Why You Should Actually Consider Buying A House In College

Why You Should Actually Consider Buying A House In College

It's Not As Crazy As It Sounds

Between choosing your major, studying, taking exams and, of course, socializing, it may seem as though you don’t have time for much else in college. You should allow yourself to indulge in the university lifestyle — these are the best four years of your life, after all, and you should remember them accordingly.

However, just because you’re a student doesn’t mean you can’t be a responsible adult, too. This is especially true in the realm of saving and investing. While your classmates are working hard for the weekend, you can be strategically saving — and even buying — in order to set yourself up for a secure financial future.

One of the best ways to do it? Buy a house while you’re in college. That might seem like a big ask for a college student, but it’s possible — and a really smart idea. Here’s why you should consider it and how to do it right.

Why to Buy

There are many great reasons to buy a house, even if you’re a struggling student. Consider these facts:

  • You’ll Build Equity
  • You Could Make It a Rental Property
  • There Are Tax Benefits
  • You Can Make the Space Your Own

This is the go-to when one is looking for reasons to buy: Your monthly mortgage payments help you build equity. A percentage of what you pay will go toward your home loan’s interest, but the rest will pay your loan’s principal, the amount you actually borrowed. Each dollar you pay toward the principal is one dollar of equity, or ownership, of the property you bought.

Even better, you can add more equity over time if you make improvements to your property. Down the line, you can also take another loan out based on the equity you’ve built up, though you’ll have to wait until you’ve paid 20 percent of your principal.

You bought a home near your college, but you may not live there forever. However, purchasing a property near a university means you’ll have a robust rental market coming in each year, and you probably won’t have trouble finding tenants year in and year out.

Even while you’re in school — and living in your home — you can make some rental income. If your property has more than one bedroom, find a roommate or roommates to move in and help pay your mortgage.

Renters don’t receive any of the tax breaks that homeowners do, and this is especially true when it comes to tax breaks on owner-occupied properties. The biggest tax breaks for homeowners come from deducting state taxes on your primary residence, as well as the mortgage interest you’ve paid. The latter can equal tens of thousands of dollars per year, which is clearly a huge amount.

Each state’s tax scheme is different as well. Be sure to research the area in which you want to buy to find out if there are any more tax benefits for property owners — chances are, there are plenty.

Renting typically means you have to tread lightly in order to get your deposit back: no painting, no hanging pictures on the wall, no knocking down and replacing an old kitchen or bathroom. These rules tend to be even stricter for university students who rent, since co-eds — and their over-the-top parties — have a notorious reputation for damage to property.

Once you have your own place, though, you can customize it to your taste. You can also host social gatherings without breaking the terms of your lease since you’re your own landlord.

How to Do It Right

Think it’ll be hard to buy a home? Don’t worry — there are ways to do it without busting your budget.

  • Save, Save, Save
  • Buy a Fixer-Upper
  • Don’t Go Too Big

Chances are, you already know you need cash in order to buy a home. The more money you can put down at the start, the better: The higher your down payment is, the lower your monthly mortgage payments will be.

Saving for a house in the midst of your studies will be tough, but create a financial plan for yourself in order to make it a reality. Calculate how much of your income will have to go to rent, transportation, bills, books, etc. Then, promise yourself that whatever’s left over will go into your buy-a-house fund. Put it in a savings account and don’t touch it until you’re ready to use it for your big purchase.

Millenials often overlook the possibility of buying a fixer-upper, but don’t shy away from the challenge of an older or otherwise outdated home. Not only will the home appreciate in value with all your updates, but a completely blank slate will also allow you to customize everything to your tastes, making the space look and feel like home.

Your updates don’t have to be over-the-top expensive, either, if you or someone you know is handy with home updates. Some projects are best left to the professionals, though, so choose wisely. For example, your new home’s garage door might not open and close with a push of the remote control. You could try replacing the remote’s batteries to see if that was the problem. Beyond that, though, a professional could probably assess and fix the problem better.

The biggest mistake today’s young buyers are making is that they’re buying forever homes right off of the bat. Rather than considering more budget-friendly options that may need a little love, most millenials spring for extra-large, top-of-the-line properties. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with buying a home like this if you can afford it, but some buyers fail to explore all options and end up getting a bad deal in the long run.

We already mentioned that a fixer-upper often appreciates in value as you make changes, thus giving you a nice return on investment when you’re ready to move into something larger or more modern. A completely new build with all modern updates will lose value as soon as you move in because it’s already top-of-the-line and in perfect condition. Selling a lived-in property like this means you could lose on your bottom line.

