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Ep. 146: From House Hack to Commercial Multifamily with Jay-R Domantay

podcast December 10, 2019

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A house-hack is a great way to get started in real estate. You live in one unit and rent out the others, so the residents pay the mortgage and expenses. Jay-R Domantay used this strategy to get his first deal and then invested in a couple of duplexes before making the leap to commercial real estate. 


Born and raised in the Philippines, Jay-R moved to Chicago in 2007 and has used hustle, grit, and ingenuity to build a 27-unit portfolio. Even more impressive, he’s done it all while working a full-time job and another part-time gig. He is not a licensed CPA and real estate broker, helping others get started in real estate investing. We talk about his steps to go from house-hack to commercial real estate, lessons learned along the way, and what’s next on his investing journey.

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Key Insights

  • Raised in the Philippines and moved to Chicago in 2007 at 17 years old
  • Did a house-hack on a new 2-flat in Berwyn, IL 
  • With an FHA loan, he only brought $7,500 to the closing table
  • The rental income covered the majority of the mortgage and utilities
  • Acquired a 2-flat foreclosure in Cicero for $80,000
  • Needed 25% down, but did not have all the capital
  • Took a loan on his 401k to get the remaining capital 
  • Made the leap to commercial multifamily apartments
  • Tips for seller financing: build rapport, demonstrate capabilities, establish trust, and be easy to work with 
  • The lending process was easier for commercial properties than the 2-4 unit residential units
  • Looking to do a passive deal to learn more about syndication
  • Seeking 8-24 units for his next active investment 
  • On the Westside of Chicago, 2-4 units are still going strong
  • Cash flow, cash reserves, and long-term financing


Partner: Download a Free Sample Apartment Deal Package


Bull’s Eye Tips:


Apparent Failure:

Not having enough cash reserves, had to tap into W2 income to cover costs


Most Recommended Book:

Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy


Most Recommended Digital/Mobile Resource:

Google Docs and Dropbox


Daily Habit:

Miracle Morning Routine


Wish I Knew Starting Out:

The importance of cash reserves


Advice to College Student:

Consider the cost of college before you take out a loan


Advice to Ignore:

People who have not done what you want to do


Current Curiosity:



Best Place to Grab a Bite:

Lola Tining


Connect with Jay-R:

Email: mvdarental@gmail.com


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