Author Topic: College Town  (Read 3398 times)

avonlea

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College Town
« on: April 25, 2013, 10:34:37 AM »
Half of my town's population consists of university students.  It seems like investing in a rental property would make a lot of sense.  Based on what I've heard from other locals, owners generally have no trouble finding renters for their properties.

But college students as tenants...that makes me a little nervous (especially since we would be first-time landlords).  Anybody have experience in this realm?  Or know of some resources where I could get info? 

Thanks!



Kriegsspiel

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Re: College Town
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2013, 11:11:26 AM »
I have experience as a college student renter.

Another Reader

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Re: College Town
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2013, 11:12:01 AM »
I own properties in a university town and students generally don't meet our rental criteria.  That's just fine with me, as I have seen a number of disasters with student tenants.  I also do not accept cosigners in situations where the rental criteria are not met, as parents are very good at making excuses for the bad behavior of their kids.

On the other hand, graduate students with fellowships and one working partner have been a successful combination in several properties.

totoro

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Re: College Town
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2013, 11:21:21 AM »
We live in a university town and rent to students.  They have been great for us.  We have three living above us (yes, above us) right now.  Three girls that are quiet and respectful and plan to stay through next year too.  We have another in our other rental unit - a triathalete who does not drink or smoke and is studying to be an accountant.

It is not luck to get good students, it is checking references carefully and meeting them in advance.  It is having clear written agreements. 

We provided extras that they needed like furniture and things they wanted like garden space.   People appreciate it if you give more than expected.

University students can be great, especially when their parents pay the rent :)


Russ

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Re: College Town
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2013, 11:42:01 AM »
I'm just about to finish undergrad and have been living off-campus the past 2 years. My insight FWIW:

Charge a little under market and you'll have the pick of the litter. Ask for references, grades, etc. on your application so you have a basis to reject bad applicants on besides your gut. If you go by gut alone you could be accused of discrimination. Once you have a good reputation, people will come to you and you can charge a little more. There's not much luck involved.

Grad students and foreign kids tend to be tamer than your average undergrad. Maybe you could target them specifically. Visiting professors often need a place to stay as well; if you could carve out a niche for yourself there that sounds like the safest bet as far as having a respectful tenant.


totoro

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Re: College Town
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2013, 11:51:38 AM »
You can't ask for grades in Canada.

Furnished places rent well to students and it is affordable to furnish very well with craigslist finds.  I agree grad students and ESL students often make good tenants.  Visiting profs if your place is higher end.


Paul der Krake

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Re: College Town
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2013, 12:02:12 PM »
Grad students and foreign kids tend to be tamer than your average undergrad. Maybe you could target them specifically. Visiting professors often need a place to stay as well; if you could carve out a niche for yourself there that sounds like the safest bet as far as having a respectful tenant.
Foreigner living in a college town here (renting with roommates). Basically in order to enter the US on a student visa you need to prove to the US government that you have enough funds to support yourself. The odds of a foreign student running out of money halfway through the semester are therefore much much lower. They are also a lot less likely to get in trouble for any reason because should anything happen (even stupid crap like getting caught for underrage drinking) will likely involve sending reports and forms to the immigration authorities and it will be a major PITA for them. You just need to be flexible, some of them won't have SSNs and you can't background check them. I actually pull that trick even though I do have an SSN just because I don't feel like giving it away to someone ho might not keeping safe. I don't look like a stoner and can speak with a sexy foreign accent when needed so it's never been an issue.

If you have a lot of demands you can just pretend like you're only meeting with everyone in case somebody else pulls out at the last minute and then pick the best applicant with good old gut feeling- good luck to them proving anything.

tl;dr: find 3 shy female students from Asia. They're the tenant equivalent of treasury bills.

avonlea

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Re: College Town
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2013, 02:04:51 PM »
Thank you, everybody!  This is great advice.  I knew I could count on this forum's members for some keen insight. :)

I appreciate hearing from both sides, renters and owners.  If we do decide to purchase an investment property, we will definitely want to lure good potential tenants and keep them happy, too.

jennipurrr

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Re: College Town
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2013, 11:21:27 AM »
I own three rental properties in a college town.  I have had mixed experiences with student tenants.  The worst one did have a consignor, and dad payed up thankfully. 

I've had good and bad experiences with foreign students so now I make sure they understand the level of cleanliness and what condition the place is supposed to be in when they vacate.  I have never had trouble with them paying.  My foreign students have used either proven income from the university (assistantships, etc) or from their home government (I believe Saudi Arabia funds all their students).

I've converted two of my rentals to furnished where I rent them during the fall short term, which is sort of a unique market here.  Then I try to fill in the other months with co-op or grad students who are only here for a semester or two more.  I have been really picky since we went to furnished...it is furnished with nicer than average stuff for the short term renters, so I definitely would rather have the place go unrented in the off season than have rowdy undergrads destroy the furnishings.