From the hesitancy that gnaws at every first-time investor to the thrill of securing that deal where the numbers sing, my own venture into real estate investing was a rollercoaster I never expected to enjoy. This week's episode is a testament to the power of action over indecision and a guidebook to turning properties into profit. Joining me is the inventive Steven Toth, who intertwines his flair for hospitality with sharp real estate acumen to master the art of medium-term rentals. Together, we dissect his strategy for living rent-free, leveraging Airbnb to vet prospective tenants, and ensuring his properties appreciate in value for the eventual sale.
The conversation shifts to the chess game of balancing short-term perks against long-term gains. As I splay open my playbook, you'll get an insider's look at managing a diverse portfolio of properties, from the layout intricacies to selecting the right tenant mix. We navigate the dichotomy of Airbnb's flexibility and the stability offered by services like PadSplit, all while keeping a keen eye on maximizing both time and revenue. Steven's clever use of house hacking and our discussion on the ebb and flow of tenant turnover will leave you with a new appreciation for the finesse required in property management.
Wrapping up, we tackle real-world snags from rising interest rates to the draw of location, reflecting on how these factors shape investment decisions. My own story of grappling with a property's poor access to amenities underscores the unpredictability of the market—a theme that resonates throughout the episode. The candid revelations from Steven's wealth of knowledge shed light on the nuanced strategies behind successful real estate investing. Whether you're a seasoned investor or just dipping your toes in, this episode is brimming with insights that defy the status quo of property investment advice.
1. Overcoming Investment Hesitation: The episode delves into the importance of overcoming the fear of risk-taking in real estate investment. The host shares personal experiences with initial hesitations and the pivotal moment of confidently submitting offers when the numbers made sense. Steven Toth reinforces this by explaining his own start in house hacking and the need to act promptly on a good deal, emphasizing the difference between inaction and seizing opportunities when the figures align with investment goals.
2. Tenant Management Strategies: Steven Toth shares his approach to tenant selection and property management, balancing short-term and long-term rentals. He discusses using Airbnb as a way to test drive potential long-term tenants and how tools like Zibo can streamline the management of multiple properties. The episode offers insights into charging rent based on room size and tenure, and maintaining harmony among occupants while keeping cash flow healthy.
3. Navigating Real Estate Market Challenges: The episode touches on real-life challenges of property investment, such as dealing with properties in less accessible locations and surges in interest rates. The host recounts strategies used to rent out a property with poor access to public transportation, including turning to short-term rentals through Airbnb and implementing strategic parking solutions. Steven Toth's conversation provides guidance through market uncertainties and preparation for future real estate opportunities.
00:00 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
This is the Hacking Real Estate podcast, season two, episode four.
00:05 - Steven Toth (Guest)
One is don't be afraid to take the risk. It was one of the things that I know. When I first started I was so hesitant I had my real estate license or when I was first looking for that first house, I looked at 100 plus homes, if not more, analyzing them, trying to think. I was a little nervous to even pull the trigger on submitting offers. But it got to the point where I'm like I started putting those houses, that those offers in and ultimately that's what you have to do If you want to do it run the numbers.
If it makes sense and it works. Don't wait, don't think about, just put the offer. You'll have time to think about it after that. And so that's ultimately what I started to do is I looked at the numbers and I'm like this house works offer and you'll have the 10 day inspection period when you do that. So, pretty much, don't don't be afraid to take the risk, and if it doesn't work well, you'll find another strategy. Get creative. There's ways. There's a lot of different ways in real estate to make it work.
01:03 - Brandon Hall (Co-host)
Welcome to the Hacking Real Estate podcast, where we dive into the stories of seasoned hands on and tech savvy real estate investors. We'll learn the strategies and tools they use to maximize returns and minimize hassle, all while navigating the rapidly changing real estate market. I'm your co host, brandon Hall, and managing partner of Hall CPA, and I'm sitting alongside my co host, vikas Gupta, ceo of a Zibo. With our combined 15 years of experience in real estate investing and entrepreneurship, we're here to help you up your real estate game. Let's get hacking.
01:35 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
Hi everyone, Welcome to this week's episode of the Hacking Real Estate podcast. Our guest today is Steven Toth. Steven is a real estate agent and investor with eight years of experience in the industry. With a degree in hospitality business management from Northern Arizona University, he's taken his knowledge of hospitality and joined them with his passion of real estate. Provided unique medium term rental solution. He currently rents out 14 rooms in the Phoenix area, with his tenants enjoying benefits typically seen at a normal air BNB, while paying substantially below market rents and without major modifications to the property typically seen by companies such as Tatswit. Super interesting, Steven. Thanks for joining us and welcome to the show, Thank you Excited to be here.
