Colorado Springs is often considered a military town, and for good reason! But Colorado Springs is also a college town, a fact often overshadowed by the heavy military presence, and is home to at least as many major institutes of higher learning as military bases; Colorado College, UCCS, CTU, PPCC, and the
United States Airforce Academy just to name a few.
These five schools alone have a total undergraduate enrollment of between 30,000 and 35,000, or between 6.5% and 7.5% of the total population of the city! In short, if you are a property manager in Colorado Springs, there is a very good chance you are renting to college students, especially if the properties you manage cater to income levels a student can afford, or are placed in close proximity to an institute of learning.
The things college students want most in a rental are fairly obvious; proximity to campus, walkability and access to public transit, affordability, basic amenities like laundry facilities and WiFi, and safety. Assembling these things in a rental location is a winning combination if it is your goal to attract students. But, should that be your goal? Renting to students definitely has pros and cons.
- High, stable demand for rentals. As long as schools keep accepting students, there will be a market for your unit. Most schools don’t offer four years of housing, which means thousands of students will be on the hunt for a place to live. Additionally, the demand occurs on a predictable yearly schedule.
- Higher rents. Sure, students are looking for affordability, so much so that many choose to live with roommates to split the rent with. However, when you have multiple tenants playing rent on one lease, you can pass along saving to each renter while earning more over all (for example, a three bedroom condo might be rented to a family for $2,000/month, or to three college students for $750 each, or a grand total of $2,250/month).
- Stable third-party payments. It’s likely the student is not the one paying the rent, but rather a parent, guardian, or through financial aid. When a more responsible party is involved, you are more likely to get your rent payment on time and in full.
- Low marketing costs. Proximity to an institute of learning in itself is a huge draw, and you can often post for free on student websites or on campus.
- No upgrades necessary. Students aren’t generally looking for high end accommodation or premium updates in a rental and are more focused on location and amenities. In another part of the city it may be necessary to upgrade appliances, install hardwood floors, and update bathrooms to be competitive, but most students will be satisfied with less if it’s in decent condition and close to campus.
Demand that is strong and growing stronger and renters with limited expectations sounds like a winning combination and is for many property managers around the country. But, as any astute investor would surely note, renting to students is far from a free meal. In the next installment of the Sellstate Alliance Property Management Blog we will discuss the common barriers to profitably renting to college students and how to overcome them. As always, if you have any property management needs or questions, the staff of Sellstate Alliance Property Management would be happy to assist.