AgentInvesting

Studying up on college-town real estate

Investors offer tips on off-campus rental housing

Brad Hastings is a landlord whose tenants are expected to follow certain rules: No candles. No American flags hung as curtains in the windows. And for heaven's sake, he doesn't want to find 50 beer cans on the lawn on Sunday mornings. Hastings' 400 tenants are college students in two small, Southern towns. And he says business is good -- different, sometimes, from the typical landlord experience -- but nonetheless good. He and business partner Matt King decided five years ago to specialize in developing campus housing. They jumped from their former telecommunications careers into a growing real estate niche that seems to be fed by a rich demographic and economic diet. It's no secret that the recession has slammed American higher-education budgets, forcing a retreat from their plans to upgrade and expand on-campus housing, which would seem to offer an opening for private providers. At the same time, colleges are bursting with students. Almost 40 percent of the nation's ...