You have a prime location near a college or university, and you know that the school is charging the kids way too much for sub par dorm rooms. You see a business opportunity staring you right in the face, but you need to figure out exactly how to appeal to the student housing market, and how to fill up your rental units with students who won't trash the place as soon as you turn your back.

Location is Key
You don't need to be right on top of the university to win the location game, but it certainly helps. If you aren't within walking distance of the school, look into other ways to make the location appealing to the student market. Maybe you're near a public transit or shuttle line that goes to the college. Do you have a prime location to the nightlife areas in town? Consider natural amenities such as beachfront property and other quality locations. You have a lot of options when it comes to getting students' attentions.

Consider Your Tech Amenities
The average student these days is exceptionally tech savvy, and they want housing that matches that need. Offer units pre-wired for Ethernet connections, incorporate free Wi-Fi into your rental units, or include outlet covers that also have USB ports included for smartphone and tablet charging. Consider a smart thermostat so students can set it around their class schedule and they don't have to constantly adjust the heating and cooling up and down.

Flexible Payment Options
Today's student has probably never seen a check, let alone written one for a rental payment. Consider offering electronic payment options through a property management portal such as LandlordStation, which provides you the benefits of automated payment reminders, recurring payment setup, and ACH transfer to your bank account.. In addition, talk with the financial aid and housing departments at the college to see if students can streamline the process of paying for their rent with student loan money. If you accept student loan payments, consider requesting payment for the semester in one lump sum payment instead of spread throughout the semester. Lower your prices during the summer to cover the lack of occupancy some student centric housing options suffer, or offer it up for short term corporate clients.

Roommate Friendly Layouts
Most people living together in college are roommates who want to save money over the high cost dorms, so having apartment layouts catering to that need is particularly appealing. Unlike a family home that has all the bedrooms grouped together, roommate friendly layouts put bedrooms on separate floors or opposite sides of the property to add privacy. Ideally, each bedroom gets its own private bathroom as well, with shared areas located centrally within the apartment.

Talk Up the Local Life
Want to get student attention on your listings? Talk about what they care about. Sure, students are excited to have easy access to the school, but what they really want to know is whether the place is fun to live. If you include amenities such as pool tables, a pool, rooftop sound systems and grills, or something else that sets your place apart from the competitors, make a point to mention it. Located near the hottest nightclub in the city? Talk it up. Find out about live music venues, dive bars, shopping areas, and other attractive locations for your student population. Another important local aspect to talk up are the types of restaurants who are nearby for carryout and delivery. Some college students are too overworked to cook for themselves, or just don't know how, so learning about a wide range of food options available may tip the scales in your favor.

POSTED December 22 2014 3:42 PM

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