Photo: Image courtesy of Robert Gonzalez
Say you’re an ambitious, creative type who’s struggling to make ends meet in America’s costliest place to live, New York City. You’re trapped in the renter’s cycle, but view homeownership as an investment you should only make once you’ve “arrived.”
Enter Roberto González, a former real estate agent and actor, who teaches the über-popular Skillshare class, Life Hack: How to Live Rent Free in NYC.
González arms students with techniques for locating and buying an affordable home that fits their lifestyle.
“Purchasing a home can enable a lifestyle that is deeply fulfilling in a financial sense and an emotional sense,” he told Your Money after class. “And as an active person in New York City, moving toward your goals, owning a home is empowering because of the time it gives you to focus on them.”
Think about it: How many struggling artists do you know working jobs they hate just to make rent? Time is money, and having more of it to pursue what you love is a one-way ticket to bliss.
If all this sounds counterintuitive—owning a home doesn’t come cheap, after all—that’s because it is. González teaches his students to “have the home pay for itself,” by using “personal finance jujitsu” and peer-to-peer rental services.
In fact, it’s what helped González ditch his day job in real estate. By attracting tenants who were willing to pay a premium for an overnight to monthly stay at his NYC pad, González accrued cash to be put toward his mortgage.
With NYC being one of America’s strongest real estate markets, purchasing a home there might be one of the smartest investments these artists can make—that is, if they’re willing to stay in the city for at least three to seven years.
“It’s not a strong short-term investment, as there’s a transaction cost,” González notes, referring to the actual home-purchase costs of hiring an attorney to go over the paperwork, a real estate agent and a mortgage lender, along with saving up for a down payment.
“Otherwise, I wouldn’t have done it,” he continued. “But having the home subsidise my life here has been worth it.”
Today, González acts full-time and all those side gigs are a thing of the past.
Check out González’s top-ranked course at Skillshare for his ingenious tips on living free in the city.
NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.