No Matter What, You’re Ahead of the Game

You may only be in college, but one thing is for sure: You’re ahead of the game by even considering the idea of buying your first home while you’re pursuing your degree. If you do end up buying a property, then you’re well on your way to a secure financial future in a place you love now — and will love even more when it starts feeling like home.

Cover Image Credit: Scott Webb

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.

So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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A Little Glimpse Into What It's Like To Grieve In Your 20s

Debunking the stigma behind grief in the everyday young adult


A few days before last semester my little brother, Ethan, took his life. After years of him struggling to find his place in the world, he put his troubles and sorrows to rest. I had just moved into my sorority house to begin my Junior year, and a few days later I awakened late at night with several missed calls and messages. My dad texted me saying, "Ethan passed away Blair, dad is so sorry." When I first read the text, I had to keep reminding myself that it was real. Shortly after receiving that, my parents and family friends came to bring me home from school.

The next few days were filled with a roller coaster of emotions. I was reuniting with old friends and community members for days on end while we were all trying to understand the immense pain that my brother had felt. Soon, I went back to school because I knew that even in times of tragedy, life goes on. Above all else, I knew it's what my brother would have wanted. Being back at school is/was interesting. I felt like I was being judged by everyone for returning to school so early. I was in no way ready to discuss my family's recent tragedy, and I am still not ready to discuss it, yet people insist on asking for information regarding my brother's death. Despite this, the people around me continuously promised to support me when I was feeling sad or hopeless. The weeks after Ethan's death had me in a complete fog, making it hard to focus even to this day.

Fortunately, not many people have to deal with the death of a sibling at such a young age. Subsequently, many are not sure how to handle such a thing. I am often at a loss for words for what this experience feels like. Often times I feel bad that people don't know how to respond to me. Grief is something I would never wish upon someone.

Even on the days I feel alone, I know that there are people here to support me.

It means the world to me when people reach out and ask how I am doing, or to meet up with me for something as simple as ice cream. I appreciate this more than one knows.

On top of dealing with my brother's death I was dealing with rejection from a boy for the first time. Rejection of any kind is difficult, and is something everyone experiences in their life. Although I have felt rejection in many forms, especially being an aspiring actress, this was the first from a potential suiter. The loss of any friendship has been so hard after losing my brother. It has been hard to process other aspects of my life, and especially the crazy life of dating and being a 20-year-old in college. Moving on, and separating my grief from that rejection has been no easy feat.

As my semester was coming to a close, I ran into the boy I was interested in at a holiday party. This time of year had proven to be hard for me when I thought of the happy times spent with my brother during the holidays. That night was the first time I was unable to compose myself and put my best face forward being the actress I am. I couldn't hide my emotions anymore and I was overcome with grief. I had hit rock bottom. This journey has consisted of immeasurable self-doubt and soul searching.

Soon after the holiday party, I was told by someone who has been an authoritative figure to me, that "I was grieving weirdly" and that I "should go home for the rest of semester and take an incomplete". There were only two weeks left of the semester and my grades were great. I was so deeply offended by this notion, and that they had the audacity to judge the way I was grieving. I have been trying my best, and that is all that I can do. Despite this toxic conversation, I finished out the semester strong and took my well-deserved three-week break. My break was filled with much needed respite, creative inspiration, and time to collect my thoughts.

Coming back to school, I had an open conversation with my community on the reasonable steps they could take to support me in my journey for the rest of the school year. All someone that is grieving asks, is for you to sympathize with them. Thankfully, it was received well and I look forward to my upcoming semester.

There is often a stigma behind people who are actively grieving. Yes, I am going through a lot, yes, I am sad. But that doesn't mean I am incapable of loving life and experiencing things going on around me at school or in my life. This especially includes dating. I have learned that it is okay to embrace my feelings and express them in whatever way I deem fit. Grieving the loss of my brother has also made me stronger than ever. I can handle anything and I am ready to make my impact on the world.

Everyone experiences pain, struggle, grief, etc. What matters most, is how they come out of it. I want to continue the message of kindness. I am so grateful for my newfound bravery and at the end of the day, I will always miss my brother's unique perspective and outstanding sense of humor. If he were here today, first he'd probably roast me and then I know he would only want the best for me. In the end I plan to live my happiest life.

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