How To Find and Invest In Student Housing Properties

Ever wondered how to tap into a reliable source of income that also increases in value over time? 

Look no further than student housing! With a growing student population in the United States (according to [Department of Education], the number of students enrolled in colleges and universities is expected to reach 20.4 million by 2 2026), there’s a constant demand for quality off-campus housing. 

This translates to a potentially lucrative opportunity for investors like you and me.  But before you dive head first, it’s important to understand the student housing market and identify the right properties to invest in.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about finding and investing in student housing properties. 

We’ll cover key considerations, successful strategies, and resources to empower you to make informed decisions. 

So, whether you’re a seasoned investor or just starting your journey, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and confidence to thrive in the student housing market.

Why Should I Invest in Student Housing Properties?

So, you’re considering investing in real estate, and student housing has caught your eye.  Intriguing, right? College towns are bustling with young adults, and there’s a constant need for a place to live.  But is student housing the right move for you? Let me tell you, after diving into the research, it offers some pretty compelling reasons to jump in.

1. Steady Income, Less Drama.

First up, stability. Unlike apartments in the open market, student tenants tend to sign year-long leases.  That means predictable income for me, year after year. Plus, student housing often boasts lower vacancy rates. 

College students are coming and going, but the demand for housing near campus remains constant. Less drama in finding new tenants means less stress for me, which is a win-win.

2. Prime Rental Yields.

Student housing can also be a gold mine when it comes to rent. Here’s the trick – you can often rent out single units to multiple students. Each bedroom becomes a potential income stream.

This can lead to higher rental yields compared to traditional single-family rentals. Plus, with student loan burdens ever-increasing, many parents act as co-signers on the lease, adding an extra layer of security for rent payments.

3. Think Long-Term Appreciation.

Let’s not forget about the potential for property value appreciation. College towns are hubs for young professionals too.  As these students graduate and establish careers, the demand for housing in the area is likely to stay strong. This bodes well for the long-term value of my investment.

4. Lower Maintenance Costs (Maybe).

Now, full disclosure, student housing isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There can be wear and tear on the property.  However, students are generally less demanding than families with young children or pets.  Think minor repairs versus major renovations. Plus, with a year-long lease, I have a chance to address any issues before the next school year rolls around.

5. Not Without Its Challenges.

Of course, there are challenges to consider. Managing student tenants can require a bit more hand-holding.  They might be new to living independently and may need more guidance on things like noise complaints or proper maintenance.  But hey, there are property management companies that specialize in student housing, so I don’t necessarily have to go it alone.

How Do I Find and Invest In Student Housing Properties?

Ever since I house-hacked my way through college (living with roommates to split the rent), I’ve been fascinated by the world of student housing.  It seems like a win-win: steady income, young and vibrant tenants (hopefully!), and a chance to contribute to a bustling college town. 

But how do you find and invest in these properties? Buckle up, because I’m here to share what I’ve learned about venturing into the world of student rentals.

1. Location, Location, Location (and a Little More Location).

This might sound obvious, but trust me, it’s everything. Ideally, you want a property within walking distance (or a short shuttle ride) of a college campus.  Look for areas with a healthy mix of on-campus and off-campus housing, which indicates a strong student-renter demand. Don’t forget to consider the type of college too. 

Big universities will have a larger pool of potential tenants, while smaller colleges might have a more specific niche, like art schools or tech institutes.  Research the college’s enrollment trends – a growing student body bodes well for your vacancy rates.

2. The Property Itself: Think Student-Friendly.

When it comes to the property itself, think “student lifestyle.” Single-family homes with multiple bedrooms are a classic choice. You can potentially rent out rooms individually or by the whole house. 

Apartments near campus also do well, especially if they offer in-unit laundry and amenities like a pool or fitness centre (trust me, laundry becomes a group activity in student housing!).

3. Do Your Research and Know Your Numbers.

Before you jump in, crunch some numbers. Look at comparable rentals in the area to understand fair market rent.  Factor in property taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, and – this is crucial – potential vacancy periods.  Student housing often follows a seasonal rhythm, with higher vacancy rates during the summer. Make sure your finances can handle those dips in income.

4. Consider Partnering Up: Property Management for the Win.

Student renters can be a lively bunch, and managing multiple tenants can be a time commitment.  Unless you’re a superhero of an organization, consider hiring a property management company. 

They can handle everything from tenant screening and rent collection to maintenance issues and lease agreements.  This frees you up to focus on the bigger picture, like growing your student housing portfolio.

5. The Investment Journey: It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint.

Investing in student housing is a long-term game. Be prepared to hold onto your property for several years to truly reap the benefits.  The good news? With steady demand and the right property, student housing can be a great way to build wealth and create a passive income stream.


Remember, this is just the first step! There’s always more to learn, so don’t hesitate to connect with experienced student housing investors, talk to real estate agents specializing in college towns, and soak up all the knowledge you can. 

With a little research, the right property, and a strategic approach, you could be well on your way to becoming a student housing mogul (or at least a comfortable property owner).

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