Short term rentals have grown from being an airbed for rent in an apartment that you found online to vacation rentals that cater to a diverse clientele, from families and couples to digital nomads, backpackers, sports enthusiasts, pet owners, and other niche vacationers.
If your vacation rental is located in a college town such as Orlando, Florida or Boston, Massachusetts, you can tap into yet another niche: college student rentals. Even the high turnover between academic terms works in your favor, perfectly catering to your off-season requirements.
##Advantages of Attracting College Student Rentals
In 2019, there were nearly 20 million college students in the US. Considering that an average 44% of undergraduate students live off-campus, it leaves a large pool of tenants to draw from.
With the number of college students holding steady or growing, the number of students who can live on campuses limited and on-campus room and board likely to be high for most students, many students will opt to find housing elsewhere. This allows vacation rental hosts to command increased rents, particularly as the cost is usually split between a few roommates.
According to a Homes.com study, student housing properties in the US can yield an ROI of up to 14%. Generally, real estate investors will consider an ROI greater than 5% a good investment.
Unlike regular tenants, college students have not lived on their own before perhaps with the exception of small, crowded dorm rooms. Thus they have lower expectations of the space they are renting. They will not be as concerned with pristine maintenance for example nor are they likely to demand luxury amenities or expect a house that looks like the latest centerspread of Architectural Digest. This will help reduce the overall running costs of your vacation rental and improve profit margins. It will also require less work on the part of the property manager.
While college students are not necessarily known for their reliability, most students’ rents are paid for by their parents or through financial aid.
College student rentals are long term rentals and thus provide all the ensuing benefits including a steady stream of revenue during the off-season, a highly beneficial cancelation policy if booked through Airbnb, less work, lower requirements, etc.
College students are frequent movers, shuffling between properties and their homes depending on the length of their academic terms. While this can be an issue for regular landlords, it works perfectly for your requirements as you can tap into the market when you need in the off-season and not cater to them when it’s your high tourist season.
###Cater to Their Requirements
College students are generally less critical of properties and more likely to find your vacation rental quite attractive in comparison to housing on campus. Being students however they also have certain specific features they require. These include:
College students are students so they will expect a separate space in the vacation rental where they can relax and engage in study without being troubled by their roommates or friends.
Campus is what the lives of college students revolve around, so the distance to the college is an important factor. If your vacation rental is within walking distance to the campus, it would be a plus, particularly for students who don’t have a car as is a nearby grocery store.
A speedy and reliable wi-fi connection is important to any college student and offering free wi-fi in your vacation rental will make it extremely attractive to college students as well as help you stand out from other properties. Just make sure to include the cost in your rent.
###Get the Word Out
Marketing your vacation rental to college students doesn’t require too much work. Word of mouth referrals is the most popular means of students finding off-campus housing so good reviews will always lead to more bookings. List on digital spaces that students are likely to use such as Craiglist and Facebook Marketplace. Also, consider listing on websites dedicated to student housing.
Make sure you use attractive photographs in all your listings.
College students can pose a higher risk of damaging your property. It can also be hard to screen them as they are unlikely to have a history to sift through. It is always better to mitigate the risk by interviewing your prospects first and utilizing a rental agreement.
Always ensure your vacation rental is insured. Don’t expect your homeowner’s policy to cover you in full or at all.
To prevent the risk of unpaid rents, ask a parent to co-sign the lease.
Make sure your property does not break any maximum occupancy laws in your city, county, or state. Include the number of maximum occupants allowed in the rental agreement.