Living off campus can be either a very rewarding experience or a tough challenge depending on a few things your Realtor® should help you with.

    One of the challenges you will face as a new student is housing. There is no perfect answer for all students. For some renting is a good option, for others buying a home, living in it while attending school, and then reselling afterwards is a great option. Ferris has rules on housing so be sure and check that out to be sure you are within guidelines for living off campus. You have to be at least 20 years old prior to the first day of class in the semester which you attend or live with a parent or legal guardian within 50 road miles of University.

       One of the biggest advantages of buying real estate vs. renting is the building of equity which, when you sell, can allow you to recoup some or most of what you have invested. Even better is when you sell for a profit. Then you not only get back all of your money, which you would have paid in rent, you walk away with money to use for a down payment on another house wherever you are planning on living. If you decide to move a couple of friends in to help make payments it gets even better.

    There are challenges with real estate ownership that you don't have with renting. Maintenance is a big one. If you want to make the most of your investment, you will need to maintain the house you purchase. Things like lawn care, painting, and other repairs are all now your responsibility. There is no landlord to tell. For most people it is a matter of making good inspections prior to buying the home and regular maintenance after you purchase. It still beats paying month after month to someone, knowing that your money is gone forever. If you have done your research and chosen a Big Rapids Real Estate Realtor that has your best interests in mind, home ownership can be a great tool for students

    When choosing a Realtor I always recommend a FULL-TIME Realtor that has both a cell phone and email. Check and recheck how long it takes to get a hold of them and how long it takes for them to respond. It is just wrong to spend three days waiting for a response because your Realtor only works realty part time and they are busy at their other job. And then, when they finally get back with you the house is already sold. Another thing to watch for when buying in town is to KNOW THE ORDINANCES relating to student rentals. If you are planning on living alone you're fine but if you plan on someone moving in you need to know BEFORE YOU BUY what the rules are. For instance, you have found a 3 bedroom home close to campus zoned R3 so you are ready to go, right? Not even close. The City has implemented a "Change of Use" process where if the home has not been used as a rental for the last 6 months it has to go through a change of use process which involves both the County and City doing inspections and deciding what upgrades/repairs need to be done prior to anyone renting out a room. Even then you must meet the parking guidelines of One space per bedroom plus one for a guest, so for your three bedroom home you need 4 parking spaces of 180 sq. ft. each and NONE of them can be from the face of the house to the street.

    If you are thinking on buying give me a call or email me and we can go over your options. I am a FULL-TIME Realtor that has helped many Ferris students get homes. I know where and who to check with on zoning issues and am willing to work evenings or weekends to be there when you need me. My son attended Ferris and I understand the scheduling challenges and will work around your schedule.     

Randy Ostrander
Randy Ostrander
209 N. Michigan Big Rapids MI 49307