Prior to the mid-1990s, just a few students would leave frats and campus dorms in pursuit of the independence and freedom that rental houses and conventional apartments would provide them. Unfortunately, most of the off campus housing back then managed by small, unsophisticated local mom-and-pop landlords and not kept properly. But this is not the case today. Many brand new, savvy players have entered the student housing market in recent years, Nelson Partners being one of the most prominent ones. Founded in 2018 by Patrick Nelson, this company maintains a specialized focus on student housing communities, gives them a unique perspective on the particular needs and challenges of housing management.
College enrollments have skyrocketed across the United States over the last decade. This indirectly led to high demand for off-campus student housing, and caused the advent of purpose-built and purpose-managed off-campus student housing. It was sometime during the late 1990s that student housing emerged as a distinctive asset class, as many real estate companies began to enter the market, while differentiating themselves from conventional apartments by designing units tailored for the needs of students. Such housing units usually now come with high-speed direct-connect Internet, student-based amenities like gyms and activities, as well as have private bathrooms with each bedroom. These apartments also brought a different set of challenges for the investors, as there is a world of difference between managing a student housing apartment and a conventional apartment.
Managing student housing units is a specialty niche that requires a high degree of management expertise and intensity. It is much difficult than standard conventional property management. Hence, a large number of student housing property owners opt to seek out the assistance of property management companies like Nelson Partners, rather than conducting all the management tasks by themselves. This company prioritizes offering responsive and professional services to their clients. For this company, property management is more than just managing a property, it is about people. They try their best to positively influence communities and give tenants the best experience possible. The student apartment industry has witnessed an enormous growth over the past decade.
The marketing needs of student housing units are way more dynamic, creative and intense in comparison to any other type of residential property. One has to offer quite a high level of customer service to the tenants today, and hence it is better to hire a real estate management company for the job. The operating and maintenance processes of student housing projects need to be best in class, or it will show up quickly as a good percentage of tenants will out every year, and the property owners will have to reinvent themselves every 4 years with each new college generation.
Even though a good amount of off-campus student beds are still owned and managed by local, non-institutional investors, a substantial increase has been witnessed in the extent of national players and conventional money entering this segment.