Guide to House Hacking in Fort Worth, Texas

Do you really love Texas and especially the Dallas area, but maybe aren’t so hot on the crime rates or traffic issues in the much larger city? The solution here might be to look at implementing house hacking Fort Worth!

So close to Dallas that the metro area is often even referred to as Dallas-Fort Worth, there are many great opportunities for house hacking in an area with a booming economy, tons of tourism, and some really amazing growth, especially in the real estate market.

While you might think real estate strategies here are basically the same as house hacking in Dallas, there are some important differences to pay attention to!

In this post we’re talking all about the various tips, strategies, and considerations you’ll need to pay attention to in order to set yourself up for success while house hacking Fort Worth, Texas.

Let’s dive in!

Fort Worth: Tenant Friendly, or Landlord Friendly?

Texas is consistently rated as one of the most landlord friendly states out there. According to Law Depot, Texas is the 6th most landlord friendly state, and regardless of list the state consistently makes top 10 lists for being landlord friendly versus tenant friendly.

United States map showing tenant versus landlord friendly states

It’s easy to find the short guide to landlord vs tenant rights in Fort Worth, and it’s pretty clear that the rules tend to favor the property owner (landlord) versus the tenant. Texas makes it easy to collect rent, check on a property, or start the eviction process when necessary.

The only area of potential concern is that Fort Worth has some clear restrictions on short-term rentals that the city has been specifically focused at services like Airbnb.

Currently this is still illegal in purely residential areas, though there are those who have used Airbnb who are working to get a system put into place to legalize short-term rentals in purely residential areas of Fort Worth.

This makes Fort Worth attractive as a place to house hack an investment property because of the amount of control that is available for landlords to manage and take care of their rental properties and the allure of the larger Dallas-Arlington-Fort Worth area.

Fort Worth Demographic Data Analysis

So what do the demographic numbers tell us about the potential for house hacking in this market? The 6 demographic data points below are what we found works when learning to evaluate a potential housing market.

When we look at population growth, income growth, property value growth, crime level, crime change, and job growth we get a full picture of what the Fort Worth area has to offer and whether or not it is a good place to look at house hacking as a way to break into the real estate market there.

When it comes to these six metrics, this is how Fort Worth compares to our ideal benchmarks:

Data PointBenchmark (since 2000)Fort Worth
Population Growth20%70.1%
Income Growth30%76.2%
Property Value Growth40%200%
Crime Level< 500279.0
Crime Change0% or declining– 7%
Job Growth> 1%2.7%

There’s no denying that these numbers look really good – and that property value growth will have investors salivating. More investors might be looking to house hack Austin because the city is so well known – but they’d be hard press to compare to 200% property value growth since 2000, and Fort Worth is still more accessible a market for most investors…at least at the moment.

The other numbers are rock solid. Fort Worth is well above most the metrics we want to see in population growth, income growth, and declining crime rates.

The job growth rate is rock solid, and it’s worth noting that since Dallas-Fort Worth is often mentioned as one extended metro area, Dallas’s Job Growth was over 7%, meaning this entire area of the state is doing very well from an economic employment standpoint.

Based on the numbers that we’re seeing, a Fort Worth house hack looks incredibly promising. The analysis shows this is an extremely healthy market with plenty of opportunities.

While long-term house hacking looks to be a bit easier than short-term because of city restrictions on where short-term rentals can take place, it’s worth keeping an eye on this since groups of Airbnb hosts are working to get the city of Fort Worth to change these rules.

5 Strategies for House Hacking Fort Worth, Texas

The numbers show clearly that Fort Worth is an excellent market for real estate. With those numbers out of the way it’s time take a closer look at Fort Worth itself and figure out the best strategies for getting your foot in the door with a good house hack.

Focus on Your Specific Living Needs

One of the most important things not to forget is your own priorities when it comes to a living space. By definition house hacking means that you will be living on that property, so it’s important to make sure it’s a property that meets your specific standards of living.

The numbers might look good but if you hate the property, don’t like the neighborhood, or have other struggles then it’s not the right deal for you.

A good house hack not only looks at the rent and the numbers but keeps in mind you are living at a property you find acceptable to call home. It’s much easier to enjoy the appreciation of the property’s value when you’re in that specific situation.

Checking MLS Listings

Checking the local MLS listings of local properties should always be the first stop for anyone looking to house hack. These data bases are loaded with information from relators and sellers, and generally will be the most comprehensive listing of local real estate in any given area.

If you listen to the Bigger Pockets Podcast, or any real estate podcast for that matter, MLS will come up consistently from hosts and guests as the beginning of any search.

Search Fort Worth Craigslist & Local Forums

Not everyone knows about the MLS, or is at the point of hiring a realtor. I’m continually amazed how many listings appear on Craigslist, local forums, Facebook groups, and other similar online spaces. Taking time to search these not only reveals properties for sale, but sometimes contacting a rental listing offering asking if they’re interested in selling can provoke some interest.

Manual Outreach

There’s more competition than ever for a good real estate deal in the Fort Worth area. This doesn’t mean that good house hacking targets aren’t available, just that you may have to embrace some advanced house hacking strategies to track down the best ones.

Finding signs that say “For Sale by Owner” in local neighborhoods is one way to do this. Do the leg work to check out properties in areas you like and see what you can find. Post in online neighborhood groups saying you’re looking for a property. Might turn out someone who was contemplating a move contacts you first.

