and board costs by buying house
Freshman restrictions: Some
schools don't allow students to live off campus their first year, although housing
shortages may spawn school-sanctioned exceptions. Parental ownership of property
in town might also get the restriction waived. Call the university before making
a housing decision. Also, consider that your freshman child may find it tougher
to adjust to college life while dealing with housing issues.
equity equation: Weigh the annual cost of a dorm or apartment in the targeted
town versus yearly mortgage and insurance payments and upkeep expenses on a home
you might buy. For that home's investment potential, consider the quality of neighborhood
and recent annual appraisal trend. And remember, there is no equity in apartment
or dorm rentals.
of scale: The profit potential is greater if your family has one or more
other kids coming down the college pipeline who are separated in age by only a
handful of years and could share the house, says Coldwell Banker spokesman Chris
To sublease or
not to sublease: You can rent out spare bedrooms to other students, but
make sure they provide references. "He's a really good guy" might seem
an ample endorsement in your child's mind, but maybe not on your bottom line.
maintenance: "You would expect your own children would take care of
your place," says John Moss, a broker with Keller Williams in Dallas. But
will they? A lawnmower, edger and other equipment will be needed. Depending on
climate and complexity of landscaping and your kid's school and work schedules,
a lawn service might work better.
the kid cook? Cooking at home will cut costs, but if your student always
eats out, there are still ways to economize. University meal plans, for example,
are usually available to off-campus students.
and appliances: If you don't have family furnishings to spare, arrive a
few weeks before school starts and hit some summer garage or estate sales. You
might time this visit to coincide with roommate interviews. As for appliances,
the more built-ins, the better.
Locate too far from campus and transportation costs begin to weigh negatively
on the big picture. Ideally, homes not in walking distance to campus should be
near a bus or rail line. If you have to throw a car into the expenses, its payments,
parking and insurance can skew your cost basis.
paying: If your child is an economics or business major, he or she can
probably be relied upon to make a timely house payment and utility payment to
maintain your fine credit record. But the pitfalls of "probably" may
be worse than the old "assume."