Some graduate students may have the option of buying a home instead of renting. A graduate student in this position must weigh all the typical factors that any prospective homeowner would, plus additional considerations due to her student status.
All prospective homeowners must assess how long they plan to stay in the home, whether the property is intended for living or for investment, and whether they can afford the down payment, mortgage, and maintenance.
Further reading: Can You Afford to Buy a House Right Now?
On top of the typical concerns of someone considering buying a home, graduate students must ask themselves an additional set of questions because of their unique life circumstances.
Not many graduate students are logistically and financially prepared to become homeowners without outside help due to their low income, typical lack of liquid savings, and plans to leave their cities within a few years. However, some graduate students are capable of buying homes on their own, and others will receive mortgage payment or down payment assistance from a family member (spouse, parent).
For those students who can buy in a financially responsible manner and are a bit lucky, their homes could be great financial boons by the end of grad school if they have built equity or at least kept ahead of renting costs. In particular, graduate students who rent to roommates may have quite low ongoing housing costs, though they will have capital tied up in the property and must keep a large emergency fund for maintenance and vacancy.
Further reading: 5 Reasons Why Home Ownership Can Be a Financial Disaster
Join Our Phinancially Distinct Community
Receive 1-2 emails per week to help you take the next step with your finances.