University of Alabama Housing- The Life In Alabama Series covers for students at the University of Alabama. I'll post later to talk about GameDay Housing for football games. In fact, I have another blog dedicated to those two topics at www.uagamedayhouse.com
University of Alabama Housing Facts
UA has enough on-campus housing for 7,700 students. But more than 75 percent of its 31,747 students live off campus. (Source: Tuscaloosa News, January 15, 2012). At this publishing, residential condos and homes in Tuscaloosa AL and residential homes within two miles of the University of Alabama range in price from $24,000 to $775,000. Rentals listed in the Tuscaloosa MLS start at $1,350 for a three-bedroom home.
For this post, I am assuming that you want to look at buying over renting. Maybe you have multiple children who will come to the University of Alabama. Every parent that I know with multiple children who attended the same school wishes they had bought. Maybe you are a graduate student who has a family and will live in Tuscaloosa after graduation. Maybe you are looking for a place to retire in West Alabama once those kids have started fabulous careers after college at The University of Alabama. Why not be in walking distance of Bryant-Denney Stadium? Maybe you are hoping for highly reduced rent or at least a break-even situation for your child's college housing. That is a smart financial idea.
First, let's talk about your student. Financial worksheets can make all the sense in the world, but is your child ready to be a landlord and a good neighbor? It is absolutely okay if they are not, but think about what kind of
responsibility you are asking your child to handle. There are property management companies who can help handle property management. Capital Real Estate, my brokerage affiliation, is one of them. That is an additional expense, but it can be worth it. Does your college student at Alabama know what to do if the pipes burst or how to keep them from doing so?
Second, let's talk about numbers. Assuming a student lives in the Tuscaloosa home for three years and has roommates paying rent, you can probably break even. Historically, as in before the housing boom, seven years has been the point where a homeowner develops enough equity to make a significant profit. However, we have some rent cushion in this college housing scenario. If your child will not stay in Tuscaloosa during the summers, there are opportunities to find renters for short term summer leases.
Third, let's talk about financing for your Tuscaloosa Real Estate and University of Alabama housing. You can pay all cash. I do not recommend dipping into your retirement savings. I do recommend consulting your tax accountant to see if you should incorporate or have your child purchase the home with you as a co-signer. If your child is receiving scholarships or financial aid, you may be able to use some money towards housing. Talk to the loan officer in the Financial Aid Office at The University of Alabama. I have a previous post that talked about Kiddie Condo FHA Loans. Some of the highlights are that there is a low 3.5% downpayment, parents can co-sign at a homeowner (not investor) interest rate, and your child builds a positive credit hisotry. Note that in Tuscaloosa, condominiums must meet a certain owner/tenant occupancy ratio to qualify for the FHA loan. Most condos in Tuscaloosa do not qualify. BUT! YOU CAN USE THE FHA KIDDIE CONDO LOAN PROGRAM FOR A HOUSE, TOO!
Fourth, let's talk about legal stuff. Actually, go to an attorney to talk about legal stuff. Do you have property insurance that covers rentals? Talk to an insurance agent and obtain proper coverage. Do you have a way to check out potential tenants? I don't care what your college student says about them and how well they can yell "Roll Tide!" You need to know who is living in your property. As a rental owner, I have used an online company that would check out my potential tenant for $30. I was happy. Do you have a written lease? DO NOT DO BUSINESS on a handshake. Burns hurt, and I want you to have a positive story to tell about real estate in Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama college housing experience, not a negative one. In my rentals, I have had credit cards on file to pay for damages.
Now, let's have some Roll Tide fun! Visit my Alabama Game Day and Tuscaloosa Real Estate Pinterest Board to find fun ways to decorate your University of Alabama home, learn about the FHA program, and get ready for Crimson Tide football season!
For more information about student housing, including my white paper, Student Housing in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, contact me!