Buying Investment Property in Atlanta's College Towns

Real estate has always been a popular investment option for anyone looking to create short-term income and long-term gains. One niche that you may wish to consider if you are looking into investing in Atlanta real estate is rental properties located near a college or university. Because Atlanta is home to more than 30 colleges and universities, buying real estate in Atlanta offers an investor a number of rental property opportunities geared toward students or faculty. Before you start looking for Atlanta real estate near one of its many collegesa, consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of investing in college town rental property.

Among the many advantages to buying Atlanta real estate near a college or university are the following:

  • Low Vacancy Rate --one of the advantages to investing in rental property close to a college or university is that they tend to have lower vacancy rates than other rental properties. Because there is such a high demand for housing near most colleges, your vacancy rate will likely be lower than other rentals. Keep in mind, however, that your renters may only want a school year lease term, meaning that the property could be vacant during the summer unless they decide to stay on or you are able to find a short-term renter.
  • Higher Rent –often, a rental properties located near a college will bring in more rent for the landlord than the same home located in another area of town simply because of their is more demand in college towns.
  • Pricing Options--because of Atlanta’s size, buying real estate in Atlanta can mean anything from buying a bargain basement fixer-upper to a multi-million dollar mansion. With over 30 institutes of higher education, a potential investor will also encounter numerous price points in Atlanta. The majority of the colleges and universities in Atlanta are located in the downtown or midtown areas. As of January, 2013, the average selling price for a home in downtown Atlanta was $104,000 with the average price of a midtown home coming in at $160,000.
  • Convenience--if you have a child who is heading to school at one of Atlanta’s many colleges, investing in a rental property may make even more sense for you. Instead of throwing money away on university housing, you could purchase your own Atlanta real estate for your child to live in while at school and also realize a long-term gain on the investment.

Disadvantages to choosing to invest in Atlanta real estate in a college neighborhood include:

  • Tenant Turnover– if you can focus on attracting faculty of graduate students, you have a better chance of getting long-term tenants. Otherwise, you will have a higher than average turnaround of renters as students move out at the end of each year.
  • Management – when college students are renting a property, it is almost necessary to have a management company handle the property unless you live close by and have the time and patience to oversee the property yourself.
  • Slow Appreciation –be very careful if your main motive for buying real estate in Atlanta near a school is to provide housing for your own child. Even if he or she stays there for four years, the home may not have appreciated considerably during that time frame, meaning you may not make anything off the home unless you commit to holding on to it long past your own child’s college years.

The above average number of colleges and universities found in and around Atlanta provide for some excellent real estate investment opportunities. Just be sure that you weigh the pros and cons before you decide to plunge into the rental market in Atlanta.


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