As K-State begins construction on Wefald Hall, potentially creating additional housing for hundreds of students on campus, some students are taking a different approach to securing housing and, in some cases, saving money.
Caitlin Estes, K-State 2013 alumna in accounting, said her parents bought a mobile home locally and rented it out to her and her siblings.
“I have three other siblings, and it was more economical for them to buy a place instead of us living elsewhere,” Estes said. “All of us did it for about three years.”
Estes said her parents still own the place, and allow non-relatives to rent as it brings them additional income each month. Her parents figured it was better in the long run, she said, and the timing was perfect since a relative was selling their home.
“It saved us money; that was the main benefit,” Estes said. “It’s easier for your parents to be the landlords. You don’t have deal with sketchy landlords or anything like that.”
The drawbacks, Estes said, were very few.
“The place my parents bought was off campus,” Estes said. “You had to drive a little way to school because of that, but other than that there weren’t any drawbacks.”
Katie Coffman, property manager representative at Advanced Property Management in Manhattan, said she does not believe this is a new idea.
“I think that’s always been something that’s happened,” Coffman said. “It provides a lot of opportunities for both sides.”
Coffman said property management companies like hers are sometimes hired by parents to manage their properties, which offers each party advantages. In the case of parents, it removes the student’s ability to ask for extra time to make rent without fees getting charged.
In the case of the student, Coffman said property management companies are required to keep buildings up to date with current fire codes and city regulations, allowing students to have some leverage in requesting repairs a parent might not otherwise be willing to pay for.
Larry Limbocker, associate broker at Landmark Real Estate, said there is no real downside to the process.
“Home ownership is always good for the economy,” Limbocker said. “Parents should look into it as opposed to renting.”
Limbocker said parents should consider doing this because it offers them a chance at making a profit after their children have graduated.
Estes’ parents said they bought the mobile home because it was a way to save money over the dorms, and they they will probably sell it after their last child graduates.
Estes’ father, Michael, said they have always have three children attending K-State at once, because each of their four are separated by two years in age. According to K-State Housing and Dining Services’ website, the cost of living in a residence hall with the lowest meal plan is at least $3,945 per semester ($7,890 per year). With three children, it would cost the Estes family approximately $23,670 per year to house them in the residence halls.
“With this mobile home, they live there,” he said. “Then, the three of them can live there about as cheaply as one (can live in the dorms).”
The main challenges the Estes face are the logistics of maintenance. The Estes family lives in Caney, Kansas, near the border of Kansas and Oklahoma.
“We live three and a half hours away, so if they have something we have to repair, they have to wait until we get up there,” Michael Este said. “The have to put in a little sweat equity into where they live.”