So, in your own words, can you tell us your real estate journey? I'll start.
02:27 - Steven Toth (Guest)
I guess how I kind of got into it. So my parents have been in real estate their whole lives. My mom was a real estate agent. She was in mortgages and so growing up I was very passionate. I had people at least my parents would have people coming up to the front door and handing her money and I'm like how do you get? I want.
02:45 - Ad (Ad)
I want to do that.
02:46 - Steven Toth (Guest)
So when I was about I think it was 25, I was able to decide I wanted to buy my first home and I had thought, okay, well, maybe I could do a rental, maybe I can kind of just trying to figure out where I would go. What I kind of landed on was going and doing roommates, and so one of the big criterias that I had for my first home was I wanted to not have to pay anything to live there. I didn't want to have to pay the utilities, I didn't want to pay the mortgage, I wanted to be able to live in a sense free while I was there. So the way at least out here I needed to do that in the Phoenix market was I needed at least four bedrooms. So I'd live in one, I'd rent out the other three and at the time the medium rent for a room was probably around 600, 650. It was about 1800.
And I found a house that was about 240,000. I put 5% down and moved in. My mortgage payment was 1200. And so 1200, 1800, and after kind of cover all of the other expenses. I did that. I lived there for about a year and I realized, well, if I move out, I could probably rent my room out, start really cash flowing and move into another place and do it again. And so I had kind of moved out, left a lot of my stuff at the other house, found another place that kind of met my criteria, moved into that. One kind of did the same thing and rinse and repeat. Now I have three houses with I tend to refer that to them as roommates, but technically they're tenants in all of the three houses. So done over the last probably five years now just kind of every couple of years, buying another house and renting them out by the rooms Cool.
04:24 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
That's awesome, that's a great strategy and certainly one that we've heard, I think, a few times from various guests that they got their start and I guess, in the term of what is house hacking, but buying living in.
04:35 - Steven Toth (Guest)
04:36 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
Started house hacking.
04:37 - Steven Toth (Guest)
And then it was like, well, I could keep this going, and the more I kept going and doing it, the more I realized at least from my own perspective how expensive rents are sometimes, especially for somebody who's just moving out. You're looking and saying, okay, I don't, maybe know that many people can't find somebody to go live with or don't really want to, and so you're looking at a studio apartment and it could be upwards of $1,200 or more a month and you haven't even gotten into account the utilities for that where a room you could probably find for around $800, $900 a month and don't have to worry about all of the additional expenses that come with renting a place, such as electric or any other type of payments.
05:21 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
And when we introduced you we sort of mentioned you're not doing major property modifications. Tell us a little bit about that.
05:28 - Steven Toth (Guest)
So I look at it from the perspective of from a resale value. So when I buy my houses I want to be able to take that house, resale it for as a single family home. I don't want to have take a living room and convert it into a bedroom, a family room, convert it. So when I'm buying the house it's very specific to. I don't want to make that those major modifications that are going to require a lot of rework in the house. I look at it as saying I want to leave it the structure as it is, but I want to make it so that it's still usable for for roommates. So some of the common renovations I'll do is new floors, paint.
I have a very attention to detail mine. So one of the things that drives me absolutely crazy is if the door hinges. Door hinges are painted drives me crazy. But so I'll go and something as simple as that it's super cheap on Amazon I'll go and replace all the door hinges because it's just like it just makes it pop. Once I'm pretty much done with that, I'll start. I rent it out by the room. Over the years I've actually at first I was putting the standard entry key doors on all the rooms and actually had keys. But after the first house I realized I hated managing 20 keys and had a key for the front door and the back door and the garage door, and then three what technically four rooms in the house, and so on Amazon, they have electric door locks. So all of my rooms now have actual four digit pin codes that I can go and enter, Got it.
07:04 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
So it sounds like the only modification investment that you made that's specific to the roommate setup is putting in locks on every door. Otherwise it sounds like all those other upgrades. You know, even if you were renting out the whole house to one tenant or one family, you would be making them anyways, right, Paint, boring, etc.
