Life Hack: How to Live Rent-Free in NYC
4.0 (19 ratings)
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Life Hack: How to Live Rent-Free in NYC

A life-changing course on saving money, buying the best home at the lowest price, and getting paid to live in it!
4.0 (19 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
819 students enrolled
Created by Roberto Gonzalez
Last updated 11/2013
Current price: $10 Original price: $100 Discount: 90% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • 7 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • By the end of the course you will have built three engines that will carry you to your rent free life:
  • A saving engine to help you gather the funds necessary to buy your new home
  • A buying engine to make sure you get the best property for the lowest possible price
  • An earning engine to make your new home pays for itself while you live in it
View Curriculum
  • No outside materials required.

“This class was amazing. Rob is a tremendous teacher and the gems I walked away with far outweighed the monetary cost. You must check this out!"

- Scott Britton, Founder, Life-Long Learner

"...a little update, thanks to you I am only paying about $100 a month for rent and paying off my credit cards!!"
- Sabrina Fairclough, Photographer

"Rob doesn't waste time and has tons of knowledge."
- Jeff Ramos, Polygon

What is the biggest obstacle you face in pursuing your dreams here in New York City? For thousands of New Yorkers the answer is simple: the rent. I struggled for ten years with this issue - until finally I solved it - and began the rent-free life I've been enjoying for the last four years (yes, that's my home in the photo above). In this revolutionary online course you'll learn how to:

  • Save money painlessly
  • Avoid the biggest mistakes made by NYC home-buyers
  • Buy the very best NYC home - at the lowest possible price - and get paid to live in it!

The course contains 20+ in-depth video lessons (3-10 minutes a piece), and everything I learned over those ten years, plus direct access to me through the discussion forums and even free one-on-one consultation. You'll learn powerful techniques that will dramatically improve your financial and home life, guaranteed. By the end of the course you will have a realistic and achievable step-by-step plan that flips the script on the New York real estate market and puts you in control of your home and your finances.

Think of me as your rent-free lifestyle coach. I'll be here to answer your questions as you move through the modules and put your rent-free plan into action. Freed from the burden of ever-rising rents, what could you do? What could you be? Lets find out!

Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone looking to live in New York City without the burden and uncertainty of paying ever-rising rent!
  • This course assumes the student is currently living in and able to legally earn income in the US. While many of the principles discussed in the course apply universally - the materials, products and terms used in the course are US-specific.
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Curriculum For This Course
26 Lectures
2 Lectures 04:42

...if you're curious who I am, and how I came to teach this stuff.

Preview 03:01

This class is about owning your home and getting paid to live in it. Together we'll build three "engines" to help us achieve this goal:

  • Saving: for your new home purchase
  • Buying: the best place at the lowest price
  • Earning: so your home pays you
Preview 01:41
3 Lectures 16:18

New York City landlords earn a pretty penny - but there is a far better way to earn money from property here in the city. You could start earning later. Then again why not now?

Preview 08:38

How to start your earnings engine - and further social causes while you earn!

A Head Start

Whether you intend to host now or later, it pays to build and optimize your profile now. Use these step-by-step instructions to get the most our of peer-to-peer hosting. :)

Worksheet: Build Your Earning Engine
11 Lectures 31:51

The bad news: You can’t skip this section unless you're already rich. The good news: we can make saving easy - and use credit cards to help us save even faster!


Worksheet: Build Your Dashboard

All banks are not created equal. You owe it to yourself to shop around for the best bank for your needs before building your savings engine. lI’ll tell you about my favorites here.

Better Banking

It is possible to love your bank - if you choose wisely.

Worksheet: My Favorite Banks

Your Saving engine works by removing willpower and discipline from the savings process. This is essential for success! Paying yourself first is another core principle of this system. Simplicity and predictability are key here as well. The simpler your system is the more effective it will be and easier your financial life will be!

Once your savings engine is running you can spend more time and energy focusing on the things you love to do without worrying about your finances.

Financial Automation

Most folks in the US (myself included) don’t earn a monthly salary. If this sounds like you we’ll need to make a small adjustment to your savings engine to make sure it works smoothly...

Bob & Frida

Worksheet: Build Your Saving Engine

I hate to use foul language, but its about time we got some value back from those credit card companies. And this is just the tip of the credit card hacking iceberg!

Extra Credit: Making A Credit Card Your B1tch

One of my favorite hobbies is travel hacking. Here are the essential tools.

Double Extra Credit: Reward Hacking Resources

The earlier you start your earnings engine the faster you'll be able to save. You can increase your buying power, boost your online reputation and maybe even lower your tax bill. Why not start now? Expensify is a free app that can help you keep track of your expenditures and receipts come tax time. I'm a big fan.

Turbo-Charging Your Earnings

9 Lectures 46:57

The Buying Mindset
Before we dive in we need to debunk some popular misconceptions about real estate - and make a conscious decision about how we will approach the buying process.

Renting First
If you've never lived in New York City before its best to rent here first. Check out the Renting Guide and links I've posted in the Supplementary Materials for tips and tricks to navigating New York's insane rental market.


Don't let NYC's most popular map draw you in. Use these alternatives to make sure you're seeing the city true to scale!
Google Map w Subway Overlay
TripTrop NYC Time-based Map

Master of Maps

Area Expertise

Google Alerts sucks now. Luckily there are plenty of replacement options out there. My favorite among them is Mention. Read on for details on all 7.

Worksheet: Assembling Your Neighborhood Stories

Choose Wisely
Some types of property are well-suited for living rent-free. Co-ops should be avoided entirely.

NYC Home Types

Just Say NO to the 20% Down Payment

Forget about co-ops. Condos and townhouses can be purchased with as little as 10% down using a conventional mortgage. Add in the 4% closing costs and you have a savings goal of 14% of the purchase price. In an expensive market like NYC that can be a lot of money. FHA financing is the key to the 3.5% downpayment. Together with the closing costs (abut 4%) this low downpayment allows us to buy after saving only 7.5% of the purchase price. Less saving means less time wasted - and more opportunity to take advantage of record low mortgage rates.

If you're buying a condo you'll need to cross reference your listing search results with the list of FHA approved condos at the HUD website. And yes, their site closes for the night at 10pm every night. Don't ask why. I have no idea.

FHA Financing

Narrowing The Field
Which of your favorite neighborhoods offer the most potential for a rent-free life? Use your data with these calculations and the attached Excel Worksheet to find out.

Do The Math

A step-by-step guide to the buying process.Soup to nuts: its all here.

The Hunt

Success in this process is all about having a great team on your side!

Worksheet: Assembling Your Team
Bringing It Home!
1 Lecture 04:25

Your Rent-Free Life Begins!

Congratulations! Thank you so much for participating in this course! Please leave a review by clicking the stars in the upper right corner of this page if you found it helpful!

Bringing It Home!
About the Instructor
Roberto Gonzalez
4.0 Average rating
19 Reviews
819 Students
1 Course
Actor, Life Hacker, Real Estate Nerd

Rob Gonzalez has been featured in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Real Deal, The Village Voice, Real Estate Weekly, Business Insider, Mashable, and on NBC's Today Show.
Rob has taught these strategies to almost a thousand students here in the city and has rebuilt his class from the ground-up for the online student. Rob believes that home ownership is for everyone - not just the super-rich - and that increased home ownership is fundamentally good for New York City and it's residents. Rent-free since 2011, Rob now spends most of his time pursuing his dream career in the arts.