Pay Attention to Local Zoning Ordinances

Because of current rules in Fort Worth there are limiting restrictions on who can legally use sites like Airbnb that encourage short-term rentals. If Airbnb is a major part of your strategy, or you simply want to keep the possibility open, then it’s crucial to pay attention to the local zoning ordinances to make sure you’re in good shape.

4 Strategies for Airbnb House Hacking Fort Worth, Texas

The Airbnb strategy may be most successful as Fort Worth is a popular vacation destination. The additional cash flow from Airbnb can help offset the higher purchase prices currently being seen in the Fort Worth real estate market.

Look for Neighborhoods Zoned for Short-Term Rentals

While this may change in the future, and there are plenty of listings on Airbnb that are for Fort Worth which aren’t in properly zoned areas, it’s still best to keep things above board. Focusing on the neighborhoods in Fort Worth that are zoned to allow for short-term rentals still opens up plenty of options.

The short-term rentals page for the city of Fort Worth has a tool that allows users to look at how the cities are zoned and know which addresses currently allow STRs versus those that do not.

Know the Local Attractions

Being able to get a good house hacking deal close to the local tourist attractions like the Sundance Square, Fort Worth Zoo, or Fort Worth Stockyards definitely increases the short-term rental potential of the property.

Keep in mind to balance this with the safety and quality of the neighborhood where you will be running your Airbnb property from. If you’re close to an attraction but the neighborhood is a bit rough, that can be a turn-off for many potential renters.

Have an Upkeep Plan

Ratings are everything on STR websites, and so getting and keeping 5 star ratings is crucial. This means even during busy seasons you need to be able to clean, touch up, and add that extra bit of care to impress renters and increase the chances of those coveted high ratings.

Can You Get Creative?

There are many potentially creative options for an Airbnb house hack situation in Fort Worth. This could include experiences like an art studio experience, building cabins in forested areas on the outskirts of town, or having a backyard home office no longer being used converted to a room for rent.

Taking a couple hours to scroll through Airbnb show how many creative options are not only available but also getting repeat business. Think outside the box and see what options open up to you as a result.

How Can You Fund A Fort Worth House Hack?

There are multiple options for getting funding for your house hack. The following four financing strategies for house hacking a Fort Worth property purchase are some of our favorites.

Conventional Bank Loan

The conventional bank loan is one of the easiest ways to get funding if it is available. Mortgages are popular because they are profitable and the property works as collateral. Getting these is possible for single family homes, multifamily homes, and even buildings like duplexes and triplexes.

Remember to bring projected rent numbers to help with funding. This often won’t work with a family home where you’re renting out a room, but with a multi-unit property often times banks will look at 70% of projected gross income from renting those units and add it to your income to determine what you qualify for.

FHA Loan

First-time property buyers can often get an FHA loan which requires far less percentage of a down payment and can make it drastically easier for an individual to afford a first property.

FHA loans can be used for multifamily properties like duplexes, as long as the individual taking the loan lives in one of the units. These are generally approved for properties with up to four units – any more than that starts drifting into the realm of commercial properties.

VA Loan

VA loans are a major benefit from serving in the military and can be a great way to get assistance purchasing a home. Using a VA loan for house hacking is a great way to get the resources and support needed for a house hack.

Seller Financing

Seller financing is a very creative way to set up a deal. This is the process where you work out a deal with the seller where they take the place of the bank. This can allow for very flexible payment terms for you while they get the benefit of interest that would usually go to a bank.

Fort Worth Neighborhoods: A Real Estate Perspective

One of the most important things to look at whenever searching for a good real estate deal is to look at both the widely perceived good neighborhoods as well as the bad neighborhoods in a city. Fort Worth is no different in that regards.

Generally, properties in good neighborhoods will be in higher demand while those in rougher neighborhoods will have a harder time appreciating and getting consistent Airbnb rentals from customers.

Some of the best neighborhoods in Fort Worth are:

  • Arlington Heights
  • Downtown Fort Worth
  • Fairmount
  • Westcliff (the neighborhood surrounding TCU)

While there can still be good deals in some of the rougher neighborhoods, these are ones to make sure to do extra due diligence on before making the jump since the crime rates are higher in the following neighborhoods than the rest of Fort Worth.

  • Southside
  • South East
  • Western Hills-Ridglea
  • Eastside
  • North Side

Keep the quality of not only the overall neighborhoods in mind when looking to house hack Fort Worth, and in making sure you’re comfortable with your area.

The average prices for units in Forth Worth by mean price are:

  • Detached houses $232,405
  • Townhouses & attached units $288,971
  • 2-Unit Structures $558,295
  • 3 & 4-Unit Structures $175,511
  • 5+ Unit Structures $344,165
  • Median Gross Rent: $1,110

Should You House Hack Fort Worth?

Overall, Fort Worth is a great city. Even if Dallas wasn’t close by it could stand on its own as an excellent city with plenty of visitors and a lot to offer locals, too. There are many amazing opportunities in Fort Worth for house hacking whether you’re looking to rent out a spare room, focus on Airbnb, or searching to purchase a multi-unit property.

If you’re interested in house hacking Fort Worth, be sure to check out our free house hacking calculator to analyze any potential Fort Worth deals you come across.

With a little research and the advice given in this article you will be well on your way towards finding an excellent house hacking deal in Fort Worth.

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Analyzed by: 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.

Learn more here.