant-friendly. In North Carolina landlords have a wide array of rights when it comes to entering the premises at will, raising rent, or starting evictions.

If you really want to deep dive into the local laws the city of Charlotte has made their Rent Book public on the city site which goes into in-depth detail on the responsibilities and rights of both landlords and tenants in the city of charlotte.

Overall, Charlotte is a landlord friendly city.

Charlotte Demographic Data Analysis

The 6 demographic data points for evaluating real estate that we’ve learned to use when analyzing a market are population growth, income growth, property value growth, crime level, crime change, and job growth.

These numbers give us a full and healthy view of what the Charlotte real estate market looks like, shows us if there are any data points we need to keep an eye end, and are great predictors of how a market will likely continue to perform at least in the short-term future.

Here is how Charlotte measures up when looking at these metrics:

Data PointBenchmark (since 2000)Charlotte
Population Growth20%63.8%
Income Growth30%35.1%
Property Value Growth40%91.7%
Crime Level< 500Yes*
Crime Change0% or declining-5%
Job Growth> 1%2.7%
*Charlotte’s crime level was not figured based on the data sets used however Charlotte’s overall crime rate is low enough that they would easily be under the 500 mark if properly tabulated.

While the normal source we use for crime level didn’t have Charlotte’s numbers, a little research showed that Charlotte was one of the safer cities in the state of North Carolina and while it has its issues like all cities do, it would have better numbers than other cities in the state that have crime level numbers of under 500, which means whatever Charlotte’s number would be, it meets our standards.

This is even before considering suburbs like Davidson, which are kept separate from Charlotte in crime numbers despite being in the greater Charlotte area, and are far safer than the average city in the United States.

Charlotte’s Demographics Are Good for House Hacking

Overall, a Charlotte house hack looks quite good. The crime level is in a safe range and is declining, which you always want to see. Job growth is solid, population growth is solid, income growth is okay and meets the metric while property value growth is very good.

Even a cursory further examination shows that Charlotte has a lot to offer including a large university, multiple reputable colleges, and tourist attractions like the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Carrowinds Amusement Park, and Liberty Walk, among others, opens up short-term rental options for house hacking.

Now that we know Charlotte is a good market to invest in, let’s jump into the actual strategies to implement.

5 Strategies for House Hacking Charlotte, North Carolina

Knowing there are good deals to be found in Charlotte and actually finding and implementing them are two different things. If you’re studying this real estate market for a possible house hack, make sure to implement these 5 strategies to increase your chances of success.

Look at Multi-Family Housing Options

There are an impressive variety of multi-family units found in the Charlotte area.

Multi-family units can include:

  • Condos
  • Duplexes
  • Triplexes
  • Four Plexes
  • Townhouses
  • Off-Street or “Backyard” Bungalows

Many cities tend to have more of one or two of these, but Charlotte has all these designs in droves, and even conventional multi-units like triplexes can take many different forms from one property to another. In other words, there’s no shortage of options and looking for multi-unit properties makes house hacking easy as you have your living space, the privacy that goes with it, and have other units available right there for rental.

Even better: the mean prices in Charlotte for multi-unit options are less expensive on average than a single detached house, meaning these are often a better deal. In fact, you need to get up to 5+ units (which brings in small apartment complexes) before the price catches up again!

Mean Charlotte Property Prices (2019 numbers):

  • Detached Houses $350,157
  • Townhouses, Condos, Other attached Unite $263,352
  • 2-Unit Structures $182,076
  • 3 or 4-Units $157,134
  • 5 or More Units $384,273

With that median gross rent of $1,174/month, it’s not hard to see the profit and cash flow potential with house hacking one of these properties.

Check the Charlotte MLS for Good Deals

There are many MLS databases that are open to the public, and you should take advantage of those to see what type of properties are being listed in Charlotte and the surrounding areas. Getting in early on a potential deal is a great way to get ahead of the competition.

Make sure to search in-depth. Sometimes an agent will incorrectly list a property or a misspelling or other glitch will result in one falling through the cracks.

Since these are databases that realtors and investors use, it makes a lot of sense to start any search here since the MLS is literally designed to be the best collections of local real estate information.

Explore Multiple Real Estate Listing Options (Including Off Market)

People use what they know and are comfortable with. This means despite it seeming strange to many, there are houses and other real estate for sale sometimes listed in Facebook groups, Craigslist, or have “For Sale by Owner” signs and no online listings.

There are also many, many online sites that focus on real estate listings. Sometimes a property will be found on all of them and sometimes a property only pops up on one or two of the lesser visited sites. These usually fly under the radar and could be prime for accepting a lower bid.

