Guide to House Hacking in El Paso, Texas

Are you interested in house hacking El Paso? Then you’ve come to the right place because in this post we’re going to give you all the information you need to do it. Like other Texas cities, El Paso has its strong points and weak points when it comes to investing in real estate via house hacking and it’s important to know both to get a full picture of the El Paso house hacking scene.

We’ll look at whether El Paso is in a landlord or tenant-friendly state, the six demographic data points we use to analyze a market, and the house hacking strategies that might particularly work well in this market, all backed by data.

Let’s dive in!

El Paso: Tenant Friendly, or Landlord Friendly?

From the state level, Texas is more on the landlord-friendly side of the scale than tenant-friendly.

El Paso, the city, is quite a bit more tenant-friendly than other parts of Texas. It is arguably the most tenant-friendly large city in Texas. Some biggish cities in southern Texas come close, but comparing it to Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and even Austin (a close second to El Paso), El Paso is the most tenant-friendly.

While this might scare off some landlords, I wouldn’t be completely turned off to this area as the overall state of Texas tends to be very landlord-friendly in its laws, and while local city ordinances or judges might be more inclined to rule in favor of tenants in a dispute, in practicality El Paso isn’t too far away from most Texas cities when it comes to renters’ laws.

In fact, after digging in further, the process outlined by El Paso’s Tenant’s Guide to Eviction isn’t that far off what you would expect to find in most Texas cities.

While the information for tenant’s rights is easily available, there have not been major additions at least from the regulation or rules at the city level.

Take some time to consider this for your own risk tolerance and determine if house hacking El Paso is right for you.

El Paso Demographic Data Analysis

The 6 demographic data points 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.

When it comes to these six metrics, this is how El Paso compares to our benchmarks:

Data PointBenchmark (since 2000)El Paso
Population Growth20%20.9%
Income Growth30%51.1%
Property Value Growth40%91.1%
Crime Level< 500183
Crime Change0% or declining-4%
Job Growth> 1%2.06%

The population growth barely makes the benchmark, but it does make it and shows a healthy level of growth, which is crucial for the long-term health of real estate in the city. The income growth of 51.1% since 2000 is very good while an eye-popping 91.1% property value growth is outstanding.

The crime levels are well below our benchmark and dropping – meaning the numbers and the trend are both looking good. Add in healthy job growth and El Paso is a city that is set up properly for long-term real estate value and that means excellent house hacking potential.

Overall, a El Paso house hack looks quite promising based on the 6 metrics above that we analyzed. Although the population growth just barely meets our ideal benchmark, the other metrics are exceeded in significant and impressive numbers.

So let’s look into more depth on the El Paso house hacking options and strategies that need to be kept in mind when looking for a smart house hack investment in this border city.

Popular El Paso House Hacking Options

One interesting thing to note is that unlike many markets, the price difference between many multi-unit properties (duplexes, triplexes, attached apartments, etc) are not nearly as large as a basic family house. This provides special opportunities for cash flow and quick leveraging of that cash flow into more properties via house hacking in El Paso that aren’t necessarily available in many other urban markets.

According to information from City Data, the average sales price of many housing units are surprisingly similar:

  • Detached house $170,478
  • Townhouses $140,421
  • 2-Unit structures (like duplexes) $150,714
  • 3-4 Unit structures (like triplexes) $193,897

While for many the idea of a house is preferable to a multi-unit structure this shows the sheer number of options that are available at comparable or even better prices than your average house in the area.

This provides additional opportunities for house hacking El Paso in profitable ways that investors need to consider to fully understand their available options.

Understanding the Homestead Exemption in El Paso

Before diving into strategies, it’s very important to bring up a unique aspect of property investment that affects El Paso and other major Texas cities as of 2022 and that’s the Homestead Exemption. This was a law passed by Texas voters in 2022.

I won’t get into details because they don’t matter but the simplified version is this: homeowners living in their homes must have local property tax rates dropped to off-set the gains in taxes that would happen from increasing home values.

So what if a local city’s schools need more funding? Where does the difference come from?

Rental properties do not fall under the homestead exemption. Which means to make up funding differences from having to lower property tax rates on homeowners who live in their primary residence, landlords owning rental properties will see their local property taxes go up since they do not recieve the homestead exemption.

