Buy That Kid a House!

By: Carolyn Gjerde Tu

Children have a way of bringing out the best in their parents: drawing out their instincts to provide, to hunt and gather, to educate and guide. Parents want their children to be healthy. They want them to be safe and warm. They want to give them the world. But what about real estate? Is buying a child a house going to far?

Actually, when your child's ready to head head off to university or college, buying a house for them to live in during their studies goes beyond providing them with a safe place to live. It can also be a rewarding investment in your future. If you're committed to helping your college bound children make their way through university, you're probably aware of the fact that rent often out paces all other expenses. Many parents encourage their children to stay home and commute in order to cut costs. But if you live in Minnesota and little Johnny just got the top university for his field of study...in California, you have to get creative.

There are a multitude of ways to make buying a second home like this work. One of the more obvious of these is to buy a house with multiple rooms and rent out the extra rooms to other students to cover the cost of the mortgage. The result? You know that your child isn't living in squalor while they attend classes and you either break-even or make a profit on the rent. When your child graduates, you can continue to rent the property out to students, get a property management company to handle the details, sell the property altogether, or officially hand the house over to your son or daughter.

Of course, it will be important to check out the current rental market before you make an investment of this type. Buying in a good location is always a good idea. If the market you choose is good, your investment will pay off. One of the clearest benefits of buying investment property near a university or college is that you're practically guaranteed a strong rental market and a steady influx of studious renters all year round. You're also looking at a good real estate market in the long run. University towns tend to be more expensive and the area immediately surrounding a university will be more pricey than the academic suburbs. There's good reason for this though. Limited supply and high demand drive prices up and keep them going up. So unless you have a reason to believe that post-secondary enrollment will be dropping someday soon, investing in university town real estate is a pretty safe bet.

With the help of the Internet and a really good REALTOR you can do the majority of your house-hunt from your living room these days. Make sure the real estate agent you choose is a buyer's agent who will have your best interests in mind. When you find a few homes that look like the one, you can take a road trip with your college-bound child and combine property viewing with checking out the new town.

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