07:25 - Steven Toth (Guest)
Yep, yeah, and so that's one of the things I've seen that a lot of people do is it's like, okay, the more rooms, the more money. Well, I look at it from the other perspective. I'm like I want to provide a high quality room and I can ask more money for that. So my house, my kitchen, everything is kind of well maintained and really kept up, rather than well. Let me just say you can eat in your room. Here's a little mini fridge, there's a teeny little kitchen that you can use, but other than that, stay in your rooms.
I try to make it a lot more friendly of my roommates or tenants enjoying the common areas. There's TV. I provide cable. I even put Netflix and Hulu and some of those on the TV. I have games in some of the houses at usable kitchen. I have a lot of my tenants who like to meal prep. Then we'll actually have fully stock kitchen with everything that they need in there, at least utensil wise. They don't buy their own food, but a lot of times they'll have spices that they'll share amongst themselves. So it can be a little collaborative as well.
08:28 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
So you're furnishing the common areas, you're stocking the kitchen, you're sounds like you're also paying for the cable or the streaming. Are you billing any of that through as a pass through to the tenants, or are you just adding that as part of the value?
08:45 - Steven Toth (Guest)
All part of the rent, yep, so they can get all of that. When I first started, I first didn't have furnished rooms. I did much more of a traditional rental type roommate situation. It was an empty room. You bring your own furniture, I charged a rent and then I'm like, okay, well, I'll split the utilities. And the longer I did that, after a year of getting the bill for the internet, the water, the electric bill and then dividing it amongst four people, it was like, okay, it's averaging $100 a month when I'm going and adding it to their amount, I just had decided I went to all of them and like just take your rent at a hundred bucks, pay me that every month. And that was what kind of helped reduce it into just one payment that my tenants now pay. They don't have to worry about any of those other instances Now the downside with that is in the Arizona market where, thank goodness entering the winter period, where it's nice out.
So my air conditioning bill is low. The water bill tends to be low, having to utilize as much, but come the summer it tends to eat into my profit a little bit, just because now those expenses are a lot higher On that topic.
10:01 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
so do your tenants control the thermostat? Do you have, like, what's that setup like? Is it central air? Do you put many splits into each of the rooms? Like, what level of control do each of these tenants have?
10:12 - Steven Toth (Guest)
The tenants have the ability to adjust the temperature, but it automatically resets after two hours. So I have all smart thermostats in all the homes and so if it's warm it's probably not going to cool down that much and they'd have to go and continuously adjust it. But I also can see that from my phone and, if needed, I actually haven't had too many issues with the temperature. To be quite honest, out of all of the years I'm doing it, I typically keep it around 76 degrees in the house, which tends to be a nice comfort zone for people. I'll drop it me personally, since I've lived at these houses, I tend to like it cold at night, so I'll drop it down to 74 after like 10pm and then it will jump back up to 76, I think, at like 8am. Other than that, most of the my tenants don't have it complained. During the summertime I typically get a little bit more just comments of like hey, it's warm in here, at least one house that I think I need a little more more insulation in and that's future project Makes sense.
11:15 - Ad (Ad)
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11:54 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
Are you sourcing tenants individually? Do other tenants have a say in who comes into the house? Like, talk to me, because it's a lot of shared space, right? So like, how are you making sure that you know there isn't conflict from shared kitchen, or do they? Are they sharing bathrooms? Like, I almost understand some of that.
12:13 - Steven Toth (Guest)
Yeah, so I could tell you a little bit about the three houses and then I'll jump into the how I kind of go about screening and picking the tenants. My first house is a four bedroom, two bath home. There's three rooms that all share one bathroom, and then the master that has its own bathroom. My second house is a five bedroom, three bath home. The master has its own bathroom and then it's a basement home, so one other bedroom is upstairs. That has a bathroom upstairs, so it's actually like right next to it. You just kind of walk out the door right into the bathroom and then in the basement there's three rooms with a big common area and a bathroom, and so those three rooms tend to utilize the bathroom downstairs, but if they need to, there's that second bathroom upstairs that they can also share. And then the third home is a six bedroom, three bath home. That one has the master with its own bathroom and then three rooms on one side of the house for with one bathroom, and then on the complete opposite side there's two rooms with the bathroom.
Now, as far as how I select tenants, I tend lately I've been having a lot of success on Airbnb, and so I actually hopefully Airbnb is not watching this. But Airbnb guests will typically move into my house, and a lot of times. But in conversation with them because I tend to meet them when they first arrived I find out that they're looking to move out here. They're considering renting a room and just trying to find some place to stay, and so I pretty much say, okay, well, Airbnb can be your trial period.
