College Apartments vs Family Apartments

3 Replies

I have been looking at buying a 30 unit college apartment. Each unit is 3 bedrooms housing 6 college students for a total of 180 college students.  Has anyone looked at the advantage/disadvantage of buying an apartment building that caters just to college students?  What are the pros and cons vs a more traditional apartment complex.  

@Jodi Rhoades I can tell you from a property management stand point its difficult to turn all the apartments with only a few months of summer to do so and they can really wreck an apartment. On the investor side the money is better with college students because you can rent per room instead of per apartment and have the parents guarantor for any damages. You can usually collect 1st and last month deposit as well because the kids do not have credit. 

We own student housing and traditional apartments. The student housing generally does make more money, and it was pretty bullet proof during the 2008 recession. However, there are a few things you need to account for, the summer months will not be as profitable, plan on an 80% turnover twice a year, and students are young and sometimes do stupid things. Just plan for it, and make sure you have a competent maintenance and repair person.

To expand on what @Janell Bryan said, it does depend on the idiosyncrasies of your market, as well. Our students are generally on board for two to three years (two if they have done the fraternity/sorority stuff, three if not), and we do 12 month leases so Summers are not down time as far as income is concerned, but the properties are usually more or less empty for those months so less wear and tear and lower utilities.

So, bottom line, as with any other type of real estate investment, research your local market to see what the trends are.