Always check through all the various online and offline listings to see what you can find.

Rent Bedrooms Out

The old fashioned approach of renting extra bedrooms out is always viable. If there isn’t a big difference in price between a 2-bedroom house and a 4-bedroom house why not spring for the extra bedrooms and rent them out?

This allows a person to cover their mortgage with rents and even save up to pay it off early. For young people just out of college or recently out of college, this is often one of the best ways for young people to get into owning real estate.

They likely have several friends who need housing, and at that age giving a decent deal on rent while living with people you know you can get along with is a good way to save up after getting an FHA loan for that first place.

For parents of college students, buying a house close to campus can allow them to provide off-campus housing for their kids in college while charging rent per room to help pay for the investment property.

Renting rooms out is a great way to house hack Charlotte.

Look at Short-Term Rental Options

Charlotte is home to the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, multiple private colleges, and multiple tourist areas of interest. Keeping track of where these areas are located can help narrow down your search to nearby properties that are ideal for Airbnb or other short-term rental agreements.

There are enough tourist attractions that Airbnb is a very viable option for Charlotte, and families visiting college students or alumni back for special events are also often going to be searching for good temporary housing.

This is an excellent way to house hack additional units on your property, or even converting a basement to a nice apartment (if it has its own entrance) or a garage apartment could open up this option for a basic family house.

Even a handful of short-term rentals can often earn more for the landlord than a full-time renter!

House Hacking Charlotte Tips

When you’re looking at options for house hacking in Charlotte, make sure to keep the average rent in mind when looking at various properties. This isn’t just city-wide, but some neighborhoods ill have higher or lower average rents depending on if they are generally wealthier or more working class.

Having this math will let you be able to at least estimate if a property is likely to cover most your mortgage, all of it, or even offer a chance for a very profitable cash flow depending on the number of renters.

Another tip is to always look for the best options for financing. Conventional loans are an option but if it’s your first house an FHA loan can be a great way to get your foot in the door with a much smaller down payment than would otherwise be required.

A VA loan is a military option that can also provide a better funding option than would otherwise be available.

Finally, make sure you’re comfortable living in the neighborhood where you’re looking to buy. This is important since with a house hack you will be living there and if there’s something about the property and area you really like, you will know how to sell it to potential renters.

Pros

  • Collecting rent from one or more tenants can often cover a mortgage
  • Conventional house hacking gives a steady and consistent
  • Great way to help pay for first house or investment property

Cons

  • You will want to be very careful in picking tenants, especially if renting out rooms
  • Still have landlord responsibilities
  • Can cause issues if renting to friends/family who fall behind on rent

House Hacking Charlotte Airbnb Tips

There are several things you can do to increase your chances to successfully house hack Charlotte by using Airbnb.

The first is to focus on neighborhoods where temporary housing is likely to be in high demand like University City, Davidson, or Uptown Charlotte. These locations often have a very high demand for short-term housing.

The second is focusing on getting a 5-star rating. These are crucial for services like Airbnb, and that also means you need to care about the safety and appearance of the neighborhood in addition to the housing you are personally providing for short-term rentals.

Following these tips will help you find properties more likely to turn a profit while renting out to visitors.

Pros

  • Potential for major per day income
  • Often makes more than a consistent renter
  • Can turn the rental options on/off with online services like Airbnb
  • Provides cash flow that can be used to reinvest in more properties

Cons

  • The income won’t be as steady as a regular renter
  • Requires much more work and upkeep
  • The properties that work best for this location-wise tend to be in neighborhoods with a higher demand

Is Charlotte a Good City for House Hacking?

Charlotte is a great city for house hacking. This city hits every demographic number that we’re looking for, has multiple colleges and government institutions which creates additional economic stability, and even has tourist draws to boost options for Airbnb and other short-term rentals.

If you are in the area, Charlotte is an excellent city for finding that first property to house hack to start building a real estate empire. Whether going with a traditional house hacking model for a single family home or venturing into a multi-unit property, Charlotte offers plenty of opportunities to find a profitable property.

If you can find one where house hacking covers rent and brings in extra income, even better! Following the strategies and tips found in this article will definitely help improve your chances of finding that gem of a property.

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Shane Dayton
Whether it was helping a friend build a cabin from scratch in central Alaska, scouting & analyzing Austin Texas neighborhoods, or exploring rural Iowa Airbnb potential, the variety of opportunities real estate offers have caught Shane's attention. After years of this, he brings his experience and passion for real estate to Everything House Hacking.