Real Estate as a College Savings Account

Posted by Duane Duggan on Wednesday, August 30th, 2017 at 10:52am.

The following article is a summary of content from the book, “Realtor for Life,” written by RE/MAX of Boulder Realtor and Author Duane Duggan.

Buying a rental property when a baby is born is a great way to save for college. If you buy a rental property with a 15-year mortgage when your child is born, it will be paid off and you’ll have three extra years to decide how to use this investment by the time your child is 18 and ready to go to college.

The property could be sold, the taxes paid, and gains from the sale used as cash for college. Or, you could refinance it to pull cash out -- tax-free -- and use the cash for college. You could even keep the property free and clear to rent out, and just use the monthly cash flow to pay for college expenses. In many cases, if your child decides to stay in town to attend college, she or he may actually live in the house or property during college and rent out any extra rooms to roommates.

Hindsight is always perfect, but for example, if you bought a home in the Baseline subdivision in Boulder just east of the University in 1999 when your child was born, you would have paid approximately $200,000. When the child turned 18 in 2017, the home would be worth about $525,000 and you would have no loan on it. You would be able to use the options stated above. Right now, the homes in that neighborhood rent for about $1,800 to $2,200 per month. You would need to pay for mortgage, taxes, insurance and maintenance expenses, however the remaining cash flow could go towards monthly college expenses.

In the early years of the 15-year mortgage, there probably would not be enough rent to cover the whole mortgage payment. You might investigate other financing options, such as the 30-year mortgage, to help with cash flow in the early years of ownership, but then use mortgage acceleration techniques that I mentioned in my previous articles and at to be sure the mortgage is paid off by the time college starts.

* * * *

About Duane Duggan: Duane Duggan has been a Realtor® for RE/MAX of Boulder in Colorado since 1982 and has facilitated over 2,500 transactions over his career, the vast majority from repeat and referred clients. He has been awarded two of the highest honors bestowed by RE/MAX International: the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Circle of Legends Award. Living the life of a Realtor and being immersed in real estate led to the inception of his book, REALTOR® for Life. Also see his video podcasts about real estate topics on RE/MAX of Boulder’s YouTube channel.

For questions, email Duane at or call 303-441-5611


Leave a Comment