It’s prime time to rent an apartment for the upcoming fall semester. Most students spend their first year in the dorms. By the second year they are looking for an apartment. Here in Berkeley, the average 2 bedroom apartment rents for $2,000.  It’s all but impossible to find a lease for less than 1 year. If you do the math that comes to $24,000 a year. If your student needs parking that’s usually an extra $75 per month or $900 per year). The numbers start adding up. Suppose you are lucky enough to have two children going to College…ouch.     

1801 University Ave. Condo

Click the photo above to see examples of homes and condos around UC Berkeley. Most condos have HOA fees that cover common area maintenance, insurance, exterior maintenance, management fees, water& sewer and reserves. These fees can be as low as $200 and go up based on the type and size of the complex.


Did you know that you can purchase an apartment as a 2nd home if you’re currently a home owner? I’ve worked with many parents who have decided that purchasing a place for the duration of their child’s University time works out best. The great thing about the area around UC Berkeley is there are always new people coming in and the housing market in the area has remained fairly stable.     

I recently talked to Steven Walden, Loan Officer at Mason-McDuffie Mortgage about his Loan Program for 2nd homes. Steve said “There are great programs to help parents and students in today’s market.  It allows a purchase under standard conforming “second home” guidelines to benefit students.  This dramatically impacts down payment amount, interest rate, origination points,  fees, and loan amount limitations.”  

Here are some specifics for the Loans benefiting College Students:   

  • The property must be a reasonable distance from the parent’s home to be a second home.
  • The parent(s) may not own an additional second or vacation home in the same locale.
  • The parent(s) must apply for and qualify for the loan.
  • The student is not an applicant and does not factor into qualifying for the mortgage.
  • The parent(s) own the property, but may put the student’s name on title if they are of legal age.
  • Property cannot be rented and must be occupied for one year.
  • This is underwritten and priced as a second home.

2628 Telegraph Ave.If you would like to talk to Steve Walden about the programs and qualification process you can reach him at 510-520-3337 or by email at  His website is   

If you would like to look for an apartment alternative for your student or yourself, contact me at 510-689-6921 or