🏠 How a Silicon Valley Engineer Bought His First Home and Began House Hacking
Leveraging the Exploding Offer
A lot of my peers are in the process of buying their first home, but most of us don’t know where to begin. In the spirit of making home buying simple and transparent, today we’re featuring the home buying story of my good friend Akhil, a Machine Learning Engineering Manager at IBM. Akhil bought his first home in South Bay and is currently “house hacking”, meaning he rents out a few rooms of his house while living in it. This is the first of many case studies we’ll go through to pull back the curtain on home buying.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Kevin: Akhil, it’s great to have you on here! How did you get started with your home buying process?
Akhil: I’ve always had an interest in real estate. For me, I went from opening Facebook when I woke up in high school, to Instagram in college, to Zillow in adult life. I spent hours browsing homes on Zillow, and that gave me a good idea about what I could afford and where I would want to live.
Kevin: That’s awesome; you’re definitely not the only person surfing homes on Zillow. How did you go from browsing to actively shopping?
Akhil: Once I knew I was staying in the Bay Area for the foreseeable future, I started going to open houses and seeing homes in-person. I’m always looking to maximize value so I knew I wanted to do house hacking. This helped constrain my search further, as I set up email subscriptions through Zillow and Redfin for 3+ BR homes within reasonable commute of IBM and other tech companies.
Kevin: Got it, and for the people who don’t know, could you expand a little on what house hacking is? Is that a synonym for flipping homes?
Akhil: No no, house hacking is very different than flipping homes. Flipping homes is when you buy homes, renovate them, and then sell for a profit. House hacking is where you buy a home to live in, but rent out a few rooms to help cover the cost. You have to live with roommates, but I was already living with roommates as a renter, and I’ve been fortunate to live with some awesome people.
Kevin: Oh wow, that’s really interesting. For the sake of time, let’s dive deep into house hacking another day and go back to your house search. So you have homes coming to your inbox, how did you pick the one you live in today?
Akhil: A home came through that fit my criteria perfectly. It was in South Bay with easy access to the 280, Caltrain, and SJC Airport, and it had 3 bedrooms and a den at a very reasonable price. At this point, I reached out to the listing agent to schedule a tour, and I pulled in an agent I had worked with before to help me write the offer. Something like Ferryhome didn’t exist yet, so I needed a person to help me with this process. We put in an exploding offer in the morning that expired that night, and we were able to get offer acceptance that same day.
Kevin: That’s amazing! How was the offer to close process?
Akhil: It went pretty smoothly. My lender and title people took care of the admin work, and the inspection didn’t surface major issues.
Kevin: And any regrets on the purchase? I remember some of our friends thought you made a poor decision and bought at the peak, but it seems like your house has appreciated quite well.
Akhil: Yeah, my house has increased 20-30% in value in just a couple of years, and I’ve always been able to find good tenants because of the location to maintain neutral cash flow. It’s been a great starter home.
Kevin: That’s great to hear. Congrats again on your home!
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