Renting to students in college or university is a highly competitive but lucrative industry.
If there is higher education campus nearby, you will surely find a large student population. Wherever there are students you will also find a large number of rental agencies and hundreds of independent landlords targeting them. When your property is competing against thousands of others, how can you make sure it stands out?
Consider Using a Property Manager
A property management company can help your property be more visible to potential tenants. As experts in the local market they should have a good awareness of the competition and the common requirements of the local student population. They should also be able to use this knowledge to market your property using the most appropriate unique selling points (USPs).
Property Managers will take on your stress, for a fee.
Many landlords are reluctant to hire property managers, and let go of a slice of their rental income, but it can be a relief to have someone else dealing with inquiries viewings and working hard to guarantee a return on your investment. Property Managers will take on your stress, for a fee. Further, they often have better connections to maintenance companies. Using a property manager can also net you cheaper deals with maintenance contractors because they have more influence and power to wield with a portfolio of properties.
In the United States and the UK, there are hundreds of Property Managers to choose from.
Top 5 Amenities for Students
Of course, no matter how good those representing you are, if your property is not up to par you may not achieve the rental yield or occupancy rates you’re hoping for. Here’s four of the most important things to consider when selecting and furnishing a property that you hope to rent to students.
1. Great Location
Students don’t just look for properties near their college or university – they also want to be near supermarkets, pubs/bars, coffee shops, restaurants, sports clubs and other student hangouts. Further, many students do not have a vehicle of their own.
With this in mind, a well-placed property on a public transport route that provides easy access to the above locations may attract more interest compared to a property on the doorstep of an educational establishment. Similarly, if your property is across the street from the University’s Athletic Facility, then you will probably attract many college athletes.
2. Affordable Rent (per person)
Affordability is almost as important as location. Many students don’t have much money. However, most students have housing allowances – which can provide for consistent rental payments. Often, if a student does not fully exhaust the monthly housing allowance, they can use that extra money for miscellaneous spending.
Many students will opt to share a bedroom to keep their portion of rent as small as possible. This doesn’t mean that you will have to lower the price of the entire property, but rather that you should be open to having additional tenants in the house. Often times, it only takes 1-2 extra tenants to provide a significant boost in rental income without causing much extra wear and tear on the property. Be sure to know the local ordinances regarding the number of people your property can legally hold.
3. Functional Layout: Privacy & Common Areas
The physical layout of a flat or house is of considerable importance in student properties. Many students who choose to live in larger groups, prefer to maintain some degree of privacy – which is completely understandable. Properties with multiple bathrooms and separate suites are more appealing. In addition, it’s important to have a well-maintained communal room for housemates to gather in – such as a large living room or recreation room/basement.
4. Quality Fixtures & Furnishings
Unfortunately shabby chic doesn’t cut it with a lot of students nowadays. Many are looking for accommodations with a higher quality finish and with this in mind; decoration should be simple, modern and easy to clean – just in case they do fit the slovenly stereotype after all.
Furniture and fixture considerations should go beyond installing the standard bed, wardrobe and desks in rooms. Consider whether you will provide kitchen gadgets, utensils and crockery. You will need to decide if you will provide cable TV and Wi-Fi or just have it “ready” for the tenants to choose their own service.
It’s also wise to consider installing attractive extras like large fridges and flatscreen TVs. These types of appliances are far more commonly found in student accommodations now, particularly when properties are offered with all-inclusive rent deals. Installing these little extras don’t need to cost you a huge amount of money but it could significantly impact the amount of rent a property can command on a monthly basis. Besides, if they destroy your stainless steel fridge, you can withhold their deposit to pay for a new one.
If you are looking for a short-term furniture rental program, CORT has some great furniture and is easy to schedule.
5. Laundry Facilities
Students want (and expect) to be able to have on-site laundry facilities. For a group house, this can simply be a washer and dryer in the building. For a multi-family apartment building, you should consider having at least have 2-3 washers and dryers that all the apartments can share in a common space. If you force your tenants to do laundry at a laundry mat, or a friend’s house, you won’t have any tenants. They will simply rent somewhere else.
Renting to students has always been a mixed affair. Some landlords consider students to be a slightly risky group who may not care for their properties as carefully as young professionals or families might. Others recognize that students can be a good group to target for reasons of financial consistency. As previously mentioned, students are usually comfortable sharing a room with another person, and therefore allowing you to maximize the number of tenants and rental income that your property can process.
Thanks to student loans, students should, in theory, always have the means to pay the rent. Provided you carry out the usual screening process and collect deposits, students can be a very beneficial target customer group indeed. And, contrary to being awkward tenants who leave a mess, there are many students who are clean and responsible, and would be a good match for your well-cared for accommodation.