Should I buy a condo for my daughters to live in at college?

Hundred dollar bill folded in shape of house

Q. Should I buy a condo for my two daughters to live in at college. Rent is $490 each and I expect it to increase 9% a year. A condo will be $165,000 plus $30 a month for content and interior wall insurance, and $150 to $175 in association fees. I am planning on keeping it a minimum of four years.

A. Rent will cost $980 a month at least for the first year. Borrowing $165,000 at 6.2% over 30 years will cost $1,010 a month in principal and interest. Add on the insurance and association fees and you're around $1,200 a month.

But, if you treat the condo as a second home, you can deduct all of the interest from your taxes. And if rents are going up that fast then a condo could appreciate in value as well.

Making a few assumptions about your finances, such as what your income tax rate and closing costs might be, we figure a purchase would break even in three to four years.

That would make buying a potentially better way to go.

But before you do that, we urge you to get a more exact estimate by putting more exact figures into our "Rent or buy?" calculator.

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