Susan Isaacs | Compass

Put your property to work for you.

There are many ways to house hack in the District.

What is ‘House Hacking’?

What does the term mean?

In simple terms, ‘house hacking’ is finding ways to earn money from the residence(s) you own.

Possibilities include creating an income stream by renting out the entire residence, or a portion of it while living in another portion, either long or short term.

Why House Hack?

House Hacking income can be very useful in off-setting mortgage payments and property taxes, or padding your monthly cash flow if you own the residence outright or rent at a profit. It also offers flexibility in case you decide to relocate, or upsize.

It’s often a first step for aspiring investors.

Even if the rental income intake doesn’t cover fully overhead, house hackers benefit from reducing housing costs, building equity in the property, and saving interest by shortening the term of a mortgage if proceeds are used to pay off a portion of principal monthly. House hacking can also be a tax saver by taking expense and depreciation deductions. Finally, house hackers can borrow against their increased equity when they decide to invest in their next property.

Financing Advantages

House Hacking is a form of investment that allows buyers to obtain owner-occupant financing in lieu of higher interest rate investor loans. It also offers down payment advantages. While real estate nvestment loans typically require larger down payments, primary residence owner-occupants may see downpays as low as 0% for VA and HPAP, 2.5% for FHA, or other conventional loans from 5% to 10%.

What type of properties can I House Hack in DC?


Because of common restrictions against short term rentals, rental caps and leasing term regulations by most DC condo and co-op associations, these home types are not good candidates for house hacking, unless you are house sharing on a 6 month or longer lease. This type of ‘roommate’ house-hacking is typically allowed by associations, with provisions set by individual communities.

Keep in mind that if you own a unit and rent out a room, you’ll be considered a landlord and will need to be licensed.

Find DC rental housing business rules & regulations here


House Hack single family homes by sharing the space (roommate), or renting a basement, attic or an accessory unit (aka ADU), long or short term. If you plan an STR business, do read our pages on STR rental restrictions in the District.

Since you’ll be a DC landlord, you’ll need a license and possibly a certificate of occupancy. Read the rules here.

Plan to build or convert property for an Accessory Dwelling Unit in Washington DC?  Download the SmarterGrowth.net manual here.


Multifamily dwellings are designed for house hacking.

The RAAP (Residential Accessory Apartments Program) was est. for FY 2022 and FY 2023 budgets, providing over $2.5M in funding for the establishment of an ADU pilot program. This initiative is intended to support the creation of residential accessory apartments at existing residential properties throughout the District.

According to AI, the RAAP program is still available in 2024 “for DC residents who want to construct or renovate an accessory dwelling unit (ADU).” Qualifications include:

  • Have homeowners insurance
  • Be current on federal and District taxes
  • Have proof of mortgage payments for the past year
  • Renovation or construction budget of $120k or less


Our Investment content is posted for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment, financial, legal, tax, or other specialized advice. We not financial advisors. Seek advice from professional legal, financial, taxation, or other experts before making investment decisions.


Start With The Basics

Whether you’re investing in DC real estatae as a side hustle or full-time business, understanding the local real estate market and fundamentals is key.

How We Help

  • Guidance and education
  • Off-market opportunities
  • Skill, expertise and experience

Assembling A Team

Having a team of professionals in place will ease acquisition and managment of your investment portfolio.

Your Realtor, lenders, property manager, contractors and vendors functioning as a team can identify opportunities, speed transitions, address issues, and increase profitability.



1313 14th St
NW DC 20005
error: This content is copyrighted and protected