Agent

Nuns sweeten deal for second-home investors

Search for sophisticated renters stepped up in college towns

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The number of homes purchased as second residences and as rentals continues to be a greater percentage of the total housing picture. For parents of students headed off to college, back-to-school often means shopping for clothes and off-campus shelter. In a recent column, we addressed the possibility of researching homes in a college town as an alternative to dormitory living. From a tax standpoint, the arrangement could either be a second home or an investment property. Typically, the student manages the rental investment while mom and dad reap the tax benefits and appreciation that come from owning a rental home. Often the venture won't work because some buildings near schools are too expensive for the numbers to make it worthwhile. Also, there is the initial problem of handling the down payment and monthly expenses in addition to skyrocketing tuition fees. However, there are "doable" areas that continue to appreciate, bringing more interest from parent-investors. With the stock mark...