Investing in a college town and buying during school sessions

8 Replies

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all doing well. The reason for this post is I plan to invest in a single-family property as a house hack during my sophomore year in college in Indiana for the next upcoming school year. My big concern is that if I do buy the property, say between October - March, what will I do about the vacancies? I do plan on doing minor renovations so that may take only a month or two but other than that, should I rent the space at a cheaper price for short-term rentals? I would have the reserves (hopefully) to accompany a 6-month vacancy until next school year.  All responses would be appreciated!

Are you planning on renting furnished because unless you are it will be hard to fill those short times. You could try for short term interns to the area or things along those lines but really only makes sense if you are doing a furnished rental. You could do a premium short term for graduation or big event weekends for visiting families.   If there is rental furnishing in the area that is one way to handle , but it is an additional cost. 

You can't hopefully have the reserves for a vacancy you should plan to have the reserves as part of your calculations on the purchase. You can try not to use them but you should have them. 

Originally posted by @Mason Adelman :

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all doing well. The reason for this post is I plan to invest in a single-family property as a house hack during my sophomore year in college in Indiana for the next upcoming school year. My big concern is that if I do buy the property, say between October - March, what will I do about the vacancies? I do plan on doing minor renovations so that may take only a month or two but other than that, should I rent the space at a cheaper price for short-term rentals? I would have the reserves (hopefully) to accompany a 6-month vacancy until next school year.  All responses would be appreciated!

It's a tough time in the cycle for student rentals. I would say the biggest advantage you have (not knowing you or your situation) is that you're a current student. That should help significantly when it comes to marketing.

You're in a good state for rentals. Which college town in Indiana are you operating in? If it's not a hardcore college town (ex: Bloomington) that caters strictly to college students, you can try marketing it as a normal rental. 

I would look into some sort of short term rental. (Normally for game days, but that isn't happening much this year.) Think outside the box like contract nurses, real estate (for someone that has sold their house but their new build won't be ready for 3 months), or air bnb for families visiting during holidays. Also, my friend that does college housing had them sign 2 year leases and required them to find someone for him when they graduated -- prorated over the summer to guarantee their place the next fall.

@Mason Adelman

First off, smart idea to buy a home and rent it by the room. House hacking at your age, you'll be ten steps ahead financially by the time you graduate. 

I actually think you might be okay filling your place. We own a 4br/2ba home in Colorado Springs, a mile east of Colorado College, a private liberal arts college. In late summer, we moved out and listed it for rent to traveling nurses/remote workers, etc. But at the same time, Colorado College shut down in-person classes and we had a flood of interest. Sure, lots of students will do classes from back home, but many will want to stay in the city, even if they're not physically attending classes.

So I'd try to buy in late spring, early summer, do whatever work you need to, furnish it and then list it for rent starting in the fall. I bet you'll be okay. If you're up and running early, then post a room or two on Facebook Marketplace for shorter 1-month, 2-month stays, whatever. There are all sorts of people looking for those medium-term stays. Again, nurses, remote workers, people in transition between housing.

Good luck!

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