How to Get Started in Real Estate Investing as a College Student (or Recent Grad)

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Real estate investing has become more popular over the years, with people from all stages of life getting involved. From the middle aged person with a day job looking to diversify their wealth building or the retired professional looking to get into something new to the college student looking for a different path, all have their motivations to hop into real estate investing.

College students (or those just out of college) face a certain set of obstacles that can be difficult to navigate. They may be limited in cash as many others just getting started are, and they may not have established credit. It may also be hard to get others to take them seriously due to their youth.

Related: How to Start Investing In Real Estate at a Young Age (or a “Young at Heart” Age)

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How to Get Started in Real Estate Investing as a College Student

In today’s video, I talk about how college students can get into the game and even leverage some of their assets to get ahead.

I would love to hear from those of you out there that got started in real estate while in college or at a young age.

Share your experiences and stories below so we can get a good conversation going!

About Author

Matt Faircloth

In 2005, Matt founded The DeRosa Group along with his wife, Elizabeth. At the time, the two person company owned and managed two assets – a single family home and a duplex. Over the last nine years, they have grown the company to a 12 person team owning and managing over five million dollars in residential and commercial assets throughout the central NJ and Philadelphia area. One of DeRosa’s mantras is “to make money while making a difference.”

17 Comments

  1. Eric Zdanowski

    Excellent video Matt. Succinct, strait forward and cuts through the clutter of all the different niches out there for college students just starting out.

    Recent grad myself looking at the same strategies. As a a former student of a college town you have a huge information advantage over outside investors in terms of knowing your target market. Use it.

    Also like Pat Hiban mentioned on the BP Podcast 190, college rentals are unique in that you can often rent them out by the room, which in some cases can mean bringing in higher than market rent. And in the rural college town I’m from where you can pick up properties for relatively cheap, that means great cashflow potential.

    • Matt Faircloth

      Hey Eric,
      Thanks! College students actually have a major advantage over other investors with respect to knowledge of the collegiate environment and what students are looking for. Use that into to your benefit!
      I listened to Pat’s podcast also and think he was spot on. I know several investors that rent by the room like that also. The only thing to figure out is how the utilities will be paid. Some landlords include everything and charge more rent ( as you would see in a dormitory), others expect the tenants to pay and break it up themselves which can be dicey if it’s something that can convert to a Lien like water bills.

  2. Adam Bontrager

    My goal for a while now has been to purchase my first house before I can legally buy a drink. 🙂 I’m very excited to say that I will be closing on my first investment property around mid-October. The property will be in move-in ready condition upon closing and there is a tenant in the upstairs unit that will cover the mortgage and then some while I occupy the bottom unit.

    Although I’ve participated in some real estate deals as a passive investor in the past, I’m excited to actually be purchasing my very own property. I’m really excited to begin growing my portfolio of real estate investments in the future.

  3. Josh Justiniano

    Great video. Got started at 23… I was still in college (and still am now at age 26 ?). I started with calling other investors and wholesaling/flipping, then used that money to partner and purchase some rentals. We’re up to 6 single family homes, 2 triplexes and a duplex in California. Great way to get your feet wet, but it’s a lot of work. It’s not for people who are not fully committed. It takes time and money, so it’s certainly not for everyone.

    I think making sure you’re committed is number 1, if you’re committed to it everything else falls into place.

    • Matt Faircloth

      Hi Josh,
      Sounds like you are on the “extended” plan for college, LOL. I was too. I should probably have a PhD for the time I spent 🙂
      That’s a great path you choose – do some deals to make a few chunks of cash, then invest those chunks into rentals, and repeat!
      Question – what’s next for you when you graduate? Looking to do it full time?
      Matt

  4. Aaron Zackoski

    Thank you, Matt, for outlining entry options. I’m a recent graduate with the goal of owning a rental property with as little hassle possible until able to obtain additional properties that would support a transition to full time REI. Can anyone speak to whether they found having a third party manage the rental property worth the fees?