Tell me how you like the house. I'll typically let you know if I get a request from somebody else and that's your time that you can pick. Do you want to stay at the house longer, or am I gonna go with the next guest and have them move into the house? So that's how I've actually been doing it. More recently, I have actually been looking at Pad Split a little bit more, just as a consideration, but I haven't made any decisions yet on that, at least for the six bedroom house. We'll have to see what happens with that.
14:21 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
Got it Okay. So in those short-term rental, like are they renting for a week, a month and then you're converted in?
14:30 - Steven Toth (Guest)
Most of the time I do at least a minimum of a week. If I'm not getting much activity, I'll typically drop it down. I've been actually fairly surprised that even when I do like three days, most of the time the people that will move in are not staying just three days. They'll start with three days. They move in, they like the house, they extend it to a week, they extend it 10 days, but most of them will extend it.
14:53 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
Got it. That's like travel, for you buy right On both sides, right it's rather than looking at two-dimensional piece of paper, you actually get the real experience. I think that's a really interesting way of getting tenants and they're getting paid along the way right. It's not a free trial.
15:07 - Steven Toth (Guest)
Yeah, I'm getting money, I'm making money on it. I get to see how they're at. I hear from the other roommates as well of I don't like him, he's messy, and I can choose. I'm like, okay, well, no, I'm not gonna offer it, sorry. Or they might say, oh, he's great, we'd be quiet. We don't hear from them and that's at that point until typically, if they're interested in assuming I would offer it to them of let's just do a direct lease and live at the room and you get all the benefits as if it's an Airbnb. But now you just can. Typically I also try to save them a little bit money from their Airbnb price as well. So it kind of all evens out in the end.
15:47 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
Yeah, so is that it's 14 units, right, or 14 rooms, something like that? I think yeah, I think it's 14, four.
15:57 - Steven Toth (Guest)
It might be 15 now I might have missed it.
16:00 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
Steven, you have 14, 15 units rooms. You're doing three day rentals, seven day rentals to get the trial, do the tenant sourcing, then you're doing midterm one month, three month, et cetera. That to me just sounds like a lot of tenant turnover and a lot of time managing the tenant turnover. So I guess question one, two part question, first question is how much time are you spending managing this tenant turnover? My second question is how do you think about the trade-offs between what you're currently doing and the time it takes to manage all this, vis-a-vis like going to long-term rentals? Cause where that question is coming from is we've had folks in the past on this show that have said you know what they started with short-term and they went to midterm and then they went to long-term because of the time and they just wanted this stability of a long-term 10, and not have to worry about it.
16:51 - Steven Toth (Guest)
Honestly, I would say averaging a month. I would say maybe 10-ish hours a month to manage it. Now I might be in a unique situation. Most of my tenants have been there for probably at least four over a year. I'd say at least half of them over a year, which is a unique, maybe a unique scenario with starting with short-term and then a lot of them ending up actually being long-term.
So I definitely am fortunate enough to be able to not have to worry about these houses Like I visit them maybe about once a week I'll go drive by and make sure that things are all stocked up. I have a cleaning crew that also goes every two weeks. They're maintaining the houses, so I'm not actually having to go and do that. And then what's nice for me is I also just show up and can spend the time. Just if the tenants are there or my roommates are there, I can just chit chat with them, find out how things are going, make sure things are going well, and they all have my phone numbers that they need to reach out. But otherwise I probably average max 15 hours a week at 15 hours a month if that just driving over there taking a walk and then, of course with a Zibru. It saves me a bunch of time with the bookkeeping as well.
18:10 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
That's great, that you've short-term that turns into long-term and you know they're great tenants and they continue to stay. I mean, that's sort of like the best of both worlds.
18:19 - Steven Toth (Guest)
Yeah, and I'd say most of my time tends to spend that 80, 20 rule. Of course, the 20% is where most the few rooms that I have open in the houses have taken up majority of my time.
18:34 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
And you're self-managing. I mean, we hear from a lot of folks that like, once they get to three, four, five doors plus, they start thinking you know what? This is a lot of money movement to track, it's a lot of payments to make, bill payments and counting headaches they go to a property manager. You've done it yourself, you're sticking it with yourself. Like how are you managing all of this?
