Adulting Transition

3 Tips to Help You Plan for Home Ownership in College

May 26, 2021

Many younger Americans say they are in no rush to become homeowners, and instead want to focus on enjoying life experiences. However, on the flip side, there is also a growing percentage of younger adults working towards homeownership before 35. In fact, many of them are planning to buy their first home while they’re still in college. If you’re thinking of homeownership, you will need to be careful to avoid making common money mistakes in college. Planning ahead gives you ample time to prepare – if you know where to start.

Weigh The Pros And Cons Of Early Homeownership 

College graduates spend three to six months after graduation job hunting. They are also very occupied with setting up their lives, either renting an apartment or focusing on paying off student loan debt. Adding a monthly mortgage to that list can be tough, and should only be undertaken with proper planning. Renting after college also comes with less financial commitment, which can be a good thing. If you haven’t decided where to live or your career path, it may be difficult to stick to a long-term decision like buying a home.

There are also great perks to getting on the property ladder instead of renting. Depending on the location you choose, a mortgage can sometimes be cheaper than renting. If you’re in a good credit position after college and have little debt, it increases your chances of getting a mortgage in the long run. Lastly, if you purchase a home while you’re in college, you could be better off financially by saving on dorm costs. Renting out your home can be a stable income stream. Consider all of these pros and cons before making your decision to become a homeowner.

Narrow Down The Location Early

The earlier you know where you want to own a home, the better prepared you can be to do so. If you choose to, you can buy a home close to your college and skip the boarding costs on campus. Alternatively, you could rent it out to fellow students to help with paying your mortgage. Another reason to choose your location early is that it helps you track home prices and how much you need to save before applying for a mortgage.

Work On Reducing Your Debt 

Many young people are delaying homeownership because of student loans. In a survey by Clever, half of undergraduate students said they would have to put off buying a home to repay their student loans. Around 43 percent of Americans who attended college have some sort of student loan debt to their names, along with credit card or personal loan debts outstanding. When it comes to credit cards and students, starting earlier is always better. 

To make money, consider getting a part-time job while you’re in college, or launching a side business. There are many earning opportunities for college students, including tutoring or on-campus jobs. Also, learn to stick to a budget. If you are not familiar with budgeting and money management, a great place to start is inquiring if your college offers personal finance classes.

Bottom Line

There are many reasons why buying a house in college makes sense. Equally, there are many reasons against it. While real estate can be a great investment in the long term, it’s not universally applicable. The area you choose, your personal finance habits, and the additional expenses that come with homeownership should factor into your decisions. For some, it may be a great dream. For others, it may be too much too soon.

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