    • Matt Faircloth

      Hey Aaron,
      Thanks for the comment. There are plenty of property management companies out there, and most geographical areas have at least one that will take good care of you. I would look to your local REIA club or Google the target area and start interviewing them. That being said I also think you should consider doing it yourself up front. I recommend that all new investors do the management themselves for the first 6 to 12 months, so that they get a feel for what a manager does. This will make you knowledgeable when you go to hire someone – you know what needs to be done and what a good job and a bad one looks like, because you did it yourself!
      I hope that helps!
      Matt

  5. Informative, short and worthwhile video, thank you. I sent it to my college freshman son.
    My husband purchased his first townhouse at 20 by saving all his working money from the age of 13 and his parents as cosigners. Nine years later after selling the townhouse, building our SFH, paying off the mortgage then using that equity we became landlords. Nine more years later we now have 4 investment properties owning them free and clear.

    Our son is following dad’s footsteps with our help. He is a saver like his dad and he paid a down payment and all closing costs for a condo. We took money out of an investment property, took the mortgage out in our name with him on the deed. Then off to college he went as a business major.

    Some things I’ve learned is to let your money work for you. Don’t let it sit.
    To get started both husband and son did the old fashioned thing, saved their money.but now with wholesaling that’s not necessary.

    Matt, these three tips are great…hoping my son runs with them. Thank you.

    • Matt Faircloth

      Hey Traci,
      It sounds like you and your husband are great role models! Congrats on encouraging your son to get moving early in this business. You are giving him a great gift, the gift of time. Had I gotten started after college versus 10 years after, I would have had that time on my side to build my wealth. I hope your son follows your footsteps!
      And great tip on letting money stay stagnant. I find that money works well when it has “velocity” and is allowed to flow. Some have said that’s why they call it Currency, like a current of flowing water!
      Best of luck!
      Matt

  6. Reina Kapica

    I loved this video. I am a current college student and I’m about ready to buy my first house. I am planning to do “Option #1”. Option #2 also interested me. I like looking at numbers and analyzing properties (which I am currently doing to choose the home I want to buy). How would I find out who the “major” investors are in a particular area?

    • Matt Faircloth

      Hi Reina,
      The clerk’s office for your local municipality is the place to start. They may have property owner’s information online or you A few strategies – if you are looking to get connected to the multi family owners in your area, make a list of the mid sized apartment complexes in your town and look up the owners. If you are looking to go with Option 2 you want to get connected to the single family home owners so you will need to surf the entire public record and look for recurring names – people that own more than 3 or 4 addresses in town. They may own them as an LLC but odds are it’s the same LLC for all of them and if it’s not it will have the same mailing address. I hope that helps!
      Matt

  7. Jonathan Walker

    Hi Matt, I’m currently a senior in high school, and my friend and I are getting into the real estate game full time starting this summer. Some people (especially my close family) suggest I go to college and at least get a business major. However, this is seriously my dream, and I just want to get straight into it – starting with a house-hack from my savings thus far, then quickly making my way into flipping to make cash both for my full-time income as well as to buy more rental properties. Basically I want to grow my portfolio of rentals until I am making around 8k a month strictly from rentals, then start using that as my income and flipping to buy more property. My goal is to achieve all of this within 5 years. What are your thoughts?

    • Matt Faircloth

      Hey Jonathan,
      I would suggest you at least look to get a 2 year associates degree, and consider going for the full 4 year. Major in business and take lots of accounting and marketing classes, and one class in architecture if you can. You can still get your investing going while you are in school. I use what I learned in accounting class to this day. You need to learn how to read the numbers in this business. Tha marketing and architecture will help you design and sell product as you grow. I know it’s tempting to jump right in, and it sounds like you are passionate about this business. That being said, you can always fall back on your degree to get a day job while you grow your business. They can never take that degree away from you once you have it, and it’s very hard to set aside the time to go back and get later in life. I know that’s probably not the answer you want to hear, but I hope you hear what I’m saying. Keep that aggressive “can do” attitude, it will take you far in life! If you want to talk more shoot me a PM.
      Matt

  8. Jerrika Anderson

    Hello Matt,
    I am a recently graduate looking to get into real estate on the side. I hope to start out in real estate by utilizing option one and option 2. I do have several questions that I would love your input on. I apologize in advance for asking so many of them.

    What are some methods one can use to find deals?
    When using option 1, are you the one responsible for the repairs and maintenance?
    What method, other than a traditional bank loan, should I consider being that it is unlikely that I will have capital or a co-signer?
    What additional information should I seek out in order to learn more about wholesaling?
    What is the best way to find a mentor?

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