18:57 - Steven Toth (Guest)
Yeah, I with a Zibru, like I said, helps tremendously on the bookkeeping side. I do tend to have, as well, on that more property side, tenants who've been there a while. I tend to give them maybe a slightly better rate than they would typically see For helping keep an eye on at the house if people have issues and put their phone number out on a whiteboard and say this is the individual you need to call if you're having trouble opening the front door or something. Just general questions of hey, can I use this, can I do that? I tend to have them try to talk to another person in that house as For guidance before coming to me. So that tends to save a lot of my time.
And though these tenants have also been there a while, I'm fortunate enough that my very first house, when I moved in the, my very first roommate I ever had, is actually still living at my house, so he has been there. I bought it in 2018, so he's been he's coming on almost five years living in the house and when I first moved in, I moved into the master and he was in one of the bedrooms to live there for about a year. After I bought my second house and I moved out. I offered it for him to move into the master and he has been happy as can be and has not left yet.
20:22 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
20:22 - Steven Toth (Guest)
Do you charge differential rent based on you know, master plus private bath first, yeah, now, he being that he's been there as long I I and I knew him for years prior to him moving in, since he was one of my first roommates. I don't charge him as much as I probably sure to occurred for that room, but I it offsets with all the other rooms that Surprisingly, hopefully, none of my tenants are watching, but some of those other rooms are actually paying higher rates than he did. So it kind of helps offset that cost and ultimately I'm still profiting on the house, which is what ultimately what I'm looking for, or maybe I should even say cash flowing.
21:03 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
So yeah, I mean I think that's a common theme We've also heard on this show, right, the Having a tenant who's been there, who's reliable, who pays on time, takes care of the property, who makes your life easier is is generally the consensus seems to be worth more than hey. Let me see if I can push another $25.50 a month of rent out of this, because it's a lot. It's pretty easy to get a bill from a bad tenant or, you know, rent that doesn't get paid or anything with housing that can cost you more than a thousand, two thousand dollars.
21:36 - Steven Toth (Guest)
Yeah, and I've had Some bad Tenants. I had one Airbnb guest who ended up booking for about two months on Airbnb. I, when they first moved in, thought they'd be great. Um, after they've been there a month, the other tenants were complaining she was very dirty, very messy. Um just didn't clean up after herself and all of a sudden I got a notice from Airbnb telling me that hey, she's not paying. And so I talked to her and she was Not the nicest to me, and so I Did what I could, trying to help her, trying to work through something, but pretty much just told me nope, I can't do it. And so finally I I ended up, which Airbnb can have fairly difficult support at times. I don't know if that's maybe something You've heard before, but trying to figure out what Airbnb would recommend in this situation, when they're telling me they're not paying, I didn't know what to do. So I treated it as if they were standard tenant, because she had been there forever, for a month, provided or noticed to Vacate my, my room, uh, but she did ultimately leave after the five days.
I did not have to go through in a fiction process. Now, when I did get into the room, it was pretty thrashed. It was very dirty, so that was. I'm fortunate enough to not have had to deal with many Bad situations. That's probably one of the worst that I had to deal with, but yeah, that was one challenging aspect that I've had with it.
23:08 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
Yeah, I mean I guess you know, if you have 15 units and you're going through 20, 30, 40, 50 tenants, at some point you're gonna Just odds right, just the math. At some point you're gonna get someone.
23:20 - Steven Toth (Guest)
But that's great that it's only been one and most of the other times I've had had small issues, at least what I consider small issue somebody saying, oh, then playing the tv too loud at the end of the night and I'm like, okay, well, I text up, okay, can you keep it down, and that's about it most of the time. That will Figure it out. I try to set some of the rules at the beginning with my guests and tenants that, hey, this is a co-living life, respect the other tenants, be considerate of everyone else that's living in the house. There's quiet hours by 10 o'clock at night, go into the room, wear headphones. That type of stuff doesn't necessarily mean everyone follows the so's rules, but at least they know about it.
24:04 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
You mentioned that, that you tend to charge A little bit below market. I'm curious, though, at a Macrosense at least, you know, phoenix is one of those markets that's seen pretty significant rent declines in the past year or two, at least from the top level data Like how has that impacted you, if at all, in the way you think about things?
