Graduate with a degree and home equity.

Graduating university is a major accomplishment. So is your first real estate investment. Combine them to give yourself the best start in life.


Susan Isaacs | Compass


Each year In Washington DC

between 50,000 and 70,000 college and university students study in Washington DC. Most move to the District to attend.

Some students live in dorms, while others scramble for shared off-campus housing in a city known for high rents and low inventory.

But drawbacks of these options, combined with concerns over safety & quality of life, prompt a growing number of families to purchase student housing.

In addition to enjoying better living conditions, these students can graduate with home equity, higher credit ratings, and take a major step toward financial independence.

own a college condo in DC
graduate with a degree and equity

The Neighborhoods

Explore the neighborhoods surrounding your student’s college or university and get started on your college condo search.

Board, Rent Or Buy?


  • Est. $33,280-$124,544. loss over 4 years, excluding meals & summer housing
  • GWU  $8,320-$16,560 annually (excluding summer + meals)
  • AU $12,590-$16,620 annually (excluding summer + meals)
  • GU $23,216-$31,136. annually (excluding summer + meals)
  • HU $14,480-$24,656 annually (excluding summer + meals)
  • UDC $11,600. annually (excluding summer + meals)
  • Rates subject to change per institution
  • Summer housing availability, rates, restrictions differ
  • Room & Board can increase student loan debt, which increases a student’s debt-to-income-ratio. The max DTI to qualify for a conventional mortgage is 43% or less. A significant amount of student loan debt can make it difficult to get approved for a loan
  • Distractions of dorm life
  • Limited privacy & security
  • Frequent moves, storage & moving costs


  • DC rental rates are among the highest in the nation. Rental rates near DC universities, Metro stations and popular amenities fall into the premium range
  • Est. $126,720-$148,800 loss over 4 years
  • $31,680-$37,200 avg annual rent 1 BR apt (excluding fees, deposits, parking & meals)
  • DC rents increase, no fixed overhead
  • Security fees and deposits, high parking costs
  • Frequent move-in | move-out fees & deposits
  • Adding a roommate increases monthly rent
  • Limited privacy and freedoms
  • In most cases, you’re not building credit when you rent


  • Invest similarly in a real estate purchase, get tax deductions & potential to realize a profit on sale post-graduation
  • Depending on your choices, achieve monthly break-even or profit, increasing ROI
  • A conventional mortgage payment is set, no increases
  • Buying separates housing costs from student loan debt. While mortgages are also debt, a home is an asset, and debt can be offset or eliminated by selling upon graduation
  • More control over your space when you buy
  • Owner-occupied buildings are less transient, thus safer, than apartments
  • Freedom to add a roommate or long-term guest to offset monthly costs
  • Rent it if you leave for 6 months +
  • Fee simple home owners can use short term rentals when school’s out

*Lowest on-campus rates shown reflect multiple occupancy rooms

How Does It Work?

Turn Housing Costs Into Profit

The goal of a College Condo is to replace the cost of  college room and board + required meal plans with a property investment that breaks even or turns a profit by the time the student graduates.

We look for properties well-suited to students’ needs that offer the best investment potential. There are a variety of options for small to large budgets.

There are also a number of ways to finance a college condo or rowhouse. Because it’s often a short-term investment, opting for an adjustable rate mortgage like a 5-1 ARM is a good option to reduce mortgage interest rates. For those who plan to retain the property, refinance the ARM when rates reach their most advantageous level. If down payment is a concern, FHA loans require only 3.5% of the purchase price. House hackers will love Fannie Mae’s new 5% down payment for owner-occupied, multi-family (2-4 unit) properties.

earn equity and a degree



A monthly mortgage payment on a $540k condo with FHA 3.5% downpayment at 6.25% interest rate is approx. $3,209. Buying nets dividends in a variety of ways and can be offset by roommate rent, tax deductions, and equity build on resale. While renters simply lose tens of thousands of dollars on housing expenses, buyers can break even or profit.

A lower-end 1 BR rental in Georgetown averages $2,380 per month, or about $23,800. per 10 month year.  Over four years, that’s $95,200. A sum that gives you zero return.

A mid-range 2 BR rental in Georgetown averages $4,300 per month, or about $43,000. per 10 month year.  Over four years, that’s $172,200. A sum that gives you only partial return if you include roommate rent.


When our clients did the math, they found it was often less expensive–sometimes by a wide margin–to buy rather than rent. And purchasing also offered significant benefits post-graduation. Avoiding high monthly rental housing costs over 4-6 years, and eventually profiting on the sale of their property was the primary plus, but parents & students who co-signed mortgage loans also found it helped the students build a strong credit rating that provides greater financial independence, including the ability to qualify for to rent or purchase housing on their own.


The DC real estate market’s needle shifted to the buyer’s side in Q3 fo 2022. This presents a rare opportunity for parents of college-bound students. to purchase at lower than typical purchase prices, providing greater potential for profit after a four-to-six year college term.  Take advantage of this lull in the market due to outside economic conditions and purchase before the spring market bounce. Get in touch with us now to discuss your needs. We’ll devise a plan that works best for you.

Featured Tools & Resources


Our decade + of buyer representation includes collaboration with parents of university students searching for Washington DC housing choices that make sense.

We’ve been through it ourselves, so we understand what parents and students want in neighborhood attributes, home features, price points and transportation choices.

We’re aware that parents have particular concerns about everything from their child’s safety to return on investment. Take advantage of our experience and let us acquaint you and your student with the DC real estate market.



1313 14th St
NW DC 20005

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