Student Rental: 4 Bds w/ large living or 5 bds w/ small living?

7 Replies

Hello,

My husband and I are newbie investors closing on our first duplex (woot, woot!) on Tuesday. The property is in a college town of Oberlin, Ohio and only blocks from campus. We are struggling with determining the layout of the upstairs unit that would allow us to optimize rental income without jeopardizing too many college students with a very small living room. We are looking for advise on how to balance this.

Currently, the second unit is listed as a 3 bd, 1 bth (rented to students per room). The untapped potential here is the addition of 1-2 more bedrooms.

We have the option of converting the current living room (225 sq feet) into a bedroom and adding a bedroom in the attic. The downfall for this option is the students would lose the large living room (225 sq feet) on their main floor and have a smaller living space (156 sq feet) on the second floor (attic).

Option A: Keep three bedrooms on the second floor with a larger living room; and turn the attic into a suite for a total of 4 bedrooms with larger living room. OR

Option B: Make into a 5 bedroom with a smaller living space on the second floor; total of 5 bedrooms.

There is very little data on college rental preferences and we want to make the best of our first property!

Thanks for any advice or thoughts –

Emily

More bedrooms and small living space. A large living space invites parties and trouble.

Five bedrooms and only one bathroom? That doesn't sound very appealing. Then again, I lived in worse when I was starting out.

@Emily Paul As a recent college graduate, it is sometimes harder to find 5 people that want to live together as compared to a group of 4. (This will depend on the college though). Even though it’s rented by room if you get 4 friends and 1 outsider, they may not get along which could cause you some headache. Just food for thought!

Have you approach your building inspector and checked with local housing regulations (number of unrelated residence) first. First confirm viability. If it's allowed more tenants is better but balance that with the costs of build...added HVAC, electrical, eggress etc.

Thank you all for the responses!  

@Nathan G. - We were thinking the same thing with the smaller living space = smaller parties. Definitely something to keep in mind.  

@Thomas S. - great idea reaching out to the building inspector.  I've asked about occupancy rate but wasn't able to get a solid answer.  Maybe this is the better way to approach the subject.  

@Stephanie P. - I agree bedrooms = money, but where is the line about comfort?  Or is that less important for the college demographics? 

Originally posted by @Emily Paul :

Thank you all for the responses!  

@Nathan G. - We were thinking the same thing with the smaller living space = smaller parties. Definitely something to keep in mind.  

@Thomas S. - great idea reaching out to the building inspector.  I've asked about occupancy rate but wasn't able to get a solid answer.  Maybe this is the better way to approach the subject.  

@Stephanie Potter - I agree bedrooms = money, but where is the line about comfort?  Or is that less important for the college demographics? 

 We have a client in Kent that rents bedrooms in townhouses to students.  We've done loans for him for the past two years and he is regularly converting floorplans to maximize the number of beds he can put in a house.  He's had a waiting list for the last 10 years and always looking for more doors.  They are ultra profitable.    I'm just saying he has a model that truly works.  One of the other posters mentioned if they want a public space to relax, they can go to campus or if they need some privacy, they can go to their own room.