24:27 - Steven Toth (Guest)
I don't think it's impacted me that much. Like I said, most of my tenants have been there for a year or more. Right now I do have my well, I should say my third house that I bought is probably been more of my struggle home at the moment. When I bought it it was back in March and this at this point the interest rates had already gone up. My mortgage is potentially more than I would like, but it's right at that range that I should at least be breaking even, making a little bit, if you'll find that I tend to be a little more on the cash flow side. So I was looking at like, okay, breaking even, it's paying my mortgage. If the house doesn't stay the same or appreciates a little bit, like I'll be fine. But the what I quickly discovered with it was that the location is not the right, the best there's compared to the other two homes. My first home is very close to a lot of shopping, very convenient to the freeway. My second one is also pretty convenient to a lot of shopping, close to the light rail. My third one, the closest bus stop to mile and the closest store is almost a mile away. And so what I didn't realize at the time and this is kind of a learning lesson for me was people who are renting rooms may not have a car, so they rely on the public transportation, they rely on being close to a store, and so when I first got the house and started posting the rooms, I realized that a lot of I was not getting the same type of traffic that I do with the other two houses. So it's been that house has been a little bit more of a struggle.
I had tried to go to more of a long-term rental for it. Unfortunately, the long-term rental that I had there ended up not working out either. They decided to cancel their lease. After three months into it, they ended up moving back out. I took retook possession of the property posted, decided to post the whole thing on Airbnb and was fortunate enough to get a long-term, a month-long rental, which at this point is my house that I'm like just one more month, that's just one more month, but that long-term rental is actually ending on the 6th, so I'm most likely actually going to go back to the room rental.
So I did have a fairly good success with it, at least when during that period of the lease ending and the long-term Airbnb guest moved in. I posted it on Airbnb for all the rooms a short term and I was shocked because within a week every single room was full. And not only was it full, but the tenants were like how long can I stay? And so they kept extending. I'm like I need you out by the I think it was the 6th November, october, 6th of October. I'm like I need you out before the 6th, like everyone's got to be out by the 5th. I need to go through the whole house, clean everything, but like three of them all extended right up to the 6th. So because of that, I've decided I'm going to go back to the room rental process with that house and see if I can get that to work again.
27:26 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
So that's super interesting on the transit side and what the profile of the renter is. I was just thinking, as you were mentioning some of those characteristics, how do you manage parking? But then it turns out that I guess parking is less of an issue with most of the folks on that cars.
27:42 - Steven Toth (Guest)
And that was one of the things at least criteria when I search for the homes I try to look for. How's the parking? My first house I'm like four people are living here. I need four spots. It's not an HOA, so street parking is available. There's two spots in the driveway. I ended up at that house pouring concrete on the side of the house so I added a third spot and then added an ORV gate and so there was a fourth spot in front of that ORV gate. So four spots now completely on my property plus all the street.
My second house I'm really fortunate I have two of the tenants in that parking in the garage there, but the driveway is huge, a big long wrap around driveway. I can get probably like three or four cars just on the driveway and not have no one blocked in, and then it's not an HOA, so there's a fairly large front of the house. The front of the house street parking is pretty large. I could probably get like six or seven cars up there. So most of the tenants there all drive. But, like I said, no issue with parking. My biggest challenge is, of course, the Northridge house. That is my largest house with six rooms that will be available. I have four spots in the driveway that are available, and then it's not HOA, so I could probably get another three spots in front of the house before having to park in front of other people's houses. So there's spots available. It's a lot tighter if people have guests or somebody that comes over, or if they have two cars or something like that.
29:17 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
Well, great, I mean, typically you like to ask how folks are thinking about things, given the market circumstances today, but it sounds like you're still active, or at least you were active in March, which was not so long ago. The interest rates have changed. That being said, like, how are you thinking about things going forward? Get the Northridge house settled and then back in the market active, or wait out the interest rates? Or where's your head at?
29:38 - Steven Toth (Guest)
At the moment it's probably just trying to continue to get it settled and waiting out the interest rates. Now, of course, when you get, I think the interest rate on that house is probably around I want to say five or six percent. But it was also a fairly large house. It was when I bought. It was 560,000, so it's Pretty 20% down. My mortgage is nearly around four thousand dollars on that house and so it's that one has been a very tight house as far as it goes.
No, most real estate investors, I'm sure, like when's interest rates drop, where can I get a lower interest rate? And that's kind of where I'm at of, just like okay, well, let's see if it goes down. The house, hopefully will has gone up in value with all of the work that I've done into it or put into it. So just kind of playing the long-term game when it comes to those type of things, have just waited out, keep the rooms rented, keep the house going, go from there and do you think you'll continue with the house hacking strategy or at some point, you know you'll You'll decide.