This might not be a big deal if you are living in a duplex you bought or are house hacking by renting out a room or renovating a basement to be a rental apartment since you would still be in a primary residence and get the exemption in that case.

However, this does potentially increase your expenses if you are buying a property to house hack via Airbnb or will be moving out after a short time to acquire another property.

Keep these potential additional expenses in mind and check out the linked source to see examples of how this could affect property owners in El Paso.

House Hacking El Paso Strategies

El Paso offers several different types of properties that provide excellent house hacking options for investors.

The first step is knowing what type of properties work to fit your specific needs. If for some reason the idea of living in a duplex or townhouse is a no-go, then it doesn’t make sense to look at those as potential house hacking investment properties.

When looking at properties there are two main strategies that need to be looked at:

  • House hacking to cover the mortgage costs of a dwelling you’re living in (focus on appreciation)
  • House hacking via Airbnb (looking at extra cash/cash flow)

The strategies you focus on will have a major effect on what areas of El Paso are ideal for property investment, what types of properties to look at and how you judge whether or not a potential property meets your ideal criteria or not.

Tips for Airbnb House Hacking in El Paso

Going the Airbnb route is exciting for many house hackers because of the potential for extra cash flow, while also not needing a full-time roommate or housemate. There are many investors killing it on Airbnb, and El Paso has enough tourism to make this a viable option.

On the other hand, most Airbnb users don’t expect a housemate while renting, meaning this is a strategy better with certain types of properties versus others.

This might not be ideal for a family home with a spare bedroom, but great for condos, duplexes, and other similar properties.

Pros

  • Excellent flow of tourists into the the city means plenty of demand
  • Even a handful of nightly rentals can easily surpass the average monthly rent in El Paso
  • The additional money can be used to pay off the mortgage faster or invest in other properties

Cons

  • Income can be erratic, especially compared to a steady consistent rent
  • Expected nightly prices vary greatly by season
  • Much more work cleaning, doing laundry, prepping the place for the next guests

Tips for Conventional House Hacking in El Paso

The conventional house hacking model works incredibly well in El Paso’s current market, and offers a beginner-friendly route to local real estate investment.

Another reason to consider going the traditional house hacking route with a family home in El Paso is the average rent versus average home cost. Assuming an average home price with an average 20% down payment and an okay credit score to figure out the interest rate, a monthly payment would be around $960 for a mortgage.

The average rent is $847 meaning one consistent renter is close to paying off the entire base mortgage payment.

If you have room for two housemates, a good credit score to get a better rate, or negotiate a better deal, you may be able to close the gap and get the mortgage covered and additional cash flow. Use our mortgage calculator to play with the numbers on any deals you’re looking at.

Pros

  • Beginner-friendly model to real estate investing in El Paso
  • Ability to cover mortgage payment in many cases
  • Many options available in the current El Paso market
  • Landlord-friendly city

Cons

  • Will need to act as landlord meaning responsibility for repairs, issues, etc
  • Living in close proximity to tenant
  • Might be missing out on more lucrative income by skipping rental/Airbnb model

Know What El Paso Neighborhood You’re Dealing With

While overall the crime numbers are quite good in El Paso compared to other cities, some neighborhoods are much safer than others. If this is a major concern then finding potential properties in good neighborhoods like Mountain View, Castner Heights, or Park Foothills makes much more sense than much rougher areas like Borderland (which has over 3x the crime of El Paso in general), Central, or Las Tierras.

A small amount of research goes a long way to knowing the pros/cons of each El Paso neighborhood and while all of them have properties with house hacking potential, some will also come with more headaches than others.

Knowing what you’re getting into with each area can help to make an informed decision on whether or not the deal is one that you actually want.

El Paso – A City with Serious House Hacking Potential

There are a remarkable number of opportunities for house hacking in the often overlooked Texas city of El Paso. Even if you are picky about the neighborhood, potential investment properties abound.

Overall, El Paso is a great city that ranks well in key measurables in addition to abounding with excellent house hacking opportunities. If you live in the area already, or are planning on moving to the area, it’s worth taking the time to study all the options that are currently on the market.

If you’re interested in house hacking El Paso, be sure to check out our free house hacking calculator to analyze all your potential deals.

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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.