Should You Buy A Home In College?
You have two years left of college. You’ve experienced living in a dorm but now you wonder if you could get a head start on life and buy a home while in college.
Is home buying in this phase of life a smart decision?
We asked students at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio this question.
Not surprisingly, the majority of Miami students chose to rent. It comes with freedoms that buying a house can’t offer. It gives you the flexibility to move from one place to the other.
Still, some college students choose to buy, often with the help of parents using an FHA loan. It’s possible to build home equity while in college, while using roommate income to help make the monthly payments.
But home-buying students are few and far between. Most are in a transitory phase of life, so, for them, renting makes more sense.
Why College Students Rent
There are multiple reasons why college students choose to rent an apartment or house instead of buying. For Miami University students, it came down to the following reasons.
- Renting is temporary
- Renting is cheaper
- Renting is flexible
These advantages to renting resonated with these students, and probably with students across the country. Buying and selling a home takes time, effort, and money. When students aren’t sure where they will end up after graduation, renting is often the smart choice.
College Living Arrangements Are Temporary
The majority of Miami University students surveyed said they rented because it’s more temporary than buying a house. Oxford, Ohio, is a college town; most students are only there for four to five years to get their degree, and then they’re out; some are there for less.
Renting an apartment gives you flexibility and freedom. It’s easier to pick up and leave when you are renting an apartment or a house because rent is month by month. When the summer comes around, most of the students head back home or have the option to study abroad for the summer.
For Miami University students, it’s more practical than buying a home.
Students Can Find Low-Cost Rent
Living on a college student budget can be tricky at times. They have student loans, some have car payments and with a busy class schedule can only work on the weekends. With that in mind, renting is the way to go.
If an appliance breaks, if there’s a leaky window, or water coming from the ceiling, there’s no concern about coming up with the money to fix it. The landlord will take care of it.
Renting comes with low maintenance costs, but further reducing overall housing spend is the ability to find low rental rates. Determining where you rent has an impact. The further you are off campus the less expensive the rent is.
If you are renting a house, depending if it’s a single family or multiple family home, you can split the rent among your friends to lower the rent per person value.
Renting also doesn’t require a mortgage, downpayment or closing costs; it’s a once-a-month payment.
Renting Provides Flexibility And Mobility
According to the City of Oxford demographics, there are over 21,000 people living in Oxford; but there are roughly 16,500 Miami University students. According to this statistic, students make up 78% of the population.
The majority of Miami students rent homes or apartments if they are not living in a dorm.
A Miami student, Eric Altimari, speaking of renting, said, “It’s what we do here when you live off campus.”
Miami students are more likely to rent simply because they are college students. It’s where they are in life, they want the flexibility and freedom to move when they want. They don’t want to feel locked to one place.
Buying a house is quite a commitment to make, especially when you are still in college and in your early 20’s.
Miami student Morgan Hedings is renting simply because she’s a college student.
“It depends on where you are in your life. I wouldn’t be buying a house in a college town that I’m only going to be in for three or four years,” she said.
What’s today’s mortgage rates?
Whether you buy or rent it really depends on your current situation. If you’re a college student or single and like to travel renting may be the better option.
But, if you are looking for a place to invest in, live in during college, and rent out when you leave, buying is a smart choice too. There’s no right or wrong answer. The choice is up to you.