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By Duane Duggan, Realtor, RE/MAX of Boulder
Duane Duggan is an award-winning Realtor and author of the book “Realtor for Life.”


Every August, in college towns across America, college students start to return for the fall semester. This always creates a frenzy of real estate activity. The rental market is usually pretty tight in any college town. Because of that, many families consider purchasing a home for their college student to live in while attending school. It usually takes 30 to 60 days to close on a home so NOW is the time to start looking for that perfect place.

This can prove to be a worthwhile investment financially as well as an excellent learning experience for the student. In Boulder, if a parent bought a condo in the 1980s and held on to it for four years, they most likely would have sold it for about what they paid for it. If a parent bought a condo in the 2012 and sold it in four years they most likely would have made enough profit to pay for their child’s in-state tuition at CU-Boulder. In 2019, there is an inventory shortage of available condos and there has been continued upward market pressure on prices. This all makes it tougher to find a place to buy, but history has proven it can be worth the effort.

Owning the property the student lives in while attending college can be beneficial in several ways. The student will have a greater sense of stability in not having to look for a different apartment to live in each year. In addition, you, as a parent, can pick the lifestyle that will help your student succeed in school by choosing the location and the quality of housing that best fits his or her needs. In the past, apartment rents in college towns typically increase on an annual basis. By purchasing a property with a fixed rate mortgage, your student’s housing expenses will be fixed. In addition, your student won’t have to deal with paying security deposits or going through the hassle of getting the deposit back. Having a single place to live in that you own means your student will not have to worry about storing furniture over the summer break. By purchasing a home for the student, you will be providing your child with an excellent learning experience. Your student will learn not only about the process of investing in real estate, but will also learn about the responsibilities that go along with property ownership.

In my own personal situation, I have two sons who attended the CU-Boulder. I bought them each a condo using owner-occupied FHA financing. Each lived in the unit and had a roommate paying rent to help pay the monthly mortgage. At the end of their college careers, they had built up significant real estate equity to utilize in the next phase of their lives.

I have also had clients who have bought real estate for two, three, or more of their children live in while attending college. In some cases, this spanned a 10-year time frame. Rather than throwing money down the “rent drain,” they have built equity in a real estate investment over this period of time.

Here’s a simple worksheet to help you determine the month-to-month expenses for owning a condo or house for your college student while you evaluate if this is the right decision for your family:

In my next article, “Part 2: Now Is the Time to Buy College Housing” I will provide you with a list of items to think about and plan for when deciding whether or not to buy a condo or a house for your college student.

About Duane Duggan:

Duane Duggan has been a Realtor for RE/MAX of Boulder in Colorado since 1982 and has facilitated over 2,500 transactions over his career, the vast majority from repeat and referred clients. He has been awarded two of the highest honors bestowed by RE/MAX International: The Lifetime Achievement Award and the Circle of Legends Award. Living the life of a Realtor and being immersed in real estate led to the inception of his book, Realtor for Life.

For questions, email Duane at, call 303-441-5611, or visit



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