How to Make Money at Campus Housing

If you have a child heading off to college, you already know how costly it can be. Beyond the price of tuition and books, there is the high cost of housing, and the rents in many college towns can be quite high. Some enterprising parents may be able to take advantage of this situation by purchasing one or more rental properties in that college town and renting them out to college students. If you are in this situation, such a strategy can give your son or daughter a safe place to live while helping to offset the high cost of college tuition with your rental income.

Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You'll Need:
Real estate agent
Financial software
Research the town where you plan to invest in campus housing. If your son or daughter plans to attend college in that town, be sure to visit the campus and the surrounding area. Take note of the neighborhoods that you find most attractive, and look at the current number of rental housing units available.
Talk to representatives of the local colleges and universities about the need for campus housing, noting any under-served areas and unmet needs that may exist. The people on the front lines of college life---like the administrators of the facility---will often be able to provide information you would not be able to get anywhere else.
Make an appointment with a real estate agent who serves the area where you are considering an investment. It is important to use a real estate agent who is intimately familiar with the area, including the various neighborhoods in the town. A local real estate agent will have a much better handle on what is really going on in the area.
Contact property management companies in the area and get information from each of those property managers. Unless you will be living in the same town as your investment property, you will need to hire a property management company to collect rents, make repairs and keep the building up to code. It is difficult to be an absentee landlord, and keeping a campus housing property in good repair can be difficult if you are not local. The property manager can be your eyes and ears when you cannot be there in person.
Look at several different properties to find the best deal for your rental property. If you can purchase a property that is already rented, that will lower your costs and give you the cash flow you will need to make a profit right from the start. It is important to calculate your true profit after taxes, mortgage payments, vacancies and other expenses have been taken into account.