Our Student Housing Strategy

Our strategy is simple. We try to understand what investors are looking for and what they value most; then find opportunities that best align with those goals. It was this mindset that pointed us toward student housing.
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Nelson Partners believes that well-positioned housing for students near campus can leverage the economic stability of a major university and cater to a demand with less volatility than the macro-economy. Our strategy is to target the well-located properties within walking distance to growing universities that fit within the company’s proprietary buying model. In particular, the company will emphasize value-added opportunities, targeting well-located properties that can be upgraded from extensive renovations with a more contemporary look and feel. The key will be to make cost-effective improvements that students could potentially be willing to pay a higher premium for; helping to raise rents, grow income and appreciate property value.


Student Housing Investment Strategic Categories

At Nelson Partners, our investments typically divides investment opportunities into four strategic categories, each with their own unique goals and objectives.

Nelson Partners often acquires newer assets that are believed to be stabilized and well-located in strong markets. For these properties, Nelson Brothers typically employs a more conservative buy and hold strategy – where the property is held for a 5 – 6 year period. These assets are 1031 and IRA eligible.


Nelson Partners seeks to diversify our portfolio of student housing properties.  We invest and manage properties across the country in different states and markets.

Click here, to see our current portfolio


Often, Nelson Partners will come across older properties believed to have a fantastic location with an excellent track record of high occupancy but may not be in the best or the most competitive condition. Our plan for these assets is to devise a strategy to grow rents and increase property value by enhancing the appeal of the property through strategic upgrades, renovations and amenity improvements. These opportunities are typically 1031 and IRA eligible.


Every now and again, Nelson Partners will encounter a dilapidated property or a vacant plot of land with an ideal location near a growing university. For NelsonPartners, this can translate into tremendous upside potential through an all-new, ground-up development. Especially in markets where demand is growing faster than supply and the current competitive set is antiquated or lacks modern appeal to today’s pickier students. In this case, NelsonPartners believes a well-executed strategy can potentially bring high returns. Keeping in mind, construction projects inherently bring on a number of risks and uncertainties. For these opportunities, investors should be sure the risks and benefits of a project are consistent with their goals and objectives.

off-campus student living apartments in greeley, co

We believe well-positioned student housing has the potential to offer a variety of benefits that matter to investors: monthly cash flow, stable performance, inflation-friendly, appreciation, and tax efficiency through depreciation, all from a brick-and-mortar asset anchored by the historical stability of a university.

Our Student Housing Criteria Selection

At Nelson Partners, our strategy is to be disciplined in assets that fit a carefully crafted set of criteria that can potentially help deliver on these benefits.
Latest Acquisition: University Flats in Greeley, Colorado

Properties are acquired based on the net operating income in relation to the sales price. Inherently, most of the properties we buy are already profitable and producing income each month. From there, our goal is to maintain high occupancy to preserve the cash flow and do all we can to potentially increase the income through rental rate growth, efficiency operations, etc.


We look for universities that have shown consistently inclining enrollment, even during times of recession or a struggling real estate cycle.


With each property, we see an opportunity to potentially grow income and add value. This may be through steady rental growth in a tight market where demand is growing but supply is limited. Or, it may be a more assertive strategy where we’re initiating substantial renovations to upgrade and modernize a property.


We like properties that have demonstrated a track record of consistently high occupancy in markets where there nearest competitors have also performed well historically. Further, we try to single out properties that we feel have a sustainable competitive advantage (such as a location within walking distance to campus) that may be difficult to replicate. That way, we think the property can maintain steady performance.


A dollar saved can be a dollar earned. Real estate is unique in that it may be one of the few assets that tend to appreciate over time but that the IRS will allow depreciation to write off the usage of the property. We tend to favor property with lower land costs, written off at the 27.5 year schedule allotted by the IRS. For most of our current properties, this practice has enabled us to shelter up to 100% of the income on the majority of our assets. It’s a huge benefit. Oft-overlooked.