Attending Stanford University is an opportunity that students can’t afford to pass up. Of course, actually affording the astronomical cost can prove difficult for many families. It often requires extensive loans, which can be a long-term financial burden for students and their parents.

Dreams are made in Palo Alto, however, and there is one solution to this dilemma (besides striking it rich on Sand Hill Road): real estate co-ownership.

For purposes of demonstration, we’ll use the following property—one of many single-family-homes for sale in Palo Alto—to illustrate the many advantages of co-ownership.

3192 Fallen Leaf St. Palo Alto 94303

Built in 2009 with modern architecture, this home has 4 beds and 2 1/2 baths. As of this writing, it is listed for $1,595,000. The monthly HOA (homeowners’ association fee) is $111.

  • Cut Monthly Costs – A typical off-campus apartment near the Stanford campus will run between $2,000 and $3,000 per month, per bedroom, to rent. Over the course of a four-year period, that adds up to between $96,000 and $144,000 in expenses.When you co-own with three other roommates, the monthly payment per co-owner (in this example) is $1,542+ $28 for HOA = $1570 with $39,875 down payment (10%). By being a co-owner in this example, you can save between $20,640 and $68,640 over the 4-year period one spends in school. This of course does not even take into account the equity you have accumulated every month. For specific numbers based on properties you find, you use the co-ownership calculator Realtaasa provides to subscribers at We use the current average 30-year fixed interest rate to come up with the above numbers.
  • Make a profit – With co-ownership, the property can be sold to other partners after graduation, or the whole property can be sold to a new interested buyer. In Palo Alto there is a strong likelihood that your sale will result in a nice profit for the co-owners. If this particular property appreciates 3% per year, you will have an estimate profit of 12%—or $192,400. Each co-owner will make a profit of $47,850, or a 120% return on the original investment of the down payment. You also have the choice to hold the property and rent it to other Stanford students for recurring monthly rental income and investor tax benefits.
  • Student comfort – Beyond the attractive numbers that come with buying, selling and renting, an apartment co-ownership setup is beneficial for the students’ everyday lives. They will have a safe, comfortable apartment in which to sleep and study. Having ownership in their residence will help them feel more invested in its upkeep, and more likely to keep their space clean and damage-free. And since there is a relationship with the owners, it is easier to communicate any issues and keep the property properly maintained.  These are only the most basic of benefits that come with real estate co-ownership in college towns. To learn more about real estate co-ownership during the college years, please visit

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