This is the summary ….
1. Searched Craigslist for home sellers willing to sell their house on a land contract and eventually found one that made financial sense (see below for details on land contracts).
2. Borrowed $5,000 from my parents and used $10,000 that I had saved up as a down payment. The sale price was $54,000 so the remaining $39,000 was on the land contract.
3. Since the interest rate on the land contract was 7%, I paid it off as soon as possible using student loans (see below for issues relating to using student loans as a down payment or for paying off real estate purchases).
4. Found a renter (also using Craigslist) who rented the house for $950 / month. The $950 covered the land contract payment, property tax, insurance, and the payments on the loan from my parents.
If you are a college student and interested in purchasing real estate, please check out my full guide to Buying a House as a College Student.