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An Alternative to Residence Halls: Buying a Home for Your Post-Secondary Student
As your child prepares to head off to college or university away from home, it’s likely that your emotions
aren’t the only thing that are suffering – your bank account is probably in shock, too. After all, in
addition to the hefty sum you’ll be doling out for tuition, room and board will also eat into your bank
Buying a home for your child to share with other students – and their monthly rent cheques — is one
alternative to saving money on residence costs. The Wilson Team of mortgage professionals
understands the ins and outs of buying and managing a rental property and we’re here to help you
decide if owning student housing is the right move for you to make.
Many parents today are purchasing homes for their children to live in during their university or college
years. Before jumping on the bandwagon, consider some of the positives and negatives of purchasing as
second home and renting it to students:
The Good:
 Student housing can cost as much as $30,000 annually. If you purchase a home and rent some of
the rooms, rents can generally cover the mortgage, saving you housing costs in the long term.
 You’ll also save on the cost of campus meal plans; buying food and cooking at home is generally
 If more than one of your children attends university/college in this locale, you’ll be far ahead on
housing costs. Holding the property longer can also affect resale value – in a positive way, if all
goes well.
 Solid rental properties in student-friendly locations can reap monetary rewards long after your
child graduates.
 You and your child will become experts in property management.
 If you choose wisely, the property will appreciate in value prior to resale.
The Bad:
 You may not want the hassle of being a property manager.
 Students can cause property damage or get behind on their rent.
 If the market changes, the resale value may not increase.
 Fixing up the property for resale may cost more than you expected.
If you are seriously considering purchasing a home for your child to occupy during his/her post-
secondary years, give some thought to these additional points:
 Location, location, location. Proximity to the university/college and/or to public transportation
is essential to attracting and retaining tenants.
 Know the market. Is property in the area increasing in value or decreasing? Is the value of
homes in the area inflated? Would this be a good investment in the area?
 Bedroom bonanza. The more bedrooms there are, the better the home’s earning potential.

 Vacancies, begone. Avoid or minimize vacancies by requiring a 12-month lease, if feasible, or
give students a “hold-the-room” rate to hold their rooms during the summer when they return
 Calculate costs. Make sure you understand what your costs will be, including the down
payment, mortgage, insurance and property taxes. Determine if the benefits will make it
financially worthwhile.
The Wilson Team will be with you every step of the way as you make your purchase. From a mortgage
perspective, here is some useful information:
 If the home is a single-family home and your child doesn’t pay rent, it can be considered a
second home for tax purposes. This would make your eligible for CMHC mortgage insurance,
reducing your down payment to as little as five per cent.
 If any mention of rent is made, rental purchasing rules apply, requiring a minimum down
payment of 20 per cent.
 Projected rents can be used to help you qualify for a mortgage.
 Rents must be declared on your tax return.
 If you need/want to spruce up the property, you can obtain funding for some of those
improvements through the mortgage process.
 You can claim some of your expenses, including mortgage interest, on your tax return.
If you decide to take the plunge, the Wilson Team has your back. Rely on us to help you obtain the best
possible mortgage for your purposes.

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