Student housing is a form of accommodation that university or college students can choose as an alternative to on-campus housing. Typically, student housing can be found in close proximity to the college campus or it can be found in parts of a city that is known to offer affordable housing.
Often, there is an assumption that student housing is offered through homes that are falling apart, that are either crammed or are luxurious and unaffordable. The reality is, student housing can be whatever the investor chooses it to be, but the key thing that differentiates it from other housing is that it caters and targets students specifically.
On-Campus Housing vs. Off-Campus Hosing
When it comes to determining on-campus housing and off-campus housing, there are factors that should be considered, especially if you are considering investing in a property for your real estate portfolio.
When it comes to off-campus student housing, it is a great way to provide more privacy and more independence for the scholar. Oftentimes as well, this choice of a housing alternative is because they have experienced on-campus housing and want to now live a less college or resident life.
Having attractive off-campus apartments means catering to both those either in their first year or in their later years.
On the other hand, with on-campus, there is little to no risk for the students. Their dorm is close to everything, they are able to get support on campus, they can walk to class, what more would a college student want? On-campus dorms are perfect for anyone looking for a housing option that is easy and no fuss to them or their wallets.
Benefits of Off-Campus Housing?
Owning a rental property that caters to off-campus housing, or rather student residents can be a lucrative field to get into.
Firstly, most college towns offer a form of student housing, some are affiliated with the college while others are not. These student apartments that are privately owned and operated, typically cater to those who are pursuing higher education, for example, their Masters or Doctorate. The number one reason for them to choose this form of housing is because it provides an escape from the typically chaotic and frenzied dorm life.
They can focus on their studies and not be distracted.
As a homeowner or company looking to provide housing options to students, off-campus housing is a great choice. This is especially true if you own an apartment that features multiple dorms. Each unit or apartment could have multiple renters or a single renter occupancy.
Students today want more freedom and one of the best ways of achieving this is through rental apartments.
What to Consider in Housing for College Students
When it comes to offering housing options to students, especially an apartment, there are a few things one should consider. These are the top three factors one looking to provide off-campus housing options.
When a student makes the choice to sign a lease for renting off-campus, they want to make sure that the space they are renting offers an array of amenities that are going to suit their needs.
The number one reason that amenities are important to a student renting in a house or apartment off-campus is that, if they were to choose to live on-campus, they would have the resources and support they need right outside their door. Whereas, student housing or non-student residents would have to deal with matters on their own, without the input of the school.
As someone looking to provide student housing, you want to make sure that your rent entices the student. You want to include in the lease the added features of your apartment because the student wants to feel that they are getting what they pay for.
In order for a student to consider your accommodation, and to be competitive with most markets that cater to student housing, you can ensure the following:
Though there is a notion that students eat out more often than they cook, having the space and the proper equipment to cook or prepare meals can be appealing because most university dorms do not offer such a luxury.
Sense of Community
Despite students wanting to live off-campus, they don't want to be so far away from their universities that they miss out on the college life experience. Invest in student housing that is close to colleges and universities, as this can provide that feeling of community.
Students who choose to live off-campus may have never lived away from comforts before; therefore, establishing and demonstrating a sense of security and easy access to the school, stores, and yourself, as the landlord can be a comfort. Students want to know that they can call their landlord and have them on-site if there is an emergency.
Furnished vs. Non-Furnished
There is no denying that there is a demand for international students who are looking to get a foreign education, and because of this, they may make a great candidate for your property. Nonetheless though, determining whether you offer furnished or non-furnished accommodation may be a deal-breaker for some students.
This is because they may not have the resources or means to furnish their place and want a residence that has everything they need. If you are going to furnish the accommodation, make sure to factor in any potential damage and use it through a security deposit.
Many colleges offer some form of a housing community, the community can be off or on campus. As these are accommodations that are found off-campus, they don't provide students with a meal plan which is often provided to on-campus housing.
It is for this reason that location is an important factor to consider when looking to invest in off-campus housing. Student housing should be close to the campus, at least enough so that they can either walk or easily take public transportation. Most colleges are on a major transit route; therefore, it is important that when you start looking at the real estate market you find one that is easily accessible.
Students determining whether or not to rent a property are going to look at the location. They are going to see whether or not it is worth it to embark on off-campus student housing or to choose to live within the campus confines.
One way of determining where your rental property lies or if it is going to draw in renters is to pay attention to rent boards. These are typically posted around traditional residence halls within universities and they provide a listing of houses and apartments close by.
Next to proximity, student renters are going to be looking at the cost of living off-campus in apartments or houses. They may decide only by looking at the price and not how far or close the place is to the school.
As a landlord and investor, it is important to consider pricing your place competitive enough that it draws in students to want to pay rent and live off-site rather than on the schools' grounds. You want to create appeal and demand by highlighting the cost-saving benefits of living somewhere that offers all the amenities of living within the school grounds and dorms.
These are just a few factors that, as an investor, you should consider when looking to rent to students. It isn't necessary to have all of these bases covered; however, it is important to consider how and what your accommodation can offer versus that what they can get living within the confines of their school.
Living on school grounds can be enticing to some, but it also comes with a price; therefore, make sure you can compete, if not provide similar perks.
Why Invest in Student Housing?
Student housing is a market that appeals to anyone looking to avoid the dorm living experience, which in turn works out perfectly for anyone who has the means to invest in student apartments. Compared to regular housing markets, with the student housing market, there is always a consistent flow of renters looking for places to rent during the school year and even into the summer months.
This means that no matter what, as an investor, there is always a lease in play. Renting an apartment to students with the right amenities can be very profitable.
If you are concerned about the potential damages or issues that come with renting to students who may have never lived on their own before, make sure to factor that into your security deposit. Furthermore, not only should you factor a dollar amount in the lease, but indicate what that security deposit covers.
Students can either be easy to handle renters, or they can be difficult; therefore, make sure you specify and clearly indicate the terms of their rent on the lease.
Invest in a Large Market Population
Are you looking at buying at a new development site that is a distance from a university? Make sure to look at how your housing choice could impact residents in the development but also your relationship with them too. One cannot control their renters' behaviors, especially if they are students. If you want to mitigate this, especially with your neighbors, provide them with a way to contact you.
Living in a town with schools, whether it's a university or college offers great financial benefits. As an investor, this is a great way to grow and diversify your portfolio, it is also a great way to determine whether or not want to rent to students or families.
Unsure if student housing is the investment approach you want? Consider looking up resources that further detail the pros and cons of renting to this specific market. There are ample educational resources for those looking to take on student housing as an investment.