National surveys highlighting the best places to live continue to include several college towns, often touting their slower pace and the athletic facilities and educational programs offered by the school. College towns also remind people in a variety of age groups of the places where they grew up (or received their education) and where they ultimately would like to return.
For example, two couples my wife and I have known for years recently purchased homes near Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash. When I asked if the homes were going to be college rental investments, I was told that both couples plan to make the homes their second residences.
One couple who wanted to be closer to two grown daughters had signed up to do volunteer work in the Bellingham area. The other couple planned to use the home as a jumping off point for boating in the San Juan Islands and Queen Charlotte Strait.
If you want to move down the road, especially to a college town, see what’s possible today. Some owners need to sell and could be open to different types of financing.
In addition, there are plenty of potential renters (other than “Animal House” undergraduates) associated with a college or university who would be happy to rent a comfortable place close to campus. The number of visiting professors to college campuses always is underestimated, as are the number of staffers (secretaries, security personnel, catering staff, librarians, etc.) who often are terrific rental-lease prospects.
Notes sent to human resource representatives have worked wonders in landing mature renters, as have inquiries posted in faculty lounges and on-campus faculty living areas. Graduate students (some married) also form a significant renter pool. Sometimes, professors seek alternative housing for highly coveted students.
A purchase at today’s prices could save you money, return you to your roots and perhaps achieve your goal of returning to campus for more than a football weekend. It also could provide you with a huge pool of renters until you get there.