How I Fell Into Student Housing at 18 Years-Old

An Unexpected Opportunity

While I was in college at the University of Central Florida, I incidentally obtained a job as a leasing agent at the top UCF-affiliated student housing property at the time (I got hired for the job on the spot after going to the office to respond to a noise complaint about my roommate). After having resolved that, I asked if the manager had received my resume. On the spot, without an interview, I was given the job. I would say that it was the easiest way I have ever obtained a job, but more so, it was fate. Those two and a half years as a leasing agent introduced me to commercial real estate and to the world of student housing.

As an 18 year old, I received invaluable exposure to the operations of property managers, learned how to market to potential engage student residents and parents, administer leases and renewals, resolve resident issues and shop the market to understand competitors’ market rates, promotions and offerings. In 3 Lessons I Learned from Working In Student Housing, I share what I consider to be the eye openers of working in this world.


Although I eventually left this awesome job to join a few internships, graduate and obtain roles of increasing responsibility within Supply Chain Management, the experiences and knowledge years in leasing became imprinted on the inside of my skin, to someday be put to reuse as I acquired single-family homes and began to shift my focus to building the multi-family investment business, Robinson Capital. Having self-managed my personal portfolio of single-family rentals, I easily recalled the importance of having a solid lease. I found a lease template and reworked it to my liking, covering added concerns such as prohibiting aquariums, waterbeds and other unnecessary areas of risk to the asset that I could think of. Further, I added lease provisions that outlined the systems that I chose to implement in managing my rentals.

Still managing my rentals today, I spend no more time on them than an estimated 2 hours per month, while the cash flow comes in. Not to paint only a rosy picture – those two hour can be occasional headaches – but for the other 718 hours per month, I spend very little time thinking about these rentals.

Scaling to Multi-Family

While managing single families felt like a huge success, I recognized the need to grow the portfolio in order to achieve the cash flow goals that I seek. Feeling inspiration from the 4-Hour Workweek, I wanted to to scale the portfolio while achieving the balance and freedom I had obtained with the single-families. I knew that to scale it would take a team of professionals, including property managers. Having an expert property manager is key to success of your rental operation. Having fallen into the world of property management while in college, I recognize many ins and outs of being a successful PM.

As Robinson Capital enters markets and vets PM’s, we know characteristics to look for in finding great team members to support our growing portfolio in order execute our business plan, achieve our targeted returns and accomplish our dedicated impact to the communities we serve.

I am thankful for my awesome and unexpected experience in student housing and that a PM would give an 18-year old the opportunity to learn and grow on a high-performing leasing team. I never anticipated that the education and experience would translate into a later passion and mission for providing great communities for residents as well as wonderful investment opportunities for our partners.

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Author: Rodney