30:42 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
You know what. I'm gonna live alone and well.
30:45 - Steven Toth (Guest)
So I've been fortunate enough to now have a girlfriend. She's got a two-bedroom condo so I I moved in there, which I told her. I'm like I'll pay you rent, I'll help pay your mortgage and I'll rent out the room. And so it's been. I've been fortunate enough with that. We've been going strong and been very happy together so far. So that opened up another room to rent at the houses.
31:06 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
So well cool, I think. Listen, I think this has been a great episode so far, taken us really through the nuts and bolts of if someone else wants to do a house hacking strategy like yours, I think. I think this is a great episode for them to learn a lot. So, if you don't mind, we're coming up on time. Can we go to our three closing questions now? All right, let's do it. Question number one what is your favorite book, and it doesn't have to be real estate related?
31:31 - Steven Toth (Guest)
So my favorite book, I I'd say, is probably the Miracle Morning by hell Elrod. I'd I'd say I need to get back into some of the practices in there. But when I first read it, learning about how to first start your day and kind of get things going, I Really took it to heart and put it into practice and that was where I felt like a lot of things really started to Kind of take off for me in the real estate side. So that, I'd say, is probably one of my favorite books.
31:58 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
31:58 - Steven Toth (Guest)
What are some of those practices? Pretty much anything before 8 am Going out, getting a workout, doing some journaling, taking some time to meditate and kind of reflect. I've used that time as well to kind of spend more time looking at houses and maybe sometimes I always do when, when life gets busy during the day, I I try to. Just in that morning I've used it to okay, let me see if I could find a house that would meet my criteria and work for the house hacking. So yeah, a lot of similar things trends hearing his story in the book as well was very Motivational to me and things that how had gone through.
32:37 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
Yeah, I'm still working out my morning. I think we, we, we just we just got a puppy about six, seven months ago and I Think taking him for a walk every morning has been a good forcing function to force me to get outside, but I still, you know, first thing I look on my phone. I really need to stop doing that, yeah.
32:57 - Steven Toth (Guest)
I have a tendency with that too, but no it, when I did do the mornings and I I need to get. It's a work in progress. It's always keep working at it, but I, when I got really dedicated and focused at it, I felt like it really helped now it's good to hear question number two and you touched on it, but let's, I'm gonna put you on the spot.
33:16 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
You have to pick one. What is more important to you and in Real estate, investing cash flow or appreciation?
33:24 - Steven Toth (Guest)
for me it's been cash flow. Appreciation is the cherry on top for me, but ultimately I look at it as I want. All of my house is cash flowing. If they're cash flowing, it's paying all of the bills and ideally I can make a little profit on top Is how I look at it. I don't want to be putting my own money in of money that I make during my day job, just to keep the houses going, so Cash flow is definitely very important for me cool.
33:48 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
And question number three. Final question Anything else that you'd like to tell our audience, any tips, any advice, any insight that we need get a chance to touch on?
33:56 - Steven Toth (Guest)
I guess for me the biggest advice one is don't be afraid to take the risk. It was one of the things that I know. When I first started I was so hesitant I have my real estate license or when I was first looking for that first house, I looked at a hundred plus homes, if not more, analyzing them, trying to think. I was a little nervous to even pull the trigger on submitting offers. But it got to the point where I'm like I Started putting those houses, that those offers in and ultimately that's what you have to do.
If you want to do it run the numbers. If it makes sense and it works, don't wait, don't think about, just put the offer. You'll have time to think about it after that, and so that's ultimately what I started to do is I looked at the numbers and I'm like this house works offer and you'll have to 10-day inspection period when you do that. So pretty much, don't, don't be afraid to take the risk and If it doesn't work well, you'll find another strategy. Get creative. There's ways, there's a lot of different ways and real estate to make it work, and I've been a been fortunate enough to be experiencing that with my, my third house, the Northridge house that you were. We've talked about.
35:03 - Vikas Gupta (Co-host)
Well, this has been great. Thank you again, steven. Enjoy the conversation. I'm sure all listeners will enjoy it too. Again, really appreciate you getting into the the weeds of the nuts and bolts and sharing numbers and sharing specifics. I think that's how we really make the advice come to light.
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