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Waterloo Region Student Housing Property Investment Guide

Investing in Waterloo Region real estate can be a very profitable enterprise in 2020. Buying Waterloo Region student housing property generates income as tenants pay rent, while also allowing you to profit from a rising housing market.

Student housing property investments are different from other rental properties in several ways you should account for before deciding to buy.

Understanding The Student Population in the Waterloo Region

As those of us who live here know, the student population in the Waterloo Region is a large, diverse and still growing one.

The University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University are both not just nationally, but internationally renowned as excellent schools and attract a large number of students from outside Ontario.

In addition, Conestoga College has risen to become one of Canada’s premier polytechnic institutes and, fitting perhaps because we do have such great cuisine in our area the Liaison College of Culinary Arts in Kitchener is now the largest and most successful such school in Ontario and also encourages and aids international student registration.

While you could never call any of the cities in our region ‘college towns’ there is certainly shortage of students seeking accommodation every school year, and many are choosing off campus housing, both to enjoy greater freedom and to keep costs down.

Selecting a Property

Choosing the right property is a key step in a good investment in Waterloo Region student housing. Students often want to rent properties that are close to their campus, or close to public transit centers. You’ll be able to ask for a higher rent if your property is in a safe neighborhood and has curb appeal.

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However, other amenities that attract adult Waterloo Region homeowners, such as newer appliances and kitchen and bath upgrades, usually have less impact on what students are willing to pay for short-term leases. They want to be close to school, to shops, to restaurants and bars and have a nice, safe place to live. Very few of them care about granite countertops or stainless steel appliances.

Financing a Waterloo Region Student Housing Property Investment

Options for financing an investment in student housing property depend on your financial situation, as well as the type of property you want to buy.

A single-family or multi-family home may be affordable using only your savings or by taking a second mortgage on your own home. Larger multifamily units may require bank financing, which will require collateral. If you know other would-be investors, consider a joint venture in which you own the property jointly and share in the profits and expenses.

As with any real estate purchase, consider the purchase price, closing costs and money needed for immediate improvements when determining the cost of financing. One of the best ways to figure out your possible costs and loan needs for a Waterloo Region student investment property is to speak with a mortgage broker who can help you run through all your options.

Marketing Your Waterloo Region Student Housing Property Investment

Once you acquire a student housing property you’ll need to market it in order for your investment to pay off. Conventional local marketing will not be as effective as targeted marketing that reaches current and incoming students.

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Advertise through nearby colleges, most of which will sell ad space on websites or in student newspapers as well as on favorite student social portals like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Reddit. Be prepared to implement your marketing plan often, since many student tenants move out when they graduate, leaving you with regular vacancies.

Managing Your Waterloo Region Student Housing Property Investment

As with any rental property, you must decide whether you’ll manage your Waterloo Region student housing property yourself or hire a manager. If you have time and an inclination for maintenance and small repairs, managing the property yourself can save money. Professional management will cost more but also leave you free to manage other investments or continue working your current job.

Solving Your Summer Vacancy Issue

One of the things that worries some investors about opting to purchase Waterloo Region student housing is the specter of a vacant place in the summer. You do have several options to minimize that possible loss of income though.

Some landlords choose to use those weeks as the right time to repair and upgrade their property so that they can charge more rent in the new school year. Others have students sign year long leases but adjust rental rates accordingly. With a larger number of international students in the Waterloo Region who need a year round base this may be the preferred option of many in any case. And there is always Airbnb, as our region is a magnet for tourists too!

Interested in investing in Waterloo Region student housing property. Contact Aron or Angelica to discuss your needs and the options currently available.

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